fundraising, social media campaign, Twitter

Epic Thanks – One Incredible Event of Gratitutde

2 Comments 24 November 2010

Epic Change is one woman’s quest to change the world permanently…through gratitude. Stacey Monk is a changemaker, a fountain of gratitude, and an incredible connector. She founded Epic Change in 2007 to amplify the voices of grassroots changemakers and social entrepreneurs. Since then, Epic Change has been raising money through gratitude, one tweet at a time.

She did it all through the lens of gratitude. In 2008, Epic Change created Tweetsgiving, ecouraging the Twitterati to tweet what they are grateful for, and connect that to a donation for as little as $10 to build a boarding school in Tanzania. That raised $11,000 in 48 hours. Tweetsgiving 2009 raised $30,000 from 657 donors. This past Mother’s Day, Epic Change’s collaborative artspace, To Mama With Love, raised $16,000 from 329 online, spurred on by twitterers, bloggers, and facebook users.

Tweetsgiving 2010 is called Epic Thanks. The campaign utilizes gratitude cards, online evangelists, and community organizing.

Epic Thanks is also one of the great online fundraising campaigns of 2010.

Epic Thanks is a worldwide celebration of gratitude that began November 23. The idea is so simple it’s incredible: bring the thankfulness back to Thanksgiving. Show the gratitude in our hearts, share it, and transform the world. This Tweetsgiving, Epic Change has selected three changemaker organizations to recieve the donations: Mama Lucy’s school in Tanzania, Subhash Ghimire’s Peace School in Nepal, and Mike Halley’s Halley’s K-9s for Veterans.

You only have to visit www.epicthanks.org to see gratitude on display. This campaign site makes you smile, and it’s easy to express  gratitude on the site. Who doesn’t want to donate out of gratitude?

I personally love the Gratitude Cards. They are fun, beautifully designed, easily shareable, and a great donation incentive. Stacey explains: “This year, when you create one of these postcards on the site, you’ll be asked to give before you send the postcard. People can give from $10 to ‘a gajillion dollars.’ If someone wants to give a gajillion dollars, then we’ll figure out how to do that.”

Stacey tells me:

“In my dream world 10,000 people will create postcards and post them.”

To understand the mechanics of how Stacey Monk, Sanjay Patel and the incredible Epic Change volunteer team made this happen, you only have to understand Stacey:  that intersection of intention, determination, gratefulness, and community.

Early on, the Epic Change team reached out to almost 100 supporters personally, asking them to host a local Epic Thanks fundraiser, and/or become an online campaign evangelist. Every volunteer committed to completing at least one Epic Thanks activity, such as donating money, asking five friends to donate, writing blog posts, etc. (Disclosure – I completed the form and one of the things I agreed to do was write a blog post about Epic Thanks. Another was to donate.)

Volunteers were invited into a closed discussion group. Stacey got the group rolling by asking us to introduce ourselves and talk about what we are grateful for. As the event date grew nearer, we discussed what we are each doing to promote the event, encourage donations. Stacey is our cheerleader. Bringing supporters into the planning and implementation jump-started this year’s Epic Thanks right out of the door with abundant tweets and gratitude cards. That’s community organizing at its best.

Last year, I was also invited to participate in the online volunteer group, and I was curious what is different about this year’s group. Stacey answers:

“Our planning group this year is much bigger than previously and more geographically dispersed. We wanted people who are heartfully-connected rather than people who would lend us their name. Intention makes a powerful difference. Influencers are bombarded by a million different requests and don’t have the opportunity to get deeply connected to something that they are personally sharing. ” And that’s what this group really is – everyone is incredibly generous, and heartfully-connected to Epic Change.

As I write this, 118 grateful souls have invested $5,876 in the dreams of three incredible changemakers. Thus far #EpicThanks has been tweeted 1,483 times! Stacey Monk’s fundraising goal is $1 million. Let’s tweet gratitude and re-tweet it often.

Intention makes a powerful difference

I hope you’ll participate in Epic Thanks in one way or another, and donate. I have.


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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.

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