Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Power Of Photoshop

The Shining
Six years ago a close family friend broke the news that their 9-year-old daughter, Claire, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Hearing such devastating news about people that you care so deeply about immediately gives you a deep feeling of helplessness. Claire’s father signed up to be a shavee for St. Baldrick’s that year and my wife, daughter and I attended to show our support. Being a fan of all things Irish, I was taken over by the incredible energy of the night… the music, the kids, volunteers and of course, the shavees! I was so inspired that I signed up the following year myself. I've been a passionate supporter ever since. 

Anyone who has ever been tasked with fundraising knows it is sometimes difficult to draw interest. I decided that the best way to create a donor opportunity was via social media, mainly Facebook. The core of running an effective social media campaign is "sharing." A lot of sharing. A strategy developed from that idea. I knew that just publicly thanking the donor for their generosity via Facebook was not enough. How could I make that "Thank you" bigger and more noticeable to others in the process? I decided to combine my passion for helping families dealing with childhood cancer and my passion for graphic arts. 

Star Wars
I decided to begin offering the donors photoshopped images as a way to recognize people's generosity but also to draw attention to the cause in a light-hearted way. I then made sure to keep all these images in a special folder so that they could be seen collectively and inspire others to give. The reaction was immediate.  Friends and family tried to "out do" each other by coming up with the most humorous photo ideas.  Some were based on their kid's favorite movie, some based on a historical moment, some just plain bizarre!  But each was personal and made the donor want to share it with their own family and friends, which introduced many people to the efforts of the St. Baldrick's Foundation.   

I believe it's important to acknowledge the charitable nature of others but also make the participants. It becomes a chain reaction that motivates more generosity. St. Baldrick's is a constant reminder of the power and importance of our children. And I believe the silly nature of this particular way of raising money has become a nod to the spirit of fun found in every child. Although it feels like the love we have for our own children is the most powerful feeling in the world, we must remember it is not unique to us. It's that love that gives families strength during trying times. I believe that is what motivates our family most and why we are all so passionate about the St. Baldrick's Foundation. 

Finding a way to inject fun into your fundraising efforts not only increases your donations, but also encourages others to join the cause.  I have found that by just offering this one incentive, my donations have increased considerably as the years progress.  And I love every minute of it!



Here are samples from the last campaign



Flash Gordon


Goonies


Love Actually

Where the wild things are