Eight Thousand, Three Hundred and Thirty-Three Hundredths Reasons You’re Awesome

What a random number, right? Well, that’s the final total for #SMSG12!!! See?

Heh. The $0.33 comes from a time when I noticed the numbers – and thought charity: water displayed cents, so I donated $3.33 off the cuff to be cute. Et voilà.

I cannot thank you all enough for your generosity and support. So many people helped spread the word, with hundreds of retweets on twitter, numerous people who were willing to blog about it when I asked, or let me take over their blogs to spread the word. I know many of us gave more than we planned. A special shout out to Kindle Gal, and Romance Man who helped a lot. Joey W. Hill’s generous donation made me cry when I got the notification… and an anonymous donor whose giving almost made me faint.

I got a little discouraged at times, and extended Social Media for Social good so much longer than I ever expected to, and I promise you all. Never again. Promise. Never. But I want to say a very heartfelt thank you to everyone who was so positive about it, and encouraging.

And thanks to everyone in general for putting up with me. I totally understand the fear of people thinking you’re spammy, and the desperate need to make sure people who hadn’t heard about SMSG before do. (And yes, that happened.) So authors, you have my sympathy.

I can’t believe the results – I was going for a long shot with my goal of $10,000. I hoped it might happen – thought there might be a chance, but didn’t expect it. In fact, for a long time I thought we might not even make $5,000 in contributions. Near the end I amended my goal to $7,500, and look at how much more we went beyond that!

You all ROCK! <3

We brought one hundred and twenty seven people sustainable clean water! (Most likely – the numbers depend on the specific region, but $65/person is the average.) In 18 months we’ll be provided GPS coordinates and reports, and we can follow along the actual ground work to see how the project is going. Isn’t that amazing?

And a big thank you to all the people who offered prizes to help drive up comments and awareness. They are: R.E. Butler, Lauren Dane, Leslie Dicken, Cecilia Grant, Lynn Raye Harris, Kim in Hawaii, the International Heat authors et al, Samantha Hunter, Crystal Jordan, Yvonne Lindsey,  Sarah Mayberry, Erica Ridley, Sandra Schwab, Shiloh Walker. All winners have been drawn via the rafflecopter widget, and notified. If you’re curious, you can also check out the list of awesome donors here.

I’m so glad we’re done with this – and that there are so many amazing, generous, lovely, caring people in the Romance Community. You all did good!

… I’ll see you next year. ;)

#SMSG12 Challenges and Giveaways!

What am I talking about? First of all, SMSG = Social Media for Social Good; my charity:water fundraiser. The 12 stands for ’12… because it’s 2012 of course. :D

First of all, there are a few challenges. If 50 bloggers (or readers) donate, I’m going to increase my donation by $25, for a total of $325. I really hope we get this – and any amount counts. So if you give $1, that counts!

Next, Jax Cassidy said if 50 of her friends give, she’ll double her donation, for a grand total of $140! Awesome! (I asked her, and “her friends” is to be interpreted as “however I want.” … and I want it to be anyone who knows her, has met her, or ever heard of her. ;D

There are a few giveaways going on. (The “log in” is just your name and email – so I know who won.) Continue reading

Water Changes Everything

It’s my third annual Social Media for Social Good (SMSG) fundraising drive. Today is Make a Difference Day, and this is how I’m choosing to do it. Some of you might have heard of charity:water when Rachel Beckwith’s tragic story made the news. She was an amazing little nine year old, and you can read more of what happened here. I dare you not to cry.

I spent a lot of time researching reputable international charities, and I love that charity:water is so transparent. I think it’ll be fun to check what our little ALBTALBS drive does too.

Did you know that:

  • 100% of all public donations directly fund water projects, and they prove every dollar using photos and GPS coordinates on a map
  • 800 million people around the world don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water
  • That is one out of every nine people
  • More people die from lack of clean water and sanitation each year than are killed by all forms of violence, including war
  • 90% of the deaths that result from diarrheal disease occur in children under five
  • About every nineteen seconds a mother loses her child to a water related illness
  • In sub-Saharan Africa 16 million hours each day are spent by women collecting water. This takes time away from work, school, and family.
  • 10% of disease could be reduced with improved access to clean water, sanitation, hygiene education, and water resource management.
  • $1 invested in water becomes $4-12 dollars for the local economy
  • Communities choose a small group of people to oversee each completed charity: water project. Equal numbers of men and women are encouraged to be included. These Water Committees are often the first chance women have to take on elected leadership roles.
  • The WHO reports that over 3.6% of the global disease burden can be prevented simply by improving water supply, sanitation, and hygiene.
  • Feeding our world takes up to 90% of our freshwater withdrawals but many people in developing nations still don’t have access to enough water for irrigation.
  • Just $20 $65 can provide one person with a clean water project in his/her village

We can make a huge difference.

I know it’s difficult to give, but I’m asking everyone to do what they can. And if you can’t – help spread the word. This is a comment drive, so even just leaving a comment and having one friend do the same helps. Believe me – I know it’s hard out there. I know what it’s like to make well under the poverty rate. I still do. Which is why I’m doing something where everyone can get involved.

These people have already given:

Pledges:

  • I’m going to give $300 if we reach 1,000 comments.
  • Cecilia Grant will give $1 per comment up to 100 comments
  • The Romance Man will give $50 when we reach 250 comments will match my $300 if we get to 1,000 comments!!!
  • C2 will give $150 when we reach 500 comments
  • Farrah Rochon will give $10 for every 100 comments

You can see who all the wonderful, generous people who donated are on the campaign page. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Won’t you join us?

And in the spirit of friendly competition … I’m asking – challenging – 50 bloggers to donate. Even if it’s $1. I think we can do it. (In fact – I’d love to see more bloggers donate than authors. How’s that for competition? But a concrete goal of 50.)
And if privacy is a concern, you can donate anonymously. *coughs* Someone *coughs* already donated $50 to check that out. :)

Let’s do this!

*ETA: I have a specific campaign created for the romance community: http://mycharitywater.org/albtalbs if you’d like to donate. Also, if you’re donating, I would love to add you to the list, to let other people know (peer pressure! :D ) and to give you a shout out. Please feel free to email me with any questions, or to talk about whether or not you want your name/amount to be listed. Thank you!!!

Also, for clarification, my SMSG drives go on for a month. I figure that’s enough time for word to be spread and people to budget what they can to donate. For all of us in the states, it’s a tax deductible charitable donation! (For our international friends, I would look into that too.)

You can check out the numerous giveaways here. To enter, just use your comment url and you’re done!

(International!) Pay It Forward Day!

Hi friends!

I only just learned it’s International Pay It Forward Day. :) So… nothing hugely organized – but, I wanted to ask – is there anything I’m able to do for you?

I asked on twitter too.

If so – just let me know. I’ll do my best.

Did you know about it? Will you try to do anything? (I’m being lazy and staying in…)

Somewhat along those lines… National Make a Difference Day is coming up in the fall – and I always have a Social Media for Social Good fundraiser. I’m still trying to pick a charity. One that does something that matters, is a 501c3 (at least in the states), is well run, and ideally, international. If you’ve got suggestions I’d love to hear them.

Also – I know charities can send a lot of mail. Like a lot of solicitations. I’ve gotten so much mail from Save the Children, from last year and previous years. And other organizations. (I’m sorry about that.) I wanted to know then – if I started a collection on paypal or something – would you be more or less interested in donating? (That way you wouldn’t get the email/paper mail solicitations.) Paypal would take a slight fee, so it wouldn’t be a 100% donation – and all the other issues, but it would save you the junk mail.

Thoughts?