In our inboxes, parish bulletins and after-Mass announcements. Through our friends, family and coworkers. You know the drill- an important cause needs money. You don't have money. That doesn't matter. Don’t you care about poor people? Don’t you care about the elderly, or the unborn? Don’t you care about spreading the Gospel? Talk about feelings of inadequacy…
Each of us knows of a gajillion great causes out there that desperately need support, especially in a tough and uncertain economy. None of us has the resources to fund those causes to the extent we wish we could.
What if, though, we were able to give in a way that a) we knew that the limited money we gave could make a measurable impact, and b) could unite us all in solidarity around a particular cause at the same time?
In October of 2011, I finally acted on an effort that had been rolling around in my head for a while, something that eventually came to be known in social media circles as #FundingFriday. The goal was to coordinate small gifts in a focused way in order for those of us with limited resources to give to specific causes on specific days in ways that might make a bigger difference than if we were to give alone. The basic operating criteria for #FundingFriday ended up going as follows:
1. Every Friday, based on a specific need that we know either because it’s in the news, or because it’s been privately brought to our attention, or because it’s something that isn’t getting the attention it rightly deserves, we’ll post the name of that need at www.mattandcolleenswaim.com, as well as on Twitter with the hashtag #FundingFriday, and a link to where people could donate online. It might be a struggling inner-city Catholic school, a homeless outreach, a crisis pregnancy center, even a foreign mission.
2. Participants would be encouraged to click the link and then make a donation, however small, to that cause. If it’s a tight pay period and someone could only give $5, or even $3, that would be fine. If it’s been a good pay period, and that person can give $25, $50 or more, that would be considered bonus. The point being, participants wouldn’t have to break the bank to make a solid impact on the organization if enough people participated.
3. Participants would then retweet the fact they’d given to their entire list of followers and encourage them to join in.
4. While a participant’s payment is processing, they’d be encouraged to pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be for the intentions of the organization.
Simple enough, right? Think about it- if just 100 people gave $5 each to an organization that can feed a child in Africa for $15 a year, that would make a serious impact. Many of the #FundingFriday recipients have small but essential budgetary needs- these aren’t big sexy causes that have the money to spend on ad campaigns. As a matter of fact, most of them have no advance notice that they’re about to be a part of #FundingFriday. I suppose that’s part of the #Fun!
So next time you’re tempted to supersize your value meal, or blow expendable income on a gourmet latte, or whatever you tend to spend on things that you know you don’t really need, consider putting that money back in your pocket, and saving it up for the next #FundingFriday. You never know what impact those few dollars may have.
To view a list of previous #FundingFriday causes, click here.