Over the summer, I featured a remarkable woman, Sloane Berrent as part of my Philanthropy in Five series, who has literally dedicated her life to doing good, spreading good and seeing the good in others. It’s rare to find someone who walks the walk and talks the talk, but Sloane definitely puts her money where her mouth is — or, in this case, where her birthday cake is!
This year, to commemorate the big 3-0, Sloane, along with her friend, Doug Campbell, who was also turning 30 within days of her birthday (October 3rd and 5th, respectively), decided they wanted to do something memorable that not only celebrated life and the beginning of their 30s, but also included a strong charitable component. Both are avid social change agents, Doug most known for a worldwide tour raising money for nonprofits called ‘The Tuxedo Travels’ and Sloane whose latest cause adventure took her to the rural Phillipines for a 3-month fellowship with the microlending nonprofit, KIVA, so a cause campaign was a no brainer for this dynamic duo of do-goodery.
‘Cause It’s My Birthday’ was the result of their brainstorm, a socially-motivated campaign to generate awareness of malaria, turning their birthday week a national tour, complete with an online donation mechanism and a team of friends across the country to help organize the logistics of each local party, which they attended in formal attire — including at the airport. These two go all out for their beliefs!
The event ran from October 3rd – 9th, where they raised $14,000, just $6,000 shy of their goal of $20,000. So, they decided to keep the donation widget active, and have since raised an additional $4,457, bringing them to a grand total of $18,457 — not too shabby for an entirely social media-driven campaign, and signifies an effort that could not have happened without the social web. Just another example of the creative ways in which nonprofits can increase exposure — and fundraising — for their cause via social media, and create memorable connections with consumers that will maximize the lifetime value of the donor. You can bet that the fun experience had by those who attended Sloane and Doug’s birthday parties will be associated with giving, and now a deeper understanding of global and life-threatening issues like malaria. Not to mention the expanded reach among those who saw the tweets about the parties and Twitpics flying across a multitude of social networks. It may even spark them to get involved in other causes, or inspire them to do something similar for their birthday.
The amount they’ve raised to date is impressive with online totals representing over 450 people donating in amounts ranging from $5-$500 from over 30 states and 4 countries. The offline parties generated an average attendance of 75 people with 150 at the NYC kickoff and over 250 in LA. “The real takeaway,” says Sloane, “is how easy it was to throw a party for charity and the difference you can make by getting a few friends together to unite in a cause… you get raffle items, auction items, and just get out there and make change happen.”
To reach their original goal of $20,000, donations will remain open through 10/31, and they only have a little over $1500 to go! You can donate at www.CauseItsMyBirthday.com, and help prove that once you create a chain of giving that keeps getting paid forward, lasting change is possible — and far more than just a wish when you blow out the candles.