by Lindsay Gallmann
I didn’t blow out 23 candles on a birthday cake this year. God had other plans.
And while I was busy transitioning from Liberia to America in May and starting graduate school in June, God was patiently digging a hole in my heart soon to be filled by…Facebook.
Here is how Facebook Causes helped me raise over $1,000 for Liberia Mission Inc. in just three days:
Saturday, June 25, two days before my 23rd birthday, life had finally slowed down, and I found myself missing the children of Liberia Mission deeply. Until that solemn moment, I had only missed them in passing – bragging about “the kids” and trying to emulate their light-heartedness when I remembered to. But now, their laughter was loud, their hugs warm, and the thought of these pierced my heart and lingered. I ached.
“Mission amnesia,” my boyfriend defined it over the phone one night.
“For true,” I thought to myself. But it wasn’t that I had forgotten about the Sianneh, Joseph, Darius and the beneficiaries, had I? No. Worse, I had sunk into my to-do lists and avoided the reality of letting go – a defense I know well.
My heart dropped to my stomach, where it remained all morning until a pesky email from Facebook’s Causes caught my attention.
“Lindsay, it’s not too late to donate your birthday!” I read on. “So far, over 140,000 people have created one (a Birthday Wish on Causes), and they’ve raised over 8 million dollars.”
After a little research, I was sold.
According to Causes, Wish is a “fun and social way to raise money for your favorite cause.” The social fundraising initiative allows Facebook users to create an online Wish for any legitimate charity. All donations are tax deductible and administered through Network for Good online donation site. And as of July 2, 2011, Causes Wish creators had raised nearly $12 million dollars combined.
Creating a Causes Birthday Wish took less than 30 minutes, and the instructions were simple. I chose Liberia Mission Inc. as my charity from a quick browse option, set a $100 goal, suggested a $10 donation amount, personalized the invitation and sent it to about 100 friends and family using Causes’ automatic email contact and Facebook Friend lists.
By Saturday night, four people donated online following Causes’ pre-formatted instructions provided on the invite. In less than 10 hours, Causes helped me raise $170 for Liberia Mission Inc. I was floored.
Sunday another handful donated to my Wish, raising the funds to $250. And by my birthday, Monday, June 27, a total of 16 people had donated to my Wish, raising $385.
Thanks to Deacon Eddie and Jennie Martin and the John and Susan Dewan Foundation, the $385 was automatically increased to approximately $1,000 (after service charges) as a part of LMI’s Triple Your Gift Challenge, which ends July 31.
Some contributors sealed their donations with an endearing message, some remained anonymous, and some were people were distant Facebook Friends who had simply seen the Wish on my Facebook homepage. Causes refers to such people as “recruits.”
Even after my birthday, another family friend, having heard of my Wish, promised a check in the mail.
The wildfire knowledge of my Birthday Wish for LMI is a testament to the power of online social networking. Causes’ new Wish option is a testament to the convenience and opportunity of online social philanthropy. And the $1,000 to Liberia Mission Inc? One girl’s birthday wish come true, times three.
And she didn’t blow out a single candle.
A note from the author:
For all you advanced Facebook-ers and Cause-joiners, create a Wish for your next birthday, holiday or any special occasion in honor of Liberia Mission Inc., and let God get to work! It’s fun, fast and efficient.
If you are a Facebook newbie or skeptic, learn to be extra private here. The time is now!
Also, please subscribe to the Liberia Mission Blog at www.liberiamissionblog.wordpress.com, for Mission updates, stories and occasionally, a message from THE KIDS.
Believe. Be Open. Be Love.