Having answered these basic questions, the next steps are to create the "ask" or solicitation messaging, identify your prospects, and create your campaign materials.

Messaging: The Ask

The ask has two components - the why and the call to action.

In coming up with the why, I used Katya Andresen's advice "The key is to say why you care about a cause and then link to the cause. It can't be about the cause so much as the messenger." I described why my family supports the Sharing Foundation and what a dramatic impact going to college will have on Leng Sopharath's life. I also shared photographs of Leng Sopharath, her letters, and her story. The message was not focused on the Sharing Foundation's educational programs, although they were mentioned. The messaging was focused on our personal connection to the Leng Sopharath and how a college education could change her life.

The call to action is what you want people to do. Obviously, I wanted people to contribute money. But there were other ways people could contribute such as writing a blog post about the campaign, placing a copy of the widget on their blog or web site (see note below), forwarding the email or link to the campaign to friends, clicking on ads on the video, adding the story to Digg, etc. Katya Andresen's blog has some great advice about how to describe the call to action here.

I used these to ideas to develop my Campaign launch post for my Cambodia for Kids blog.

Prospects: Who

The next step was to develop a prospect list of people to solicit for this cause via email, my blog, and via other social networking communities where I have a strong presence. I decided NOT to send a blanket request to every single name and email address in all my personal, professional, and social networking contacts lists, but to identify those individuals with whom I had a relationship, whether it be face-to-face or virtually, and might be interested in the project. I systemmatically reviewed the contacts that I have made through different channels and through different social networking and other online communities where I had participated:

* LinkedIn
* MyBlogLog

Also, I did not include any social networking sites or online communities where I didn't already have a presence!

I flagged those individuals who:

  • Those I knew and had an existing face-to-face relationship with and who had an interest in poverty reduction through education, adoption, Cambodia, or just might contribute because of our relationship
* Those I knew "virtually" and had an existing online relationship with and who had an interest in poverty reduction through education, adoption, Cambodia, or just might contribute because of our relationship.

Since the campaign was from our entire family, my husband and I also reviewed our shared personal family contacts, our friends, and event parents of our childrens' friends, particularly those who also adopted children from Cambodia. My husband also identified a list of colleagues from his workplace.

I made a list of bloggers who write about widgets, nonprofit fundraising, Cambodia, poverty reduction through education, and key bloggers -- all of whom I know personally or virtually - to ask them to write about the campaign and include the widget in the post or on their sidebar. I also identified several key listservs and online communities that focus on Cambodia or adoption and where I've had a strong presence to post about the campaign.

I came up with total prospect list of approximately several hundred people.


Here's a brief description of the campaign materials that I assembled to distribute with my message to the campaign prospects. Some materials can be created automatically through your Chipin account, but others you will need to create yourself. For a personal fundraising campaign, don't worry about getting professionally created materials. Your materials should reflect your voice, your personal style, and above all be authentic.


The ChipIn widget gives you some different design options in terms of color and size. Obviously, you want to have the widget match the look and feel of your blog or web site. You want to think carefully about the placement of the widget and keep it very visible to people who visit your blog or web site while your campaign is in full swing. If you decide to place it in your side bar, put it up as high as possible so the visitors who visit your site through a browser will not miss seeing it. I placed my widget in a post with the campaign pitch, but used my blogging software to set it so it appeared as the first post or "above the fold" during the Campaign.

-Campaign Blog

If you don't have a blog, your ChipIn account lets you set up a special blog for your campaign. I set one up for my campaign. It offers a nice feature where contributors can leave a comment and those comments are streamed on the sidebar. I used this blog to gather all my campaign materials, messages, and status reports in one place. I found it useful to have one url to point to everything related to the campaign, particularly when leaving comments about the campaign in other people's blogs or in social networking sites.

-My Blog Posts

I blogged regularly about the campaign on my nonprofit technology blog, Beth's Blog, and on my Cambodia4Kids blog with slightly different angles tailored to each blog's audience and topic areas. I blogged the ask, the campaign updates, updates about Leng Sopharath, and thank you messages. Here's the examples:

Beth's Blog:
Invitation to Join Campaign Strategy Discussion
My Guest Post at Katya Andresen's Blog
Use of Video To Support Widget Fundraising
Summary of Advice from the Strategy Conversation
Post about Donor Documentation and Widget Fundraising
More About Using Video Ad Click Thru Revenue
We're Halfway To Goal Post
Thank You To Donor Posts
We have $100 to Go, Help Put Us Over the Top!
We Made Our Goal! Thank You! You Can Still Contribute!

Cambodia4kids Blog
Help Sponsor Leng Sopharath's College Education
Donor Thank You
Thank you for making our goal!

-Email messages

I created a series of email messages for my outlook contacts and social networking contacts. I also created a bunch of different subject headers. To make it efficient, I used cut and paste and mail merge as much as possible. In addition, I also wrote thank you messaging so I had it ready to go as soon as I received any contributions. You can see examples here.


I think it is really important to tell you story visually. Since our family has been corresponding with Leng Sopharath for over a year and we had exchanged letters and photos, I decided to scan them and put them in flickr so we had a complete history of our sponsorship support that went beyond simply giving a donation. Each flickr set included annotated photos and scanned copies of her handwritten letters. Each photo had a link to the ChipIn campaign page.

October, 2005
May, 2006
July, 2006
October, 2006


Like photos, I think video is an effective way to tell your story. Here I wanted to not only include Leng Sopharath's story, but our family's involvement with the campaign. And, although I felt a little like Shirley Temple's mother, I let my children be the messengers. I have basic video skills. I combined some home video, with stills and voice over and screen capture. Michael Hoffman reblogged my videos here with comments.

I distributed the videos on my channels at three different video YouTube, Blip.TV, and Revver for three different reasons.

I made four different videos during the campaign:

1. The Campaign Launch Video

I distributed the launch video on YouTube because there is a relatively active and large Cambodian/Khmer community on YouTube exchanging and discussing videos. My khmer cultural videos have received the largest number of hits out of all my videos. I also uploaded a version on Revver which earned $3.37 in advertising click thrus.

2. Campaign Progress Report

We've raised $650 towards our $750 goal as of November 28th.?? All we need is ten people to donate $10 to put us over the top!

I distributed the campaign progress report on Blip.TV. This video uses a template where I could change the section on amount raised, if needed.

3. How-To Copy the Widget Code

The post that accompanies this video can be found here:


I noticed that several bloggers had not included the widget in their post and when I asked them, I learned that they were not aware of how to easily cut and paste the javascript. So, I created a screencast showing how.

4. Thank You

At the end of the campaign, I created a thank you video with a screen shot of the donor's blogs or web sites.


1. The Non Profit version of ChipIn allows you to control or moderate which of your supporter's blogs or social networking sites your badge runs on.