$26,000?!?! How do we raise $26,000?!??!

Doesn't this picture of pop star Christina Aguilera lending a helping hand inspire you?

I was thinking about how much money $26,000 is.  It’s more than I’ve ever had in my possession, by orders of magnitude.  Now, $26 is a fair amount of money.  It will buy an entree at a fancy restaurant, a cab ride across San Francisco, or two movie tickets (damn, only two?).  Now take that $26 and spend it on two movie tickets every day for three years.  That’s a lot of money isn’t it?  That’s what $26,000 feels like.

In Haiti, it means 5,200 containers for clean drinking water.  It also means 52 tents for a family of 5.  So far we’ve raised nearly 11 tents, and that’s awesome.  We’ve housed 55 people, as the rainy season begins.

So how in the heck are we going to gather the remaining 41 tents?

To be honest, I’m not totally sure, but I have an idea.

Step 1 is hope. I have no idea how much we will raise at the end of this.  26,000 is much more than I could imagine collecting, but why not aim high?  A hundred here, a donor match there, and the momentum builds, snowballing into a large wad of cash.

Step 2 is building a base. I am incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by the friends and family that I have, and the speed at which we raised over $5,000 spurred me on.  I won’t ask those who’ve already pledged for more money, but I hope I can rely on you all for help in other ways.  Read on.

Step 3 is reaching out. In order to quintuple the current amount pledged, we’ll have to move beyond friends and family.  I’ve made steps to get my story published in some hyper-local places: the Kensington Outlook, the Berkeley Ironworks (climbing gym) newsletter, other blogs.  The hope is that we can push people who are on the fence about donating, by adding the opportunity to support someone in the community.

Step 4 is asking for help. I can’t do this alone, between working full-time with WebGreek and training and catching Vikki up on classic movies she’s never seen.  So with the base that we’ve got, I’m hoping to reach out past my circle, so that we are collectively tapping every resource within the full 6 degrees of separation.

Here are some ways that you can help spread the word:

  • Post something on your Facebook profile.  “Hey guys, my friend is running a marathon and trying to raise $$ for Haiti relief.  If you can help, or knows someone that would like to, it would mean a lot.  Here’s a link.”
  • Send an email to some friends.
  • Phone a rich relative.

Step 5 is finding bigger matching donors. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be soliciting every charitable foundation, every corporation, every collective chunk of money I can think of to see if they’d like to get a piece of this tent-providing pie.

I am asking for suggestions.  If you work for a company that might want to help, if you know a few good leads, and if you can put me in touch with anyone, then please email me at spenser.tangsmith@gmail.com, or leave a comment below!

You know what?  I actually have no idea what I’m doing, besides just asking people for money, and asking people to ask people for money.  Has anyone out there raised money for charitable casues?  What works and what doesn’t?  I’m shooting in the dark here.
Next post will include a quick update of the situation in Haiti, including some funny tidbits about who has donated what so far, and whom we can beat in terms of donations.  I’ll give you a hint: we’ve nearly raised more than Dannon Yogurt was willing to donate.


2 Responses to “$26,000?!?! How do we raise $26,000?!??!”

  1. I think people are willing to donate when they see a really specific story for where the money is going. Instead of money for Haiti, make it money for some certain little girl, or her family, or some specific town, or something like that.

    I think that’s how all those “save the children” funds did so well. You get a letter from some attractive but desperate child and feel like you’re really helping that one, beautiful kid make it. Of course, they probably sent that same kid’s face for all the letters.

    Maybe a creative way to do it would be to name the benefactors yourself. Without even knowing the names of who gets helped, you could call them the “Families of Spencer” or god knows what.

    People love the small, grass roots stuff, if it gets them a small, grass roots story.

  2. Hey Twood,

    Thanks for the advice, and I couldn’t agree more. It would not only make others more willing to give, but it will also be more satisfying for me personally. I’ve been researching different organizations that would let me narrow the focus of the giving, and I’ve settled on the World Food Program. You can read on here: https://runspenserrun.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/new-charity-more-long-runs/

    Otherwise, congratulations Mr. Fianceé, and congratulations on having a killer blog. Stay ballin’.


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