Birthday Wish for 9th Ward Field of Dreams

This is the fourth in a series called Using Your Birthday for Good that kicked off Monday with Beth Kanter’s campaign for the Sharing Foundation in Cambodia and continued Tuesday with Matt Rosen’s campaign for Operation Gratitude and yesterday’s interview with Denise Wakeman and Kiva.

Today, I’m interviewing Meg Brogan. Meg’s passion for the nonprofit she ran her birthday campaign is definitely the strongest of any of the other interviews because she’s currently volunteering for 9th Ward Field of Dreams full-time! She’s also looking for work in the New Orleans area and I really want her to stay and hope she finds the right fit soon. She is passionate and engaging and it was fun to see her launch this campaign and see the results. I also have a soft spot for 9WFOD (as we’ll call it here) because it is New Orleans based and a really remarkable organization in the final stages of fundraising for a new field and track in the 9th Ward. You can learn more and (maybe even) make a donation HERE.

So here we go, an interview with Meg Brogan:

1) Tell me about your birthday and fundraising campaign. When was your birthday? Was it a milestone? What was your inspiration? What nonprofit did you partner with? Did you tell them in advance? What was your fundraising goal (if you had one) and did you reach it?

I partnered with 9th Ward Field of Dreams, a nonprofit organization here in New Orleans that I volunteer for full-time. The idea for my birthday fundraising campaign really came from the Cause It’s My Birthday Campaign. It was inspiring to see the outpouring of support shown from 7 cities toward 2 people to support 1 cause. 9WFOD set up our Facebook Fundraising page about 2 weeks before my birthday and I really wanted to kick things off right and inspire others to do the same for our cause.

My fundraising goal was $2,500 for my 25th birthday. I exceeded my goal, raising $2,980!

2) Did you use online tools? Did you have a birthday party in person? What was your way to connect with people and tell them about this?

My fundraising campaign was held completely online using 3 major tools. First off, I utilized the Causes Application on Facebook to launch my birthday campaign. This application allowed me to create my own page very simply so that my friends and family could easily donate and track my progress. I could also send messages to my Facebook friends and fans of the 9WFOD cause. I also used MailChimp to quickly and easily send emails to everyone in my personal network. My initial email announced the goal of my campaign, some basics about 9WFOD, and clearly stated how to donate. I sent subsequent emails briefly updating my contacts of my progress and urging others to donate. Lastly, I used Twitter to tap into another network and spread the word about my goal. Here, I posted links to my facebook page, progress updates, and thanked donors.

3) What have you done for past birthdays?

Past birthdays were usually celebrated with a night out on the town. Fun - but not nearly as rewarding as this birthday!

4) Would you do a fundraiser for your birthday again? Was it easier or harder than you thought it would be?

Absolutely! Parts of the campaign were easier than I thought it would be while other parts were more challenging. I really wanted to challenge myself so I set the bar high! This made the entire campaign even more fun and rewarding. The campaign took a fair amount of work to spread the word but nothing that couldn’t be managed in my free time. There were a lot of tools available that set me up for success.

5) What was the best part? Did you connect with someone you had lost contact with? Any one story you’d like to share?

Connecting with everyone was absolutely the best part. I received donations from everyone imaginable - old friends from high school, college, and work, my former teammates. I think this campaign really brought my involvement with 9WFOD full circle when my high school field hockey coach donated to the cause. She really launched my passion for field hockey and athletics, which opened so many doors for my future. The opportunities athletics gave me in life is why the mission of 9WFOD resonates so deeply with me.

6) What advice would you give to someone else who wanted to throw a fundraiser but didn’t know where to start?

Utilize the resources that are already out there! Get advice from friends and family that have already launched a birthday campaign. Use tools like facebook and twitter. Also, what really helped me what breaking down my goal into manageable pieces. I asked for $10 donations from my personal contacts. This allowed everyone to feel like donating was within their reach - they had no excuse to say no! I had to do a little more work to spread the word but it was fun to reach more people and give everyone the chance to chip in!

Tomorrow comes an interview with Les Gebhardt who fundraised for his birthday with Kiva (popular and GOOD choice)!

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