Step 2) Think about how you can best pull on the heart strings of your audience. Think about showing them pictures of children in need in Africa, think of how you can best describe how terrible things are for people in developing countries, and think of how you can really hit home and make someone feel a bit guilty for having all they have, while others have far less.
Step 3) Slap yourself across the face for considering using people’s negative emotions to motivate them to give. Take everything you came up with in step 2, and throw that shit out the window. That is the OLD way of charity. It is the way that will raise the minimum amount possible, and that is the way that people and organizations have been doing things for DECADES. It is not only played out, but it is downright annoying.
Step 4) Invoke POSITIVE emotions in people. Invite them to use their creative, energetic, inspiring, and outstanding minds to create something far bigger than themselves. Simply open the door for creativity to flow, and for people to think outside the box. People here in the west already know that they have it good, they know they have more, and you know what… they want to do their part. It is just a matter of equipping them with the tools to do it. And that is what I was fortunate enough to be able to do in the “Turn $1000 into $5000 for Charity” challenge.
I was enjoying some wine one night with a friend of mine’s parents, in Comox BC, when we started talking about crowd sourcing. We had previously been talking about charity projects, and a few sips later, BANG, the two came together. After another bottle of wine and a few sips of tequila, I went downstairs and threw up a blog post to crowd source for ideas on how to turn $1000 into $5000 for charity. The post took maybe 25 minutes, and the feedback was incredible.
Ideas poured in from 4 different countries, and ranged from collecting pennies, to donating sperm. In the end, there were 5 ideas that won out, and will now be raising a minimum of $5000 each over the next few months. What was my input to the whole thing???…. a 25 minute blog post, some money that was going to go to charity anyways, and equipping ordinary people with the excuse to think of extraordinary things.
Our heart strings have been getting tugged on for far too long, and though it successfully gets people to donate $40 here and there to sponsor a child (who might get half of that money if they are lucky), the REAL money, and excitement, and future, is in empowering people here in the west to do what is already in their hearts. To simply give them a glimpse of what is possible, and then trust them to do the rest.
I personally had no idea this little challenge would raise $25,000, and that is part of the beauty of it. It is such a beautiful example of how easy it is to make a difference. For me, all it took was a few bottles of wine to get the juices flowing, and a blog post that went way further than I thought it would.
Cheers to how amazing the human brain is when it is given a challenge. Harnessing those creative juices and channeling them toward bettering other people’s lives, in my opinion, is the beginning of the end of world poverty.
Now… it is time for a nice glass of red, and more ideas.
PS. Here is a pretty incredible example of someone doing something outstanding for the love of empowering others. This guy, Paul Caridad, is one of my new heroes. Check this video out, and try not to be inspired.