Saturday, April 17, 2010

Building the Dream of The MLK Jr. National Memorial, One Blogger at a Time

In one of the sessions I attended as part of the Association of Fundraising Professionals conference this week, nonprofit blogger Katya Andresen suggested that fundraisers should reach out more to bloggers.

I thought about this, and realized that it makes perfect sense - and how, as someone who has been blogging for nearly two years now (and who has been known to occasionally write about causes and issues I'm personally passionate about and touched by), I've never been approached by a nonprofit connected with those issues to help spread the word about their cause.

Until, ironically,Tuesday - while I was in Baltimore, attending and LiveTweeting Katya's session, Supersize My Online Savvy

That evening, I opened my email to find a note - complete with links galore, including that of a "Social Media News Release" from a representative with The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial.  It was a follow up to a previous email, which I admit I'd ignored, but with Katya's sage suggestions in mind, I took a look at. 

My first question was, why me? This is a potluck blog, one without a particular niche because I don't live my life exclusively in one realm. Although I love talking about the books I'm reading and giving my thoughts on them, I don't consider myself exclusively a book blogger ... but I consider myself part of that community. I'm fairly open about our family's journey with Boo, who has Asperger's Syndrome, so I consider myself one of the autism bloggers ... although, not exclusively. I'll write about my writing, about the recipes I've tried, about the funny (at least to me) things my kids say or things we do as a family. I'll stand on my soapbox and give you my two cents on sale about the day's issues and news. Any of these sorts of topics are fair game for that's day's post. 

So yeah ... why me? Perhaps it was my post about meeting civil rights activist Dabney Montgomery that might have caught the attention (or Google Alert) of the folks with The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project. Or my review of the children's book, My Brother Martin. Whatever it was, someone with the project clearly did their homework, and presented their case in a professional yet personal way with a compelling website and a courteous email (and an equally courteous follow up one). Again, I'm impressed by this and even though I don't have a huge readership, I'm happy to spread the word about this project, which has raised $106 million of the $120 million needed to build the dream of a national memorial to one of our country's greatest heroes.

As a family, this would certainly be something I would take my kids to see if we were visiting Washington D.C. My son Boo would be especially enthralled, given his passion (genetic from his father) for history and biography. The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is a worthy project - one with big ambitions, yes, but the whole reason it exists to begin with is because King himself had big dreams, no? - and if this is something of interest to you, I encourage you to check it out.  The site is impressive, with videos and virtual tours of what the memorial will look like, how kids can help through the Kids for King campaign, banners like the one to the left (it should click right into the MLK site, but doesn't - which is the fault of my computer's quirkiness, not the site itself).

But it is also the social media aspect of this that is intriguing to me, and that in of itself is worthy of nonprofit professionals to look at.  This is an organization that is doing many things right with social media - which savvy nonprofits cannot ignore and must master given today's always-connected society and with so many of people living our lives online.  And because the MLK Memorial folks have done so much right with this project, their credibility and worthiness is enhanced in my eyes as a supporter.

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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