Up Periscope

Social Media and Fundraising Events

Social Sonar - Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Social media isn't just for raising awareness about your business. You can also use it to promote events at your store or do fundraising. We would like to share two stories about how social media helped increased awareness of recent fundraising events.

First up is Jimmy.  He works at the Rainbow Community Center, focusing on HIV awareness and education.  For 2011, he set a pretty high fundraising goal for the San Francisco AIDS Walk.  Here is how he used social media websites to make it happen.

Every year I participate in the San Francisco AIDS Walk. I host several fundraising events in the Bay Area and have been a top fundraiser for several years. But it wasn't until I joined the social networking world that my fundraising went to the next level. I set a huge goal this past year: $5,000. Using a group on Facebook, daily Twitter posts, a YouTube video and asking my friends and family to share, all three helped me not only reach my goal... but beat it! I was able to raise $8,000 in only 4 months. Social networking has really changed the way I promote my cause and provide outreach to my community. Without these social outlets, I would never have been able to reach my goal and help fight this epidemic.

What Jimmy doesn’t mention is that he also promised his loyal followers that he would do the 6.2 mile walk in six-inch red heels if he hit his goal.  He kept his promise.  Check out his photo at mile one.


Next is Dan.  He has a pretty amazing story and it is best told in his own words.

In memory of my brother Mike, who died of AIDS in 1995, I decided to participate in the 2011 AIDS LifeCycle bike ride, a seven day, 545-mile bicycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, raising money for AIDS and HIV services and prevention.  Each rider is required to raise $3,000, a feat in itself.

My main goal was to gain awareness for AIDS prevention -- raising money was not the driving force behind my decision to take this ride. I was at a loss for how to raise this large sum of money because I did not want to ask people for money in a bad economy. I decided to make a video telling "my story" of my brother dying of AIDS. At the end of the video I would simply ask the viewer to send me just one dollar. Who could say no to one dollar? If I could just get three thousand people to watch my video then I would accomplish my main goal of awareness having three thousand people hear "my story," and hopefully raise three thousand dollars.

I posted the video on YouTube and shared it often on my Facebook page. I also asked all my Facebook friends to please watch and share my video on their Facebook page too. I hoped for the best, but figured I would more than likely be writing a check from my own personal bank account for $2,000 (or more) to reach my goal and participate in the ride.

Within twenty minutes of the posting of my video on the Internet I had raised $500. What a shock! Had underestimated the power of social media? Within three weeks I had already raised $5,000 and the money kept coming in. By the time of the actual bike ride event arrived I had raised a whopping $18,800. My video has been viewed more than 5,824 times on YouTube and was re-posted on Facebook more than 1,000 times. All goals were exceeded thanks to the Internet.

However, this incredible fundraising didn't happen without hard work on my part and with a lot of help from my friends. I constantly kept on top of the video, posting it on Facebook often, sharing the address with anyone who would listen, and asking friends to ask their friends to post it.

My video was posted on Facebook by my friends who in turn asked their friends to post it, and so on. The local news media saw the video and the next thing I knew my video and story was on a major Bay Area TV newscast, the local newspaper and the front page of Yahoo! News for three days! The post office box was full of envelopes from all over the country, including envelopes from as far away as France and England.

Facebook and YouTube were the force behind my success in raising this huge amount of money for the AIDS Life Cycle Bike ride.  Social media should never be underestimated.

Here is a photo of Dan with actress Sue Sylvester on the day they left on the ride. 


We want to thank Jimmy and Dan for sharing their stories with us. They are a testament to the power of social media. Using these websites to promote your events and fundraising efforts can prove successful for you too. If you need help, just ask us how!

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