I turned 25 a little over a week ago. But this post won’t be my annual reflective birthday post. Perhaps later this week. I DO want to talk about my celebration, though, and how through the use of Facebook and Twitter, I was able to encourage my friends and family to collectively donate almost $2,500 to the non-profit Room to Read which builds schools, libraries and provides girls’ scholarships in developing nations like Nepal, Vietnam, India and South Africa.
I had the idea to host a birthday photo fundraiser party at my house. I asked a few of my photographer friends to donate some prints to add to photo’s I’ve taken, and we sold them through a silent auction with 100% of the sales benefiting Room to Read. Additionally, I used the application Facebook Causes to create a Birthday Cause where I could invite my friends to donate. Currently, I’ve raised $987 offline and $1,430 through my Birthday Cause, so I’m up to $2,417 - just $83 shy of my goal of raising $2,500 for my 25th birthday. If you would like to contribute to the cause, simply visit my Birthday Cause and you can make a donation there :).
|From 25th Birthday Photo Fundraiser|
Whether or not I reach my exact goal, I am so thankful to my friends for supporting me through online donations, providing photos, helping set up/clean up the house, preparing food, decorating and much, much more! I could write a whole other post about how grateful I am for my community here in Seattle and my family and friends around the world. Back to how I raised the money though, I read a few blog posts by Beth Kanter and Amy Sample Ward about how they raised money for their birthdays, and I encourage you all to check them out and promote your own causes for your birthdays! The main strategies I used were:
- Link my Twitter updates to Facebook using the Twitter Facebook App
- Each day, try to get at least 5 people to donate
- Update my status at least twice a day, asking for TWO (or how many people I needed to reach my goal) to donate that day
- Update it more frequently on the 2 days before my birthday and on the actual day itself
- Change my profile photo to the non-profit’s logo (more of a gesture to just promote awareness)
- Explicitly state how much I had raised so far, and how much more I needed to reach my goal.
I could have done more through inviting people, sending them personal emails, but because of the photo fundraiser, I was able to email the guests (those who came, and those who didn’t, too) an update before the party, and also after the party. Mainly, it was through people seeing my status though.
In conclusion, I’m not really saying that Facebook and Twitter by themselves will save the world, but they are useful tools that can be used for more than telling people what you ate for lunch, or sharing news stories (though I enjoy those uses, too). All in all, I think the way we interact through social media is changing us in more ways than we realize: how we keep in touch, plan events, raise money, and even how we celebrate our birthdays.