I want to tell you about something very important to me — and implore you to help. It’s been wonderful over the months and years to write for you, and to get to know those who follow the blog and put up with my compulsive pontificating. I know that you are good and compassionate people, people who care for what is true and good and beautiful. What I’m about to tell you about is a nonprofit that serves children — or will serve children in spectacular ways if we can launch it. It’s not simply a nonprofit for kids; it’s a nonprofit that will serve as a launching platform for dozens, perhaps hundreds of the most promising projects serving needy children here and around the world.
I’ve committed a number of hours every week to helping this nonprofit get off the ground. I told my father about it, and he’s become the Director of Operations. I really, really care about this — and I think it has revolutionary potential. I’m hoping that some of you will support this — and if someone out there has deep pockets, we could use some funding to achieve the potential of the idea.
What is it? I’ll explain it to you in three parts. FIRST, consider the power of social networks and new media.
- Power for gathering people: The number of active users on Facebook today is roughly equal to the total population of Europe. And Facebook is no longer the cutting edge. Twitter now sends 200 million messages per day – and while it took Facebook three years to reach 25 million users, it took Google+ a single month.
- Power for spreading information: When an earthquake struck Virginia last August, before a single minute had passed, 5500 Tweets per second were spreading the news. Since electronic signals travel faster through fiber optic cables than seismic waves travel through the earth, people in neighboring states heard about the earthquake on Twitter before they felt it rattling their homes. Or, to take another example: three and a half hours after the (correct) rumor started that Osama bin Laden had been killed, there were 1 million Tweets, 7000 blog posts and 7500 news stories on the subject.
- Power for forming relationships: Seventeen percent of American couples that married in 2010 had originally met through a dating website. Online dating sites in the United States received 593 million visits in the month of October 2011 alone.
- Power for changing the world: Social networks like Facebook and Twitter were credited with helping the Egyptian revolution, prompting one reporter to write: “Social media turned a nation upside down in a matter of days.”
I could continue giving you jaw-dropping statistics illustrating the power of new media. Google processes 100 billion searches per month; seventeen percent of American couples that married in 2010 met through a dating website. In last October alone, online dating sites received 593 million visits. There are over 2 billion video views on YouTube every day. You get the point. These are extraordinary tools, and we’re still learning how to use those tools for the improvement of the human condition.
SECOND, then, consider some of the most entrenched problems we face as residents of planet earth. These are just the slightest snapshots:
- Over 5000 children die every single day because they have no access to clean water?
- 70,000 babies are born with AIDS in South Africa every year?
- 7200 men purchase sex with a child every month – just in Atlanta, Georgia.
This is the whole point of iam2.org. Alone, it’s easy to despair at the scale of the challenges we face. Together, we can change the calculus of social transformation. The central concept of iam2.org is to join together as friends and partners to support some of the worthiest projects serving children in the United States and around the globe. If we were to rally thousands or even millions of people to give a small amount – $2, $5, $20 or $50 – on a regular basis, imagine what we could accomplish!
What we aim to accomplish is similar in some respects to causes.com, which has been moderately successful. But we’re an updated version that vets all its projects, serves children with every project, builds long-term relationships with the nonprofits that run them.
THIRD, let me explain how we utilize new media technologies to address enduring problems. (1) The team at iam2 will identify worthy projects providing for the basic needs of children and (2) subject the nonprofits behind those projects to a thorough vetting process. Then we’ll (3) host the projects at our website, where we’ll attract supporters and (4) give them the tools to spread their support exponentially outward to their networks of friends and connections. Once the project is up and running, we will (5) use the website to provide project updates and keep the supporters involved in the story of how their support is changing the world.
I’ll soon show you the designs for the webpages — they’re fantastic. As a member at iam2.org, you will have the power to suggest or vote on projects, to donate to projects, to follow the story of how those projects are faring, and to connect with other compassionate individuals to raise funds and rally support for the causes you most care about. None of your money will go to iam2.org; neither will it go to the nonprofit’s own overhead; every penny will go directly to the project named.
Right now, our greatest need is for general donations that will help us develop the website and team. Donating to iam2.org is a strategic investment in the future. Your donation will have an exponential impact. By donating to one website, you’re supporting the dozens or even hundreds of projects we will launch, and the thousands of children who will have food, water, medicine and protection through those projects.
So, would you please consider donating some of the money we need to launch? We need about $150,000 to get up and running. From there, we hope and expect to have corporate donors who will cover our ongoing costs. So this is a one-time raise. Your donations will be tax deductible.
If you can’t donate, please share this appeal with your friends (click the Share buttons below) or share our Facebook page. At our website now, you can view a video message from our founder, Dan Bowling. Bear in mind that the website now is a temporary place-holder, as we raise the funds to develop the site that we will use to support the projects that support needy children everywhere.
Social networks are not always used for the best of purposes. Over 200 million songs are downloaded illegally every day. At iam2.org, we want to put these powerful communications technologies to use on behalf of the neediest children in this country and around the world.
Let’s match our best technologies with our best intentions. Let’s take compassion viral. Please give and help me make this happen.