Fight Suicide with IMAlive 24-7

One of my clients, the Kristin Brooks Hope Center is hosting the first annual IMAlive 24-7 Giving Challenge to fundraise on National Suicide Prevention Day (September 10). People across America are trying to raise $50,000 to fund the IMALive.org crisis chat service. Any donation received during National Suicide Prevention Week (September 8-14) will count towards the IMAlive 24-7 giving event.

Suicide can be a moment of terror. In their desperation many potential victims can be talked off the proverbial ledge by an IMAlive volunteer.

IMAlive volunteers like one young lady Molly have saved thousands of lives by simply helping them through the moment. The above video tells you about Molly’s experience, and how saving people’s lives changed her.

Currently, the IMAlive chat service and hotline is available to people most hours of the day, but to become truly effective we need to become available every hour of every day. If successful, our IMAlive 24-7 Giving Challenge will make the chat service available every hour of every day through August, 2014!

You can donate, or fundraise. Several bloggers have already signed up to participate, including Frank Warren and the PostSecret Community; a team led by Bob LeDrew and Ann Marie ven den Hurk in memory of Jacob Weiskopf (Team Jacob); and Team Trey, and a group consisting of Olivier Blanchard, Margie Clayman and me who are fundraising in memory of our friend Trey Pennington. Join the effort by contacting Gloria Bell (gloriakbell @ gmail . com) or me (geoffliving @ geofflivingston . com).

Teams that participate can win an 11 inch MacBook Air by raising the most dollars (Frank Warren and I are disqualified from winning due to helping KBHC with this effort). In addition, one MacBook Air will be won by a randomly selected donor after the giving day. Finally, it is expected that their will be several matches offered by the Kristin Brooks Hope Center during the giving day.

In addition, donors will win awards for individual contributions of certain levels. Included are:

  • $25 Deck of Suicide Prevention Playing Cards
  • $50 KBHC Gift Pack (Deck of cards, UV Sunglasses, Stress Ball, Frisbee Flyer, Blue October Tee Shirt)
  • $100 Frank Warren Signed Galley Page, free eBook of Geoff Livingston’s novel Exodus
  • $500 Autographed Journey T-Shirt
  • $1000 Complete autographed Frank Warren book set

Individual teams may provide their own awards to donors.

Please join us, have fun, and save some lives. What do you think of suicide prevention or this fundraiser?

Photograph: IMALive’s Elena and Reese Butler accepting a GIve to the Max Day check with me and Frank Warren

1,886,434 Ways the Long Tail Beat Klout

Last Wednesday’s Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington netted $2,034,434, including 17,838 donations totaling $1,886,434. The online giving contest benefited 1200 nonprofits. As the general manager of the event, this kind of impact makes me profoundly grateful, and many thanks have already been sent to the donors, nonprofits and partners involved. Give to the Max Day also provided yet another example of how big social media names don’t necessarily translate into great social performance.

On the contrary, the majority of winners in Give to the Max Day Grand Awards were not the big nonprofit brands with sizable influencers locally. It was the little guys, the Little Lights Urban Ministries (Klout Score: 10) and For Love of Children, Inc. (Klout Score: 37) that won most donors and most donations, respectively.

If people were betting on popular nonprofit brands and influencers with big Klout scores to win the day, they would have lost a lot of money. While some participated and performed well, they didn’t take the grand prizes. In the end it was the long tail of small voices that drove the event’s leaderboards, and overall donation flow.

That’s not to say that big brands and influencers can’t succeed. As revealed in the PayPal Research paper, Effectiveness of Celebrity Spokespeople in Social Fundraisers, the secret formula for success in social media is not the most “influence” or size of account, rather it is engaged community, authenticity and a willingness to work. Any online brand can demonstrate that kind of investment and energy.

Frank Warren Book Signing

Two award winners were big influencers, and showed that kind of passion. The first was PostSecret‘s Frank Warren (Klout Score: 69), who won the Care2 Individual Fundraiser Award with his IMAlive fundraiser, which in turn triggered a third place finish for Most Donors for the Kristin Brooks Hope Center. Frank was very engaged in the weeks leading up to the event, asking questions about how to do well. Further, he is authentically passionate about this cause with a long history of fundraising and personal reasons to be engaged.

The second influential example is the fine performance of the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Though you couldn’t necessarily tell by a Klout Score of 49, the Corcoran is one of Washington’s premier institutions in the Arts Community. The Corcoran went all out with its ArtReach campaign, using a matching grant, emails and social media to invigorate its core. The result? A total of 438 donors and $55,189 in donations, good enough for third place in most dollars raised, and fourth place for most donors.

In the end, it’s not Klout or some other social media ranking that creates a success. It’s the passion and drive of the voices behind the effort.

Congratulations to all of the nonprofits who experimented, and learned more about online fundraising this past Wednesday (and the months leading up to it). Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington was a fun contest, and it’s an enjoyable exercise to break down what made a winning campaign. But the real winners in this day were you, the almost 18,000 citizens who supported you, and the region as a whole.