I often talk about individuals when I’m discussing the way social media can be used to support organizations. Why? Because social media may be about networks, communities, and collaboration; but it is only possible because of the dynamic and powerful tools individuals are using. Social networks are built from all the content individuals share. Collaborative tools are valuable because of the options for bringing individuals working on a project into a shared space.
Is you’re organization looking to support free agent fundraisers and the changemakers who are passionate about your cause, want to support your work, but do it their way? One thing you can do right now to help is create a Supporter Toolkit on your website with logos, ready to use content and mission statement, links to all your social media profiles/presences, and anything else that would be helpful for someone looking to fundraise or campaign for you.
I recently connected with Darah Bonham, the driver behind @abolishcancer. A free agent changemaker having success fundraising with Twitter. I want to share that story!
In Darah’s words:
I basically started the site in November as a combination of social media interests and helping others in their fight vs cancer. I thought that the Twitter feed @abolishcancer, which is the entire org, except for the blog, would be strictly focused on developing a following that had one thing in common- to fight cancer. The premise was that if I could sponsors of my site for a day, we would donate $1 for every new follower we received that day. The sponsor would be committed to pay the charity at the conclusion of the day. The end result would be more followers for us, great PR for the sponsor (and a good deed) and $ and awareness through tweet to the cancer charity.Originally we recommended that all the donations from the sponsorships would go towards American Cancer Society. I had a girl from Ireland agree as my first sponsor in November and we earned 65 new followers. She made the donation the next day and we were off. Although, it was fairly slow in sponsorships early going. I had several hundred followers and was following a thousand or so and getting a sponsor about every two weeks or so with an average of $50 new followers each time. Not bad, but nothing fantastic.Then @THON came along. THON is the largest student run philanthropic organization and is run by students at PSU. I stumbled across some of their senior leaders and began to form a relationship through our tweets. In January I asked the typical “looking for a sponsor” tweet and a junior from Penn State @PatHowley agreed to sponsor on that Friday. I told him that the average was $50 new followers and we were set. Around noon that Friday I noticed my followers going up at a steady pace, about 150 or so, then it happened… the followers started to go off the radar. I couldn’t figure it out. I started looking at the mentions and noticed that Kim Kardashian had retweeted it. With over 1 million followers, that’s all it took. By the end of the day I had 1.734 new followers which = $1,734 owed by Pat to THON ( who we agreed the money would go to ahead of time) from a bus boy trying to make ends meet. The story had an even better ending as Pat was able to leverage the publicity from the event and raise a total of $8,000 to donate.Since, we have let the sponsor choose whoever they would like as a cancer charity. We have been fortunate that a nectar company in California, @Delprado, has now done 3 sponsorships One for @VTRelay for $1,400, one for 5 yr old boy & mom with cancer $3,200 and one for @Shannonleetweetd’s @RallyForKids $3,600. In all total we have raised over $11,000 by simply tweeting and getting followers. I have never touched a dollar of the donations and make nothing. My value is the collection of followers for a common cause.I have been fascinated with how a message can go viral and have learned some interesting tricks as to how to make a message get retweeted. Obviously, with celebrities tweeting about your message, the odds improve. George Lopez, Shannon Tweed, Russell Crowe, Alyssa Milano, Larry King, and others have tweeted and in some cases followed our work. I trully beleive that a community can be formed and connected through something like Twitter and they can be a force to be reckoned with.My goal is to get 1 million followers, but more importantly to get a sponsor for each day of the year while support ing a new charity each day. The key, of course, is that I need sponsors for each of these days. These are somewhat slow to come by but my justification is this…for $5,000 or less (unless Ashton Kutcher OR President Obama tweet about it) a sponsor will help out a cancer charity and will get at least that many tweets about their sponsorship. 5,000 NEW followers to abolishcancer would = at least 5,000 tweets about the cancer charity and the sponsor b/c people have to go out and get NEW followers, existing followers don’t count. Hopefully businesses will see the value in this and start stepping up more.At any rate, it has been very fun, educational, and heartfelt with the response and results we have gotten. I only hope we can continue to sustain it. In the meantime I get lots of pleasure (and sadness) by retweeting about people’s needs, successes, and plights as it relates to cancer. Awareness is as important as the $ itself.As my tag line says, for which I believe, “Power of the People, through Twitter, to help @abolishcancer“