These last few days I’ve been pondering self-organizing action, virtual volunteers and word of mouth marketing. This line of thought had me re-visiting an idea I had about a blogger’s opportunity to raise funds for their cause of choice. Many volunteers have the aid of on-line donation portals, such as Kintera, where they can direct their friends, family members and associates to make donations without actually having to handle the money. In fact, they don’t even need to meet the prospective donor face to face.
As a fund-raising volunteer my general SOP is to contact my friends, my family members and often my co-workers and ask them to donate to the ACS. There are other ways to raise funds, but I’d guess that most people use this method for at least part of their fund-raising efforts. Generally this method is limited in scope to a person’s first or second degree associates, people they know directly or know through someone else.
Bloggers, however, can have a much wider range of influence. Here’s a hypothetical scenario. Let’s say that I post a link to my Relay fund-raising site, which is hosted by the ACS and Kintera. The link will be in a prominent place where readers will see it every time they view my blog. In addition, I will mention the fundraiser and ask for donations about once a week. I could conceivably have complete strangers make donations under my name. In addition, I could ask my blogger friends to add the same link to their site and help promote the fund-raising effort. If they are really good friends, they would ask their associates to do the same. Remember the Breck commercial in the 80’s?
Taking this a step further, a blogger could set up a completely virtual team that could participate in either a real world Relay or the one in Second Life. The team captain would recruit fellow bloggers to raise funds using their blogs as their primary communication point. Of course, they’d still contact their off-line friends via email, etc.
I plan on testing the first part of my theory during our current Relay season. Maybe next year I could think of having the virtual team. It will be interesting to see what happens if I have people commenting that they made a donation. Given the power of social influence, others may be more likely to donate if they see another reader doing so.