As I pushed off the soft sandy ocean floor propelling myself toward the white foamy surface where I would search for my surf board, the thought popped into my head… “I wonder if we hit $100,000 yet”.
After hitting some personal issues a little over a week ago, I decided to take a last minute trip to Mexico’s South West Coast for some wave (and soul) searching to clear my head.
A friend and I found waves. Huge ones. We surfed ‘Pasquales’ for 3 days, and stayed in a hotel called ‘Pacos’ that had walls full of autographed pictures of every pro surfer you could imagine. This is where the greats stay. I felt like a solid surfer just walking in the lobby, but that feeling didn’t stay around for long. It ended about 7 minutes into our first session when I got absolutely rag-dolled just trying to paddle out past the break. The humblings kept coming, and coming. It was like I was that annoying penny you left in the dryer, getting smashed around with no rhythm or consistency. The only thing that was consistent was my getting punished by every wave, popping up gasping for air… and smiling from ear to ear. I was loving it. It took my mind off the personal stuff going on, and put it solely on my love for waves. Until I thought of another love of mine… changing the world through fundraising.
I had to wait another 2 days to answer my thought of hitting $100,000 or not because Pacos doesn’t have internet. But when it was answered, the answer was a huge yes. In late July, 25 people launched campaigns through our site www.pocketchangeheroes.com with hopes of each funding a school in Kenya for hundreds of kids. It has been one month since then, and the combined total just broke $100,000.
We had one guy from California hit $10,000 in 4 days. We had another from Australia hit it in 3 weeks. And we just had a 22 year old young man get the job done in just 23 days. HE is who I should be talking about right now instead of painting a clear picture of my horrific surfing abilities (oops – I forgot to mention that I put my knee right through the fibreglass on one of my more epic wipeouts). His name is Evan, and instead of me just rambling about what an amazing guy he is… I will let his answers to a few questions we asked him do it instead. Enter, Evan…
o What inspired you to run a campaign?
I was fortunately raised by parents who taught me to appreciate what I had and to always give back. It didn’t matter if it was my time (community service, volunteer work, etc) or my money (donations, tips, etc), all that mattered was that I was doing something. I think this value and appreciation for giving and making a difference was one of the main reasons that I was drawn to running a campaign.
o How did you first hear about Pocket Change Heroes?
?I first heard about PCH through Taylor Conroy and his TEDx talk. After watching his speech online, I immediately visited the 10in3 website and signed up for the mailing list. After waiting anxiously for a few months (maybe longer?) I received an email asking if I would like to be a part of the first 30 to run a campaign using the PCH platform. I jumped at the opportunity and the rest is history.
o What made you want to start your own PCH campaign?
The reason I chose to run a PCH campaign is two fold. The first reason was that I was intrigued at the idea of making a difference with my friends. This wasn’t about asking random people or businesses to join our team and raise money – it was about a small group of close friends that shared a common vision coming together to change the world. The PCH platform allowed me to do this and form a team of friends (that all personally know each other) that ultimately came together to raise $10,000 – and more specifically build a school. This leads to reason number two, which is what we were raising money for and what we were going to accomplish. From the beginning – I did not view this campaign as a fundraising effort that would simply raise money and magically solve a problem. Often times, it takes much more than money to solve a problem. What is special about this movement is that the money we raised will have a trickle down effect. The money will be used to build a school, which will then educate children, which then provides the children with the knowledge and opportunity to break free from a cycle of poverty that has likely plagued them and their families for generation. It is this intangible asset of knowledge (that can never be taken away from them) that will ultimately solve the problem.
o Did you feel intimidated by this challenge?
I was never intimidated by the challenge. I was confident from the start that this was something that could be accomplished with the right message and the right group of people. From the beginning it was never a question of if I would reach the $10,000 goal but it was a matter of when. I am happy to say that through the great work of the PCH team and the awesome friends on my team – the answer to the question of when was only 23 short days.
o What obstacles did you face in during your campaign?
?When I think about it – I think it’s fair to say that there were no real obstacles that I faced in running this campaign. That’s not to say I did not run into people who were not interested, people who were skeptical, or people who just flat out did not respond. Of course there were those people – and that is perfectly normal and understandable. I never viewed this as an obstacle; in my eyes it was all part of the journey. I think it’s important to be mindful and respectful that this is not for everyone. Everyone is different and that is okay. I made it a point to respect each person’s decision and never ever pressured or tried to guilt anyone into joining the team. For me, this campaign was about finding those friends that shared a similar vision and brining them together to make a difference.
o Did you and your team have fun while raising money for this great cause?
The entire campaign was enjoyable from start to finish. Everything from making the videos, to spreading the word and message, to watching the team grow. And it was exciting for everyone who was on board to see how a small group of friends could come together and make such a big difference.
o Would you recommend this campaign to one of your friends?
?To anyone who values giving back, making a difference, and changing the world – I would absolutely recommend this campaign. If your genuinely interested and committed to making a difference I think it’s important to avoid thinking that you are too small, too inexperienced, or too busy. The great thing about PCH is that is shows how literally anyone (regardless of age, job, income level, etc) can make a difference with the right attitude.
o How has this experience helped you grow personally?
?I am confident that this experience is just the beginning. This was my first “big” jump into this type of work but I am positive it will not be my last. I am not sure where it will lead me but I look forward to the days, months, and years ahead.
o What creative approach did you take to get others involved?
This is an interesting question and something I have discussed at length with both Taylor and Mike. I ran about 90% of this campaign from my iPhone. What I mean by that is that almost all of the contact I had with the team members and potential team members was done through email or texts through my phone. The only thing I used my laptop for was the initial set up, to upload the PCH banners to my Facebook, and to add team member’s pictures to my main website – that’s it. This again goes to show just how capable people are of making a difference in this world. As far as my strategy is was simple and straight forward. I sent out all campaign related info through email and I handled all of the follow up through texts. And throughout I was sure to personalize every email or text I sent. There were never any “mass texts” or “group emails” – everything was personalized and specific to the person I was speaking with. Other than that it was simple organization and follow up skills.
o How much money did you raise in total?
?I stopped once I reached the $9,902.72 mark which was when the school was fully funded.
o Is this something that you would consider doing again?
?See question 9.
Want to be an Evan?
We would love to change the world with you… www.pocketchangeheroes.com