In 2009, America gave $303 billion to charity – that’s a little more than ExxonMobile’s annual revenue. 75% of that ($220 billion) came from individuals of all ages – Even slackers in Gen X, like me, are giving!
2. Among America’s top donors we have the man who brought us the Giving Pledge. We all know Bill Gates. With a net worth of $54 billion, he gave $350 million through his foundation last year. And while that is not an insignificant contribution...
3. What about us? Why aren’t we getting any credit? Bill Gates can give away half his wealth and still be worth tens of billions of dollars. When you and I give, we feel it in our bank accounts. And when we can’t give, we are volunteering and advocating.
4. Take Rachel, for example, a 7 year-old from Maryland who probably doesn’t know what net worth even means. But let’s assume that by saving some of her weekly allowance and cash presents from grandma, she is worth $3,000. Not bad for a 7 year old.
5. One day, Rachel heard about the water crisis in India where women were walking 4 hours for water. She could not believe it. She went into her room and counted the steps to her bathroom faucet… 12 steps.
6. She went to her mom and asked her what she could do to help these women. Her mom had donated to CARE before so she suggested that they donate $50 to CARE, who does great work in India.
7. And a lot of people do that. They give $50 to CARE and other great organizations doing great work for people who need water. But Rachel is different (make a joke: that is why she is now a blue dot)
8. Rachel didn’t just want to give $50. She wanted to do a lot more and partner with a community and help them build exactly what they needed. So she went on to Citizen Effect, searched India and Water and found a well that needed to be built in Sanganguna Village
Rachel learned that the women in Sanganguna Village were walking 2-3 kilometers often 2-3 times a day for water… She thought again about her 12 steps and all the time she saved by having water so accessible and how this could help the people of Sanganguna
# Rachel marched into her principles office and said (and I quote), “I’m Rachel. I’m 7. I’m organizing Walk4 Water day to raise money for a well in India and I need your help.” And really, who can say no to that?
And then she sat down with her mom and dad and they emailed all their friends and family about the project, posted it on Facebook, sent some tweets and after it was all said and done, Rachel raised $3,700 - $1,000 over her goal
You remember that that well Rachel wanted to build… well, it became a reality. A 7 year old girl, just made a direct impact in the lives of people half way around the world simply by having the passion to help and desire to bring her friends and family together for a small but critical project.
And it turns out that people like Rachel are infectious. She does a project, and then a few people that gave to her project decide they want to do a project. And then a few donors to those people do a project so in the end….
We don’t just have Rachel’s Well in India. But we have solar lantern projects in jogad, a childcare center in Vera, a health clinic and a women’s center in Zambia, a classroom in Peru, a sanitation facility in Vietnam and a mentoring program in San Francisco.
That is what we call the Citizen effect. People like Rachel, connecting directly to a community in need to complete a project that helps them build a more self-reliant and sustainable future.
But what does Rachel have to do with Bill Gates? Well, alone, Bill Gates gave 0.65% of his net worth this year. But Rachel raised100% of what she’s worth by getting her school and friends involved in the experience, inspiring them to do their part in solving a critical global problem at the community level.
# If we harness the power of The Citizen Effect, we can get others involved in networked fundraising, and the collective fundraising power of Citizens will blow Bill Gates out of the water. People like Rachel are literally changing the face of philanthropy…
So it looks less like rich white dudes and more Carolyn, a small business owner here in DC, Neha, a high school student near Chicago, or Henry a lawyer in NY.
So, show of hands, who is feeling the Citizen Effect tonight? Alright, so let’s unleash the Citizen Effect here at IgniteDC. Take out your phones... And send this tweet:
# “I’m a Citizen Philanthropist. #LookOutBillGates, here comes the @CitizenEffect” Let’s get the word out to everyone who couldn’t make it out tonight and let’s get you started. Thank you.