5 Ways to Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve Without Throwing Your Avatar in my Face

Once upon a time, when you wanted to raise some funds for a good cause you would ask your friends, neighbours and your local community. Nowadays when you raise funds, thanks to social media there’s a chance that anybody, anywhere might notice that you are raising funds. Which raises the question of whether or not you are raising funds to be seen raising funds.

It takes me back to a childhood memory of fame and the less fortunate. Every year when the annual Christmas Children’s Hosptal Appeal was on TV, my father would ring up and donate a small amount of money in our names. And every year we would eat lolly gobble bliss bombs and sit through the bad variety acts, watching the fundraising tally rise higher and higher.

Image originally uploaded by Hellebardius

We watched that screen very, very closely because at some point, one of our names would be read out or displayed on telly “Thanks Jasmin for donating 50 cents” (hey, that was a lot of money to a kid in the 70’s!)  To us it may have been three seconds of fame, but we also realised we had made a difference to sick children, along with thousands of others. It all added up.

Recently Darren Rowse aka Problogger shared a dilemma on Twitter about the issue of public vs private giving . He stated that bloggers are in a position to help others in situations,  like the current devastating situation in Haiti.  However this could create an appearance of “being seen” to be helping. He shared on this occasion, he would be following his heart. A sentiment echoed by many others in response.

I’m not sure there is any right or wrong in using your influence to blog about a good cause. So how do you wear your heart on your sleeve, without shoving your avatar around in the faces of ….well, anyone and everyone.

Here are some of my thoughts. I’d love to hear yours.

  1. Relax – It’s OK when I know where you’re coming from.
    After all, it’s for a good cause, isn’t it? If I feel like I know you, if I trust you and believe you have integrity and credibility, it won’t bother me when you blog about a cause. Not one bit. I might even donate more to you than the guy who just knocked on my door (seriously, somebody just came around doorknocking for Epilepsy.)
  2. Respect Your Community.
    Sure, use your influence to help somebody else get attention for a good cause. Just be respectful with your choice of words and the amount of resources  (time, skills, creativity, money etc) you may demand. T’aint what you do...
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjD7zD0a4I0]
  3. Know Thyself.
    “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”– Dr. Seuss. What is your definition of success? If you ended up raising funds but losing “followers” would it really matter to you? Why do you want to help out? What do you have to lose? What do you hope to gain?
  4. Be Part of Something. Contribute to a greater project. You don’t have to start your own fundraiser or creative challenge. Do a Twitter search or blog search. Find out what others are doing about the things that matter to you, and join them.
  5. Thank Someone. Thank Everyone.
    It should go without saying, but it’s very, very important. Remember to thank the people who help you out. Make a list if you have to, so you don’t forget.

What do you think? Have you had any positive or negative experiences using your blog to raise funds?

Update: some points from @JoannaYoung in the comments below included:

6) think about how you’re adding value (helping to raise awareness / spread the word as well as fundraise / donate)
7) keep the focus on easy ways other people can get involved and contribute… if they want to
8) bear in mind if it’s a major catastrophe your readers don’t need awareness raising… they might want to know simple ways to give