A few years back I found myself sitting next to a fellow University employee on an airplane bound for some cold Mid-western city.
“So what do you do for the University?” I asked.
“I’m in development.” said he.
Not knowing any better I assumed he meant some sort of international studies program, but no, he meant fundraising.
“So you ask people for money?”
“No, I offer opportunities.”
Apparently development is all about opportunities. Opportunities to connect, opportunities to educate and be educated, opportunities to share your love of learning and tell your ungrateful children that they’re out of luck when it comes that ton of money you’ve stashed away in Swiss bank accounts. I think the development folks are on to something.
I don’t have any money stashed away in Swiss bank accounts, but I have a healthy dose of passion concerning the injustices to the most vulnerable among us and perhaps a little verbal diarrhea. Microphilanthropy, of the sort Help A Mother Out is involved in, is putting such qualities to good use.
A couple of weeks ago I challenged my friends on Facebook in Help A Mother Out style. My daughter had garnered $150 in pledges for her first philanthropic event, Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona’sfirst Stroll & Roll. Could my friends help me match my daughter’s pledges?
In one week, after daily Facebook status updates on the state of the challenge and a promise/threat to wear a bumblebee outfit in broad daylight in a highly public place, we had raised over $400, and if the rest of the pledges come in, nearly $500. Now, my friends don’t have a bunch of money, but $10 here and $5 there, adds up. At the end of the challenge week and after the Stroll & Roll I posted the picture my daughter and I in our costumes to Facebook so they could all have a good laugh. The $400 will cover one baby’s bottom in a healthy change of diapers for four months. It isn’t huge in the grand scheme of things, but to some family or families out there $400+ worth of diapers is going to make a huge difference. I wasn’t so much asking for money as giving my friends the opportunity to take part in a competition and have a bit of a laugh at my expense and all using Facebook.
In a similar manner, my friend Julie over at TucsonMama threw together what we hope will be the first in a biannual kids’ clothing exchange at a local Tucson art gallery. The admittance to the exchange, five items of clean, nice kids’ clothing, and something for the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona. In return participants had opportunity to enjoy a few mimosas and some snackages, pick out some ‘new to them’ kid clothes, partake in some cool conversation with friends and newly found friends and all the while helping the Diaper Bank. This isn’t asking people for money, or even donations, it is providing opportunities.
With this in mind I’d like to ask what is the most engaging micro-philanthropic event you’ve been involved in? How did it raise awareness and response? What was the opportunity offered? Please leave a comment with the details.
Book Giveaway: Max and the Diaper Fairy
Given the general gist of this post it is only fitting that it be paired with an opportunity, not only to impart your wisdom, but also to win a signed copy of the new book, Max and the Diaper Fairy by Melissa Hart. It is a sweet picture book about potty training a reluctant toddler. Contained within its pages not only a message about potty training, but also a message about supporting diaper banks. So get those comments rolling, it can be something really small.