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A new way of supporting Mercy Corps

November 4, 2009

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Floyd Mann/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Photo: Floyd Mann/Mercy Corps

In the past few weeks we've quietly been rolling out a new feature on MercyCorps.org: personal fundraising pages.

Personal fundraising pages allow Mercy Corps' supporters to set up their own pages on MercyCorps.org. Those pages can be customized with your own text or photos for any event or purpose. You can also set an optional goal for your fundraiser, and there are built-in tools that make it easy to share your fundraising page with your friends through Facebook, Twitter, or email.

Because I'm on the team that built them, I've been very excited about launching personal fundraising pages. The initial feedback we've received from donors and supporters shows me I have good reason to be excited.

* * *

In my leisure time I am an avid bread baker. A few years ago I started an online community for bread bakers called The Fresh Loaf. Community members -- aware of my connection to Mercy Corps -- had in the past expressed an interest in supporting us and did so, but at the time we didn't have a good mechanism to track money that came in from specific groups online and report those numbers back to them. So when it came time to beta test personal fundraising pages, approaching The Fresh Loaf community seemed like the natural thing for me to do.

I created a personal fundraising page -- you can view it here -- and set an initial goal of raising $1,000 for Mercy Corps, all the while fearful I was setting my expectations too high.

In less than 72 hours we met our goal. By request, I bumped the goal up higher and extended the trial. In about a week and with very little prodding, community members raised over $2,500. Most of the donations that came in were relatively small -- not much more than the price of a new DVD or hardcover book -- but when we bundled our resources together we were able to make a significant statement of support for Mercy Corps. The generosity of our community made all of us very proud. I hope other groups of friends, families, or online communities will have a similar experience.

* * *

The software developer in me must add the footnote that personal fundraising pages are new. We don't expect that we've anticipated all the different ways our supporters would like to use something like this or are aware of all of the types of events they'd like to hold. Please, contact us with your suggestions and new ideas. We hope that by working closely with our most enthusiastic supporters, we can make personal fundraising pages a powerful, useful and fun way to help us out.

Visit mercycorps.org/fundraising for instructions on how to start your very own personal fundraising page.