I’m officially a SeeYourImpact insider now–aren’t you jealous? If not, you should be, because it’s awesome here. I’m about to graduate from high school, but at my school we do a three-week “senior project” before we graduate. I did a mini-internship at SYI, working with the team on a smattering of stuff. To show you what I learned, come play the imagination game with me…
Picture it: A friend tells you her neighbor Sarah was laid off and is now unable to feed her 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter. Your friend has decided to make a meal donation schedule, and she asks you if you’d like to sign up to provide a few meals. Do you say yes? Chances are you do, and a few days later you’re popping a lasagna into the oven. The effects of your efforts are obvious: Sarah’s family won’t be hungry. Sure, you’re busy, but at least you’re not hungry. It’s the least you can do.
But what if your friend had said something different? Something like, “Did you know that nearly 1 in 5 Americans struggles with hunger?” (which is true, by the way), then asked you to donate to a local food bank? Would you have done that?
It’s probably not as likely, even though the same amount of money would provide more meals through the food bank than you made for Sarah’s family. There’s a huge gap between our instinct to help a person right in front of us versus someone unknown or far away.
SeeYourImpact is all about bridging that gap. Its site makes it easy and rewarding to be both a fundraiser, like your friend rallying your neighborhood, and a donor, like you making the meals. Except with SeeYourImpact, you don’t even have to preheat the oven! It’s ridiculously easy. I’ll say it again, just in case you missed it: ridiculously easy. You can literally change a life with one finger.
Working here for a scant three weeks, I’ve found that that the effort we, as donors or fundraisers, don’t have to put in is not deleted, but rather transferred. There are about a dozen lovely people here at SeeYourImpact who do all the work for us (not to mention the board and everyone in the partner organizations!). These people take charge of everything from coordinating with partner organizations and managing finances to developing the website and getting the word out.
You may be thinking, “Well, duh,” but it struck me how much effort it took just to launch a single fundraiser. When you’re the online lasagna-procurer, things are pretty easy. There’s some time and effort involved, but mostly just finger-wiggling. What surprised me is how much goes into convincing people like us to sign up to be the click-master. The team here creates easy, enticingly beautiful personal fundraising pages, forges charity partnerships around the world, provides an easy way to pay, communicates to us the possibility of creating a fundraiser, and sends carefully planned emails often enough to remind us of our possibly-forgotten good intentions (but doesn’t send so many that we start reflexively hitting the delete button). Plus about fifty other things.
SeeYourImpact is essentially giving us free stuff–an easier-than-lasagna opportunity to change a life and get the warm, fuzzy feeling of seeing the smiling face of the person we helped. Sure, we have to pay for the gift, but when you think of how much work went into creating that opportunity, we realize our money is the least we can give.
So here’s my message: Don’t throw away free stuff! Your friends don’t actually ask you to feed “Sarahs” that often. Most times you give, it feels like your money just disappeared, even though some part of you knows it’s going to good use. This is your free chance to feed a real Sarah, pay for Pooja’s education, or help José learn how to use a computer. Think of the world as your neighborhood, and their lives are yours to change!