Sloane Berrent Tells Us To Spread the Love, Not Material
Editor’s Note: You may have read our previous Twirlit story with Sloane Berrent of Causemopolitan fame, who recently completed a fellowship with the micro-finance organization, Kiva. She’s someone who uses her knowledge of social media and networking in order to bring awareness to projects that help and empower those in need. Even though many of us are affected by the weakened economy, one thing that never goes out of style is giving to others. For these reasons, I’m more than happy to re-introduce Sloane Berrent, who will tell us about how we can stop the spread of malaria and why giving really can be better than receiving. Oh, and her latest idea, “Cause Its My Birthday.”
by Sloane Berrent
It all started with a crazy idea. Take the concept of a birthday week, universally celebrated by women everywhere with a myriad of activities, brunches and nights on the town, and turn it into an act of giving instead of getting. Use birthdays as a platform for social change. The nonprofit of choice? Netting Nations. Add in social media and two friend’s desire to inspire people around the country and you have Cause It’s My Birthday, a seven-day, seven-city, seven-party tour to raise money for malaria nets, with 100% of the proceeds going to the nets.
So that’s we did. Me, Sloane Berrent of TheCausemopolitan fame, but also a woman on a year-long journey to give back, which included the recent completion of a Kiva fellowship (featured on Twirlit here), and my good friend Doug Campbell (of Mindshare LA and the Tuxedo Travels). One day we were all together and realized we were turning 30 within days of each other and wanted to do something spectacular, but wanted it all to be about giving back. Because really when it comes down to it, there is nothing better than inspiring others to know how easy it can be to get involved with nonprofits or a fundraiser.
To put the wheels in motion, we first chose our cities: New York City for the kickoff on October 3, followed by Miami, New Orleans, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and for the finale Los Angeles. Some of those cities we had strong networks, but some of them we did not. We decided to crowd source the planning and logistics of the events. Crowd sourcing? This basically meant we found a few people in each city to champion our cause. In cities like New York and Los Angeles, where we had a strong network already, this wasn’t too hard. We simply sent out a few emails and the ball was rolling. But for a few of the other cities, we barely knew anyone at all. We looked to social networks like Twitter and Facebook to connect with people who lived in those cities and get them involved. The Seattle party was a particular highlight. We had never even met any of the hosts before the night of the event. One was an avid reader of my blog who got a few friends together and planned the whole thing.
We turned the donations into a competition with each city battling against each other for the most donations. Within one week we raised over $14,000! We decided to keep the main donation tab open through October 31, 2009, because people are still finding out about the campaign and making donations, and each one takes us one step closer to our $20,000 goal. In fact, as of today we’re at $18,742, which means we have until the weekend to get that last $1200!
Malaria kills one child every 30 seconds, or 3,000 children every day. The malaria mosquitoes only come out at night, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., so having a bed net drastically decreases someone’s chances of infection. The total cost of a malaria net is $5, which is a Starbucks to you and me, but means everything to people in a developing country who live off of $1-2 dollars a day.
Each party had attendance of approximately 75 people with a $15 donation at the door while the website has had over 450 people donate from over 35 states and four countries with amounts ranging from $5 to $500. The idea is to start small, start anywhere. The response we received was incredible. The campaign runs through October 31, 2009. Won’t you join us with your donation and feel inspired to make an upcoming celebration in your household about giving? You’ll be glad you did.
Once again, here’s the link to “Cause Its My Birthday.” Thanks again for getting involved!