Good karma dude

October 14, 2008

One of my favorite blogs is by Tim Ferriss:

I like how he is action oriented and gives advice that can be acted upon right then in the moment, the next day, whenever. The point is, he is not abstract.

Case in point, he has a contest up right now about helping inner city kids get an education.

From his blog:

There are less than 7 hours left to help 100,000 public school students get $1.5 million dollars in much-needed funding for their educations. A single click here is all I ask of you, and I sweeten the pot with a bribe below…

First, from the woman who convinced me to put up this post:

Where you grow up shouldn’t determine the quality of the education you receive. To help level the playing field, I propose giving 100,000 children in low-income communities the books, technology, and other materials that they need for a proper education.

The non-profit Donorschoose (who appear on the dedication page of 4HWW) only need 3,000-4,000 more votes to reach first place and receive $1.5 million dollars from American Express. As few as 500 more votes could lock them in for $500,000 (that means each vote is worth $1,000).

This is definitely an area that I would like to get into. It reminds me of the Team in Training athletic sponsorships program they have for the leukemia lymphoma society.

Unbelievable as it may sound, I have done research into this area. Why are these types of appeals successful?

Rene Bekkers and Pamela Wiepking of the Department of Philanthropic Studies at Vrije University in Amsterdam compiled a scholarly literature review to help explore theories of successful fund raising.

1.Awareness of need: The first is awareness of need the by the donor. Bekkers and Wiepking held that studies show that subjective impressions of the donor rather than the true objective need are crucial to fundraising. In a study by Small and Simonsohn in 2006, they concluded that exposing people to the need of someone else and/or knowing someone who is a victim or ‘suffers’ from something increases a donors preference towards that organization.

2. perception that their contribution makes a difference. (Smith, McSweeny, 2007) Tim’s fund raising goal is concrete and people are more willing to give or take action because this is an attainable goal that they helped him reach.

3. majority of all donations occur in response to a solicitation. (Denton, Mesch, Rooney, Steinberg, 2003) The American Express Survey conducted this past September that studies people’s reasons for donating on and offline and referenced earlier noted that over 20% of people who did donate online stated it was because the organization actively sent them an online appeal and gave them the thread back to the donation page. Also, the top reason that people stated they did not donate online was because the organization they donated to did not approach them online, or they just didn’t think of it. (28%) This suggests that people would have donated online more if the organization had approached them online and established that as the preferred donation vehicle.

From Tim:

Adding people without adding the tools — education and confidence — can create more problems than it solves. Increased disease, famine, and war are just three examples. The US, for example, has no problem multiplying its population; it’s training those people to get along and build a better future that’s the challenge.

With $1.5 million, DonorsChoose can change the future of US education. I’ve seen them execute.

I wish I had an american express card or an audience for my blog (cough, cough) to help TIm out. I will have to find another way to help.

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