Mercy Corps: Offers Volunteers Creative Fundraising Options

I have been impressed with Mercy Corps’ humanitarian first-responder work over the years — especially their relief efforts in Hurricane Katrina in the US, Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, and the Sichuan earthquake in China. I was not surprised to see that they quickly entered the fray to help in Haiti.

Mercy Corps is a charity with a solid 30 year history of alleviating suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities and a 4 star efficiency from Charity Navigator.

What struck me as creative was that on January 13th Mercy Corp provided its volunteers with creative online fundraising tools to assist in their life saving efforts in Haiti. Here is a quote from their site:

You can make an immediate difference for Haiti’s families. We’re relying on the creative fundraising of generous individuals and groups of all ages to raise money for our ongoing relief efforts for survivors of Haiti’s recent earthquake…And our online fundraising tools let you turn any occasion into a Mercy Corps fundraiser.

We’ve made it easy for you to raise money to help families affected by this tragic disaster and spread the word about your efforts online. You can customize your personal fundraising page by posting photos, telling people about your event and tracking your fundraising goals.

Source: Mercy Corps Fundraising Page

I was also struck by the immediacy that Americans took to creating their own Fundraising Pages. This did a lot in to assuage my fear that the word would sit idly by as millions of Haitians suffered (see my last blog entry).

At the time of this posting at 3pm on January 14th, I have counted over 20 pages and the stories contained in each page were no less touching. Here is a list of the Top 5 Fundraisers with their reasons for taking action together with supporters’ commentary — as an example of the outpouring of generosity by the average American for the people of Haiti:

JeremyBarnicle’s Haiti Earthquake Response Fundraiser
Jeremy Barnicle is a seasoned 5 year veteran of Mercy Corps and its communications director, who has served in the relief efforts of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, humanitarian missions in Darfur and rebuilding war-torn Uganda and Somalia to name a few together with the current response in Haiti.

His fundraiser seems to be a natural extension of his relief work with Mercy Corps in Haiti.

Commentary:

The college age daughter of our good friend was in Saint Rock Haiti last week on a medical mission trip with the Saint Rock Haiti Foundation. I hope this helps a bit. -Malissa Kenney

Thank you for doing this Jeremy. I’ve been to Haiti twice. It was a tragic, sad place even before the earthquake. I cant imagine what it’s like there now. – Yale Popowich

To all my friends in Haiti, and the great work of Mercy Corps. – Zachary Krahmer

Thanks for all the great work that you do Jeremy. – Jayan Kalathil

Thanks for doing this Jeremy. Prayers to all in Haiti. – Orsolya Herbein

This is so good, Jeremy. – Elizabeth Bruckel

Appreciate that you are doing the work you do! – Spitzi Barnicle


Yale School of Management’s Haiti Response Fundraiser
Mercy Corps is led by CEO Neal Keny-Guyer, a 1982 graduate of the school and a member of the Yale SOM Board of Advisors and the Yale Corporation. Yale SOM’s Dean, Sharon Oster, created the fundraising page (started with $1,000 of her own money) in support of Mercy Corps’ proven history of helping disaster victims worldwide. The solidarity and generosity of support amongst members of the Yale Community for Haiti has been truly remarkable and heartwarming.

Commentary:

There are always hopes and helps. – Yong Wang

Sending thoughts and prayers. – Amy Wrzesniewski

Dante C. Alberi’s Haiti Earthquake Response Fundraiser
Dante Alberi had been planning to go to Haiti as a volunteer, but found that entry into Haiti was officially restricted to medical personnel and disaster relief teams in the wake of the earthquake. Despite that fact, he decided to go forward and created a fundraiser donating what would have been his plane ticket, program costs, expenses and other volunteering incidentals in the form of cash to Mercy Corps’ emergency relief effort.

Commentary:

Our family’s heart and prayers are with the Haitian people. Dante, thank you for your intrepid volunteerism and always reaching out to make a difference in the lives of those in need. We are all so proud of you!  – Jeniffer Guerrero

It gives me great hope that we are able to come together and help those in need, especially at such times of devastation. Dante – you are truly a testament to the human spirit. Thank you for showing the way toward rebuilding the lives of those impacted by this horrendous earthquake. God Bless You! – Kim Frederick

Dante, it’s really amazing that you are doing this. I know that you have always been interested in working on humanitarian efforts in Haiti even before this earthquake occurred. Don’t be discouraged as you are keeping hope alive. I applaud your initiative and selflessness.  – Dionne Toussaint

Max’s Haiti Earthquake Response Fundraiser
Max was born and raised in Haiti, and after learning of the catastrophic earthquake stepped up and created a fundraiser with Mercy Corp to deliver the much needed shelter, basic supplies (food, clean water) and medical assistance to the over 3 million Haitians directly affected.

Commentary:

Max, thank you for organizing this. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during these difficult times. – Courtney (and Dave) Mangus
Hello, Max I don’t know you personally, but your story touched me. I pray that all will be well with your family and community in Haiti. Thank you for creating this page – Gillian Grannum
Hey buddy, I am so sorry to hear about all the devastation in your country – you and your family will be with my thoughts and prayers. Cheers to you for helping in the recovery.- Chirayu Patel
Thank you for taking on the challenge of fundraising for the developing humanitarian crisis in Haiti, Max. Keep us updated on your family’s situation. – Elizabeth Clark
All the Best for this noble Initiative. – Mira Patel

Allison Savage-Cairns’s Challenge
Allison Savage-Cairn went a very creative route with her fundraiser for Haiti. She challenged her friends and family to donate an equal amount to Mercy Corps that they spent that day on something for themselves. She went onto to say:

“It doesn’t need to be much…maybe the amount you spent on your morning capuccino or the tank of gas you put in your car. I think we can get to $5,000. And to get this started, I purchased a gown today for an upcoming business conference’s black tie dinner for $488. And we’re off…”

The commentary in response to her request altruistic frugality was moving, interesting, and at times, comical (see the last entry about the gift card from Santa):

Amount I spent on new business cards to launch my new interior decorating business. – Georgina Martin

Great idea Allison, and thanks to Diane for the link on Facebook! – Martha Mcclure

I am donating today because I have a warm house, a fridge full of food, and I can wrap my arms around my loved ones. I wish the same were true of those in Haiti, and hope Mercy Corps can alleviate some of their suffering. – SuEllen Benson

Thursday: $240.00 for a renewal of my Tele Aid device in my car. -Allison Savage-Cairns

Cam Worland ~ This week’s allowance. – Shawn Worland

Grocery store today, 44,000 colones, about $77. – Jean Rogers

$7.00 from my gift card from Santa. – Sophia Cairns
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