Social Network Fundraising as a Conversation: To Mama With Love

4 Comments 07 May 2010

This week I was shown an example of great social network fundraising. Epic Change launched an online fundraising event called To Mama With Love. It is a “collaborative art project that honors moms across the globe and raises funds to invest in one remarkable mama who dreams of building a home for children in her village.”

To Mama With Love takes Mother’s Day away from greeting card companies and merchants, and reminds us that the meaning of Mother’s Day is gratitude and honoring a mother.

What is so innovative about To Mama With Love is that it’s an engagement strategy. To Mama With Love encourages you to create a “heartspace” dedicated to a mother you want to honor, and decorate it with photos, film, words, and art. It personally engages the donor, and guess what? It also extends reach by touching someone else through the engagement. In other words, if I honor my friend or my own mother, I’ve touched that person. Maybe then the person that I honor will honor another mother, in turn.

Epic Change has created a new fundraising model that, at its essence is:

– A conversation (in this case about gratitude and mothers), but not about needed funds.

– About giving in more ways than from your pocket.

– A movement (in this case, connecting me with everyone else honoring a mom)

– Personal engagement

A conversation and a movement: what is brilliant about To Mama With Love, is that it is not about any single gesture of love – it means to be bigger. My gesture of love will not create homes for children. To Mama With Love globally links together all of the moms that have inspired this gratitude (in a beautiful visual graphic image on the website). As soon as I saw this, I knew I wanted to honor my mom in this way for Mother’s Day.

This is a screen shot of the global graphic. Every dot is a mama that has a heartspace.

Personal engagement:  If I want to honor my mama with a “heartspace” on the site, I can’t do that without first donating money to the cause (build housing on the school grounds for the kids at Mama Lucy’s school). After that, I will be able to create a “heartspace” for a mama, decorate it with art, video, photos, words. I can share it using an e-card, email link, or on the website.

A screen shot of the giving process:

Now that I’ve given to Mama Lucy’s school, this is what I get back:

Giving in more ways than from my pocket: I’ve participated in a global art project that is bigger than my heartspace, and honoring my own mom. I’ve given money in my mother’s honor to make the world better for a group of kids. I’m part of a new vision of Mother’s Day. I feel really good inside, too 🙂

After creating a heartspace, I can share it socially through facebook, twitter, email, etc. I can add a badge to my website, add a twibbon to my twitter or facebook avatar, and Organic Beauty Now will generously give $1 per tweet (up to USD $2,000) when your tweet includes #ToMamaWithLove and/or In other words, there’s a whole host of ways I could become a cause evangelist for To Mama With Love.

Lastly, it’s important to note that this event is a good horizontal extension of Epic Change’s fundraising strategy to raise funds.It’s a nice extension of the branded Tweetsgiving fundraiser, but doesn’t take away from the Tweetsgiving event. To Mama With Love puts the gratitude back into Mother’s Day, relating to Tweetsgiving‘s idea to “put the thanks back into thanksgiving.” Both events raise funds for Mama Lucy’s school in Arusha, Tanzania, create conversations, and integrate the recipients (Mama Lucy and the Twitterkids) into the events.

I’ve written before about best practices in social network fundraising. To Mama With Love embodies the best of these practices. In every way, Epic Change keeps the ideas of community, connectedness, and social network fundraising at the forefront. With To MamaWith Love, Epic Change continues to innovate and inspire social network fundraising. If you want to tweet this post, won’t you include the hashtag #tomamawithlove?

To Mama With Love is not an online fundraiser. It’s a heart-raiser.

For more information, visit Mother’s Day is May 9, 2010.

Feel free to view my heartspace there in honor of my mom, Susan Askanase:

(If you want to read more about the back story, see Stacey Monk’s video interview on here.)



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.

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