Some of you may be aware that we (Courage to Hope) just launched a campaign to allow people to donate their birthdays to Courage to Hope. The concept is simple, really – instead of gifts and/or money, your friends donate to Courage to Hope on your behalf. Charity:Water has been doing this for years (it’s actually how they got started), and we wanted in on the action.
As luck would have it, my birthday came fairly soon after we launched the program, and so I was the first to test it out for real.
Here’s how it went:
How much was raised: $545
How many donated: 9
Average donation per person: $60
Here’s what I learned:
1. People are generous
An average donation of $70 is quite a bit of money. I rarely get $60 worth of gifts from one person for my birthday – except sometimes my wife, whose gifts are priceless
People will give more to a charity that you’re involved with than they will to you.
2. Social media doesn’t work if you’re not social
I made the mistake of being largely silent on social media in the months leading up to my birthday. Any social media expert will tell you that in order to be effective on social media, it takes time to ramp up your Klout (pun intented). I believe I would have been at least twice as effective if I had taken the time to build up a social media presence, so people would actually see my posts.
3. People need reminders
But that doesn’t mean they don’t care. I made the mistake of taking it somewhat personally when people didn’t immediately donate thousands of dollars when I sent out emails and posts on Facebook. People have lives, and need gentle reminders. They want to donate, but they also want their child to not throw that fistful of flour across the room, but things happen and distract people.
4. Giving really is more fun than getting
I can’t try and wordsmith my way into convincing you of this. You have to experience it to really understand. It gives your big day a sense of purpose, especially as you get older and your birthdays are less and less exciting – I just turned 27, which is a transition age. I’m no longer in my mid-twenties. I’m now in my late-twenties, which means I’m almost in my thirties. Which means I’m almost 1/3 dead (yes, I’m going to die when I’m exactly 100)
Here’s what you should do:
Donate your birthday to Courage to Hope. If for no other reason than to try it out. See how much you can raise.
NOTE – You can still donate for my birthday, even though it was last week. Just click here!