Thursday, December 02, 2010

Holiday Networking for Charity

I hope you'll take a few minutes to read this post, then take time to act on it. We've launched our 2010 Holiday Fund Appeal. The goal is to raise money to help us keep connecting inner city youth with volunteer tutors/mentors in 2011. We've done this every year since 1993, when we launched Cabrini Connections and the Tutor/Mentor Connection. Enough people have responded that we're still here.

I've been following a discussion about "crowdfunding" on the Social Edge web site. It's worth reading as we try to innovate ways to draw attention and donors to non profits like Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection.

We think of everyone as a leader and want all of our volunteers and students to share the responsibility of finding the dollars and recruiting other volunteers that enables us to grow each year. If you're looking at this, you are the RED circle on this chart. The balloons around you are people you know.

This is a worksheet that we hope people learn to use to identify people in different parts of their network who might be interested to know you are a volunteer, or a student, or alumni, of Cabrini Connections. If you've been helped by the Tutor/Mentor Connection, you also can share this story in your network. (Click on the chart to see an enlarged view)

If you just identify 1 person in each box, that's 8 to 10 people who might become involved with us. They won't know that we exist unless you send them an email, a letter, or post something on Facebook or Linked in. If 100 of our students and volunteers told 8 to 10 people about our holiday fund drive that would be 800 to one thousand people who might send a small donation to help us.

The chart below is the really important chart. Most of our volunteers are young, just starting jobs and careers and don't have much money to donate. Their friends are also young, without much to give.

However, the people they know, such as family, faith members, neighbors, bosses at work, etc. are not all young. Some are people of great success and influence. If the people you know pass on your story to the people they know, the network expands to thousands of people.

In this second tier, or even in the third tier, are people of immense power and wealth who might want to become leaders and sponsors of the Tutor/Mentor Connection and Cabrini Connections. They might want to export our ideas to other cities and other countries. They might want to create a "tutor/mentor think tank" in their name.

They won't know us if you don't tell the people you know that you are a volunteer and encourage them to pass on this message to the people they know.

The month of December is the biggest charitable giving period of the year so it's critically important that people who care about Cabrini Connections and the Tutor/Mentor Connection begin telling people they know about the work we are doing.

However, for people to begin to get interested, you need to pass this message on, at least four times each year, which are the four times shown on the chart below.

See this event calendar on our web site. Each time Cabrini Connections or Tutor/Mentor Connection hosts and event, or posts a blog story, we provide a reason for each member of our immediate network of students and volunteers to share this information with the people in their own networks. As that message passes on to more people it expands the network.

It is this constantly expanded reach and consistent frequency that begins to build awareness, interest, involvement and then ownership. It is in the involvement and ownership stages that we find the people who will assure the on-going and future success of Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection.

Try this. It will work. If you're not a supporter of our non profit, try this as a strategy to support your own favorite charity.

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