Sean Vora’s Follicle Fundraiser, Part 2
Posted Jul 28, 2011 by Sydney Fleischer
A few weeks ago, we posted on this blog about Sean Vora’s Follicle Fundraiser. Sean’s cause continues to gain buzz and supporters, so here is an update from Sean on his hair-raising fundraising adventure and the video update he posted to the cause last week. Thanks for the shout-outs Sean and keep it up!
Hello again! I started the Follicle Fate Fundraising cHAIRity cause to raise awareness for Ectodermal Dysplasias, and to raise money for the NFED to assist with treatment, research, and scholarships for this rare genetic disorder. When I started the cause, I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to make a big impact on my own. I’ve seen plenty of other fundraisers that are event-driven with a gang of volunteers involved, and they produce great results. I wondered how my strictly Internet-driven fundraiser would fare given that there was no event, tangible compensation, or exchange involved for people donating, aside from feeling good about helping people through a charity. After spending the first few days getting to know the Causes interface, I decided to see how far I could take the fundraiser on my own using the features on Causes and social media.
Within the first 12 days of the fundraiser, we raised $700 and reached 100 members. Initially, I thought the rate for joining could stay that high for a while, and had a feeling the bigger issue might be encouraging people to donate. Many of the early joiners were friends, but what stands out to me is that the first person to join was a second cousin, and the first donation I received came from a friend of his. This early example reinforced my idea of utilizing social media to reach people I wouldn’t know otherwise, and motivated me to spread the word.
During the next 12 days, we reached a total of $2531.02 with 173 members. My girlfriend, friends, and I made a big push to spread the word as we approached the one-month mark, and thanks to a $1000 matching donation from Edimer Pharmaceuticals, we raised nearly $3000 in 8 days! This push involved re-posting my unique Recruiter ID on Facebook and Twitter on a daily basis, and keeping members updated with our membership size and total fundraising amount.
By June 20, 2011 (my birthday!), we reached $5000 with 200 members, I was ecstatic! A large part of achieving these results came from reaching out to friends from all walks of life, and shifting my focus to recruiting, without pushing donations. I encouraged joining/recruiting to raise awareness, and knew I’d have a more focused audience to message down the line after they’d joined. Given that I initially planned to conclude the fundraiser at the end of June, I had met my goal over a week early and started to think bigger. I knew that if I could truly tap into the depth and breadth of social media and turn my friends into activists who then turned their friends activists for me, there was a chance for getting large numbers of people involved.
That’s all for this entry — next time I’ll cover the NFED Family Conference and the second wind it has given me in the push toward the end of the fundraising contest. Just 4 days to go (July 31, 2011)! Thank you for your support!!!