Bowling for (Contributed) Dollars

I want to tell
you about a wonderful event in which we participated last night and one which
inadvertently provided a mirror for how online fund raising can really work.
Each year, Classical
Action/Broadway Cares Equity Fights Aids sponsors a bowling fund raiser here in
New York. This year, it was titled "Up Our Alley IX: Classical Action’s Ninth Annual Benefit Bowling Bonanza."
I’m proud to say that our team, "La Bowleme"
(pictured at right), raised a grand total of $2,783 which was part of the overall total achieved by the fund raiser of $140,000. (And we won a prize for "Best Team Name!")

We’ve participated each year for the last four
years, and what’s unusual about this year’s event was that for the first time we
could solicit donations online. It was amazing to watch the people on my staff
rally behind the cause, and how viral marketing made the whole thing work so
much better than before.

One of my staff members, Lily Traub, raised the most
– $620, which she raised from over 18 friends. She did some interesting
things to boost her results. "This year I got started two months before the
event, and regularly sent e-mail reminders to my friends encouraging them to
click on the link and donate. I also posted it on my Facebook and MySpace pages.
I then harassed them gently and encouraged them to donate because it means they
wouldn’t have to hear from me anymore! And when my offer to match donations
was unsuccessful, my co-worker Allison Klein and I decided to host a cocktail party
for all those who decided to donate. The party is this coming Friday and I think
a dozen friends are coming!"

For years, I’ve been talking about how online
ticketing is rapidly becoming the preferred way to sell tickets. And, if
this experience is any guide, I think it’s clear that online donations will
rapidly catch up as the preferred method for making donations to non-profits. 

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