Tuesday, December 4

How I won the "One Post Challenge" at Tactical Philanthropy

When I submitted my entry to Sean's "One Post Challenge" it wasn't my intention to hijack the contest.

Fourteen months ago when I started my Don't Tell the Donor blog, I was one of only a handful of fundraising bloggers. Over the past year, I was initially excited to see so many more bloggers add to the online conversation.

Unfortunately, the proliferation of websites has all too often produced an incestuous conversation. For this medium to reach its strongest potential and serve as a true benefit to the nonprofits we serve, we must find a way to reach out beyond a limited number of fundraisers and foundation staffers to engage directly with individual donors.

As I wrote in my initial post, "blogging is not about talking AT PEOPLE, it’s about making readers part of the story and giving them a reason to be engaged."

Engaged was a bit of an understatement. Within the first 24 hours my post generated 57 comments, which by itself would have been enough to win the contest.

Sean himself noted that the deluge of hopeful supporters leaving comments for their cause generated more traffic to the website than his mentions in both the Chronicle of Philanthropy and the New York Times. That single comment proved my point more than the huge number of posts that came in.

...oh, but by the way... there were a heckuva a lot of comments. As I write this now, it looks like there are 683 total comments. I will leave it to Sean to see if he thinks their was any cheating with multiple votes coming from the same IP address... but here is how I saw the horserace unfold:

A total of ten nonprofits tried to lobby for votes. The early leader, Pride at Work after generating more than 60 votes within the first 36 hours. Thanks to one dedicated activist who was able to use his own site to reach out to more people, Pride at Work built a commanding lead... so much of a lead, they stopped thinking about the contest.

Then, on November 26th, someone who went by the name "Kjerstein" posted comment #75 - the first vote for Forge. That was followed by more than 50 more votes for Forge within the next couple hours... and the battle lines were drawn.

For the last week, votes poured in from both charities. It wasn't until late on December 3rd when Pride at Work must have thought the voting was over when Forge moved in for their final push. The refugee assistance group poured on more than 250 votes in the final day and won the contest by a final vote (through 683 total votes) by a score of 423-231.

Truth be told, I had never heard of either group when this contest started, but I have learned a lot about them in the past couple weeks... I hope others have. Both groups did an excellent outreach marketing job... and I would suggest that even though I want to donate the $500 gift card I won to Forge, I would like to suggest that Sean award his second $250 award to the second place group in this contest, Pride at Work.

My work here is done. This "fundraiser" is off to run a couple victory laps around the blogosphere. Congratulations to Sean and to Forge (who apparently only live about an hour away from each hour). I would encourage other bloggers to organize these challenges... it seems much more effective than those bland carnivals.

Thanks again for letting me be a part.
"a fundraiser"

No comments: