May 4, 2011

How to create love online: To Mama with Love

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Honor your mom by supporting schools & women’s shelters abroad

Debra AskanaseWith Mother’s Day just around the corner, let’s give props to To Mama With Love, a collaborative online art project that honors moms across the globe and raises funds to invest in remarkable women who are transforming our world. An initiative of Epic Change, the folks behind Tweetsgiving, To Mama With Love is simply about creating and spreading love.

In the grassroots effort, which runs through Sunday — Mother’s Day — participants create socially shareable “heartspaces” that include words, videos, photos and investments in honor of mamas they love. The change-makers are four incredible women who have created schools and shelters for children who face poverty, illiteracy, and lack of opportunity in Nepal, Afghanistan, and Tanzania. Epic Change’s goal this year is to raise at least $65,000 to invest in Mama Lucy’s secondary school in Tanzania; Renu and Maggie’s schools in Kathmandu & Surkhet, Nepal, and Suraya’s women’s shelter in Afghanistan.

To Mama With Love is a social media fundraising campaign, and it has been designed carefully for success. Epic Change has taken every principle of great community organizing and integrated it into To Mama With Love. If you want to run a successful social media fundraising campaign, you can’t do better than to follow their lead. Here’s how:

6 tips for running a successful social media campaign

1. Cultivate a community of stakeholders. Stacey Monk, Epic Change’s founder, is a gardener. She has spent years planting seeds of love and cultivating a community of giving. She cultivates the “magic middle” of stakeholders, activists, and influencers who would genuinely care about a cause such as Epic Change’s.

2. Nurture leaders. This year, Epic Change created a private Facebook Group to discuss the campaign before launch. Stacey invited people into the group that she’s been cultivating for years (and who have shown interest in Epic Change). Then she nurtured them.

  • She asked people to introduce themselves within the group.
  • She asked for volunteers to help with tasks (proofing the press release, developing a Twitter list, inputting a database list, etc.).
  • She asked people to invite their friends into the group, and welcomed those friends as they joined.
  • Stacey created questions within the private group to bring out our expertise: a win-win for all.

3. Create campaigns with your stakeholders. Stacey consistently asked the group for help refining the campaign. She asked questions such as whether we send the blogger invitations during the weekend or not, should she redesign the home page in a certain way, and when should people tweet? She listened and followed the group’s consensus.

4. Be transparent and inclusive. Campaign documents are posted for all to view and comment upon. Questions are encouraged, and comments are invited.

5. Design commitment. Before joining the group (or upon joining), we were asked to commit to at least one “mission,” which we committed to through a form. Missions included: Invite five others to join the group, commit to writing a blog post, commit to donating money during the campaign, create a heartspace, send emails, and “nudge an influencer.” Stacey sends out mission reminders and asked us to post which missions we completed to the private Facebook Group.

6. Recognize those who are giving. The To Mama With Love website recognizes the bloggers, donors, and the volunteers who helped to plan the event very publicly. This is the very the community that Epic Change has spent the time cultivating.

One other thing: When I volunteered to help out with Epic Change’s Tweetsgiving 2010 campaign, Stacey Monk personally called me at home to thank me the night before the launch. In doing so, she instantly created a more personal, stronger offline connection out of our online connection, strengthening the connection.

Stacey has created a family you want to be part of, one that supports each other and offers collaboration and encouragement … en route to changing the world.

This is a cause I believe in tremendously, and it aligns with my vision of creating a just world of opportunity. My mother was one of the 1970s-era equal rights activists who marched, protested, fought for an equal rights constitutional amendment, attended a world conference on women, and put her money where her mouth was to fund  Emily’s List. I’m honoring my mother, Susan Silverman Askanase, in my heartspace.

To create your own heartspace and honor a mama you love, go to

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Debra Askanase works with nonprofits and businesses to create engagement strategies that move people to action. She is a social media strategist and partner in Socialbrite. Visit her profile page, see her Community Organizer 2.0 blog, follow her on Twitter, contact Debra by email or leave a comment.

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