Asking you to read my blog is one thing, but asking you to donate money is quite another. No matter how worthwhile the cause, I dislike doing it. It’s imposing, and if my choice in charity differs from yours, I’d risk the delete button, or worse.
A friend told me that my fundraising efforts are a turnoff as he has his favorite causes and he doesn’t want to hear about appeals for money from a blogger, no matter how compelling. He reasons that if I sacrifice, roll up my sleeves, and get personally vested in the cause – the support would roll in naturally. Hard to argue with that.
Still I struggle. I spent this past year building this blog and readership one post at a time and it has been great fun; lots of great feedback, discussion and feel good vibes. But I want to try and take it one step further. I want to see if by raising awareness we can actually get something accomplished in the real world aside from just accumulating Likes and Shares.
So I picked a great cause, an impeccable organization, a goal of raising $1,000 and told their story the best I could. During the month the donations started rolling in and before long we ended up with $850, a $150 short of launch.
And as we began to approach to Black Friday my marketing instincts kicked in and I started to mobilize my online team to help me with an e-blast for the final close. After all, this is what my company does all day long. And the rebel in me desperately wanted to divert some of the money being spent on massive consumerism to a lifesaving cause. Of course, I could have easily written a check for $150 — end of story — but that was not the point.
I preferred 50 small donors than one big one. I’d much rather generate awareness and support for a cause this important by as many stakeholders as possible. But my team politely advised me against a professional-looking appeal.
I decided to step back and sleep on it. On the one hand I’d be risking alienating a portion of my readers, and on the other, we could raise more money and prevent more suffering.
If I can take all of you on a field trip to a drilling site where a whole village is moments from getting fresh drinking water, we’d raise $10K in an instant.
So why the struggle?
This appeal is virtual and maybe lacking the conviction that experiencing this first hand can bring. Maybe I do need to go there, roll up my sleeves and help dig. I’ll start by taking a field trip to the charity: water office and get the lay of the land. My friend may have been right.
I tossed and turned all night and in the morning the answer was in my inbox:
Someone from afar oblivious to my turmoil decided to put this project on the map and me out of my misery with one swift gift.
Suddenly clarity came, the purpose of this blog is to raise awareness and for a cause this important the risk of a direct appeal is worth it. Thank you for your patience and if Black Friday is not your thing, I have another idea for you. 😉