“On June 12th 2011, I’m turning 9. I found out that millions of people don’t live to see their 5th birthday. And why? Because they didn’t have access to clean, safe water so I’m celebrating my birthday like never before. I’m asking from everyone I know to donate to my campaign instead of gifts for my birthday. Every penny of the money raised will go directly to fund freshwater projects in developing nations. Even better, every dollar is “proved” when the projects are complete, and photos and GPS coordinates are posted using Google Earth. My goal is to raise $300 by my birthday, June 12, 2011. Please consider helping me.”
This was the message Rachel Beckwith wrote on her Charity:Water campaign page. She was inspired to make a difference in third world countries by giving up all presents she would have received for her birthday and putting that money directly to people who needed it across the world. By the time her birthday had come around, she didn’t reach her goal but did end up raising $220.
A month later, Rachel was involved in a horrible 13 vehicle car accident in Seattle and was rushed to the hospital where she was put on life support. During her time in the hospital, her family decided to reopen Rachel’s donation page just as a remembrance of her but unfortunately, Rachel passed away that day. News caught wind of the story and then something remarkable happened. People started spreading Rachel’s inspiring story around and wanted to do whatever it took to make sure her story lived on. June 12, Rachel had raised $220, on August 7 the total number of donations specifically to Rachel’s campaign total $813,258 with over 20,000 people donating from not only all over Washington state but came in from France, Japan, Australia, and all over the entire world. Her fundraising so far will serve over 40,000 people with fresh water.
A tipping point had been hit for Rachel’s goal and the thing that did it was a story. There are a couple things we can take away from Rachel’s story that can we learn in honor of her and that can really spread her impact into the business world.
1. We are all people. People naturally want to connect their actions with something larger and more meaningful than themselves. Find the stories of what your true meaning is and leverage that to really showcase your mission and purpose. Think about the potential value you can bring to the world and share that.
2. Connectedness. One of the most powerful things on Rachel’s page is the ongoing list of donors and the comments they share. When you see the genuine conversations that are taking place around this central idea, you can’t help but be emotionally attached and passionate about helping out. If you create outlets for people to share their voices, this is how your ideas will spread. Note, it’s not about promoting your idea, it’s about promoting what your idea can do for the people.
3. Be Genuine. It is obvious to hear a genuine story over a story that is either “talked up” or told by people who aren’t passionate about it. To build tribes around ideas, genuine passion trumps all. Once people believe in you and your idea, they will do whatever it takes to make sure success is achieved.
Please go to Rachel’s page and let’s see if we can raise $1MIL in her campaigns last 15 days.