Getting Started, social media strategy, storytelling

Changing the World, One eBook at a Time

13 Comments 12 June 2009

thanks to AlpeniMi for cover image

Inspired to create a free resource for women who want to change the world through the web, Jasmin Tragas has just published the free eBook Worldshapers.

This is a story about the power of weak ties and one woman determined to make a difference. I met Jasmin Tragas online, and we have never met in person. She began to follow me on Twitter, we naturally shared ideas. I soon discovered her real passion is the crossroads of social media, women’s economic opportunities, and nonprofits – all of which interest me.  After a few months, Jasmin asked if she could profile me in an eBook that she was creating about the power of women to change the world through the social web. From a weak tie to an eBook…that’s the power of social media.

Jasmin believes in the power of social media to change the world. Her dream is to create a Trust Bank in the Philippines for a group of 15-30 women, where they will be given micro loans and training to grow their businesses in order to work their way out of poverty. In her role as a volunteer Opportunity Ambassador, she has pledged to raise $10,000 for Opportunity International Australia towards the Trust Bank in the Philippines. The obvious step for her was to utilize social media to raise those funds.

Inspired by the power of social media, she created WorldShapers, Extraordinary Women Making a Difference, a free eBook featuring the stories of 16 women using the web to make a difference. Jasmin writes, ” I created the eBook was to provide a free resource about women using the web for positive change. At the same time, I wanted to see if I could use this as an opportunity to raise funds for the microloan fund.” At the end of the book, she suggests that the readers can also change the world;  donate to Opportunity International, or any other worthy organization.

I am honored to be among the 16 women selected for the book. I asked Jasmin why she initiated the Worldshapers project, if it has raised her target amount, and the “lessons learned” from producing and distributing an eBook.

Why did you decide to create Worldshapers?

“There are some amazing women around the world who use the web as part of their work with nonprofits and communities. I thought it would be wonderful for their stories to be shared in a free eBook so that people could be encouraged by their example. Social media gives us the ability to create inspiring projects like this – so why not? I also wanted to promote and raise funds for a microfinance project.”

Why did you choose Opportunity International?

“Their microfinance program provides jobs for people living in poverty, mostly women. Their program also provides training, develops relationships in the community and helps women to work their way out of poverty – a long term, sustainable approach to poverty – not just charity.”

What is your experience of raising funds through this eBook?

“Sometimes you receive a donation from someone who lives on the other side of the world, someone you have never met, or a work colleague you have only ever chatted with online and you think ‘wow! How awesome that this person just contributed $20.’ You feel a real sense of us making a difference TOGETHER.”

It seems counter-intuitive to produce a free book to raise money. Has it worked?

“Although I could have asked for a small donation for each download, I decided I wanted to keep it free so these stories could be shared around the world. My instincts told me that people wouldn’t donate after downloading the book, about $200 was donated during this ‘semi-campaign’. I also put a link to my Chipin account in the eBook. I’m happy with the outcome – 1600 copies of the eBook downloaded raising $1300 – over 10% of my goal – but I’m still learning about fundraising using social media and wonder how much I could have raised if I charged for downloads.”

Which promotional efforts for the eBook have been successful? What has not worked?

“I try to keep things interesting, interactive and even a little challenging. In trying to raise money previously for Opportunity, I thought that a competition would be great, but it didn’t work as well as I hoped. It really helps when an influential blogger tweets about your project – a great way to create publicity and I’m grateful when it happens.”

What are the fundraising goals and how much have you raised?

“My goal is to raise AUD$10,000  by the end of this month, for a two year microfinance program. Currently $4,000 has been generously donated. Two companies made donations towards the eBook project (Incentive House and Seek Volunteer) so I was able to raise $1100 that way.  If I can raise half of my goal I can still partner with another Opportunity ambassador to create the Trust Group. But ultimately, I would love to see people around the world coming together to help raise the funds online. ” (To date, she has reached 50% of her goal.)

What would you do differently?

“I’m not sure I would do anything differently, even the events that didn’t work so well were wonderful experiences to be part of. I’ve met some lovely people along the way too. The most successful project was a blogging project – 13 bloggers wrote a blog post and Incentive House Donated $100 for each post. $1300 was raised in a matter of days!”

“Creating an eBook was a really rewarding experience and I would consider doing it again. Next time, perhaps I would ask for donations, in which case I think perhaps the content really needs to be more than just informative and inspirational. I think I would also need people with social media influence to help promote and endorse the book.”

Anything else you want to mention?

“Raising funds and creating awareness for Opportunity International Australia about microfinance has been such a great journey. I’m also very thankful for people like Gavin Heaton, Des Walsh and Matt Moore who provided social media advice at times.”

June 22 Update: Servant of Chaos has just created and uploaded a great slide show about Jasmin’s efforts to raise funds for her cause. The slide show details the many (and there are MANY) different social media platforms she has used and highlights her efforts on each.

jasmin-tragas2Jasmin Tragas is a mother of three who works as a creative marketing and communications consultant for IBM in Melbourne, Australia. She writes a weblog about her experiences using social media for good, and another weblog about her role as a volunteer Ambassador with Opportunity International.

If you want to donate to this great cause, donate here.  Just a $4 donation (one cup of coffee) will make a huge difference.  Together, we can leverage social media to create economic opportunity.

»
  • Pingback: Twitted by joannayoung()

  • How inspirational. I always think that women should always be creative, and not fear of going after for what they’ve believed in. Jasmin is a live example on how an effort could turn into a force, encouragement, while helping out the needy ones. Will tweet about this, and hopefully more women would get encouraged by it, and dare to make a difference with their lives. Best wishes to Jasmin, Debra, and all women in the world.

    The effectiveness of social media is beyond our expectations.

    @wchingya
    social media/blogging

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Thanks for visiting Ching! I’m glad this post inspired – Jasmin’s efforts certainly are inspirational.

    [Reply]

  • How inspirational. I always think that women should always be creative, and not fear of going after for what they’ve believed in. Jasmin is a live example on how an effort could turn into a force, encouragement, while helping out the needy ones. Will tweet about this, and hopefully more women would get encouraged by it, and dare to make a difference with their lives. Best wishes to Jasmin, Debra, and all women in the world.

    The effectiveness of social media is beyond our expectations.

    @wchingya
    social media/blogging

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Thanks for visiting Ching! I’m glad this post inspired – Jasmin’s efforts certainly are inspirational.

    [Reply]

  • Pingback: Women Wired to Change the World « wonderwebby()

  • Great interview! It’s nice to hear, in her own words, how Jasmin got involved – what she did and why.

    [Reply]

  • Great interview! It’s nice to hear, in her own words, how Jasmin got involved – what she did and why.

    [Reply]

  • Pingback: Shaping Youth » Social Media ABC’s: An International Opportunity()

  • Thanks for posting this! I hadn’t heard of Jasmin Tragas before, and now I’m excited and will definitely be checking out her ebook!

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Gavin – glad Jasmin continues to inspire. I first met her online, and her passion and determination to raise funds for the microfund came through in every word she wrote. I think there’s a lot to be learned from her story of how she turned a personal fundraising campaign into a multi-platform, awareness-raising, broad campaign. The slide show that you produced about her campaign is part of this – and I encourage everyone to view it.

    Pace- thanks for stopping by. Let us know what you think of the ebook after you’ve read it!

    [Reply]

  • Thanks for posting this! I hadn’t heard of Jasmin Tragas before, and now I’m excited and will definitely be checking out her ebook!

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Gavin – glad Jasmin continues to inspire. I first met her online, and her passion and determination to raise funds for the microfund came through in every word she wrote. I think there’s a lot to be learned from her story of how she turned a personal fundraising campaign into a multi-platform, awareness-raising, broad campaign. The slide show that you produced about her campaign is part of this – and I encourage everyone to view it.

    Pace- thanks for stopping by. Let us know what you think of the ebook after you’ve read it!

    [Reply]

About

Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

Follow Debra

Subscribe via email

Categories

Comments

Badges

© 2017 Social Media Strategy for Mission-Driven Organizations.

Site by Arrow Root Media