Feb 25 2016
By Steven Olender
One of the most important concepts in creating a movement of donors and volunteers to work for the best possible outcome for children is that of social proof, the idea that seeing a person you trust perform an action lends credence and makes it easier for you to do the same. Knowing that a friend supports CASA, as a volunteer or a donor or just as a person who cares about kids, makes it easier to take the leap to getting involved. The act of providing social proof is another way that supporters donate. It's a donation of influence.
I think of my own journey with CASA. Five years ago, I had never heard of the organization when I had a conversation with the mother of one of my closest friends. She told me about how she had just started advocate training at CASA in Atlanta. I was not at a point where I could volunteer so I mostly put it out of my mind until months later when I had moved to Austin and saw that the Superhero Run was coming up. I had never been involved with CASA, but knowing someone I respected and trusted was involved gave me all the social proof I needed to come onboard. Over the next four years, I, in turn, donated my influence to get people I knew involved as donors and volunteers before eventually joining CASA's staff. It all came down to a single conversation, a social proof, a donation of influence.
Right now, CASA, like every other nonprofit in town, is gearing up for Amplify Austin on March 8-9th, our city's biggest showing of social proof. For twenty-four hours, Austinites will donate their influence along with their dollars for a huge show of collective giving. We will let our circles know which organizations we support and ask them to join us. And these donations of influence will bring millions of dollars to local organization. In order to raise those dollars, what Austin will truly be amplifying is voices of support.
At CASA of Travis County, we are betting that influence can do more than raise dollars. Advocating for kids in the child welfare system costs money and we are setting a goal to raise $40,000, but this year we are also trying something different. We know that amplifying voices of support can mean raising dollars, but it can also mean volunteers. More specifically, during Amplify Austin 2016, we are asking our supporters to donate their influence to get their colleagues and friends to make the leap to volunteer. We think that there is enough influence that we should be able to get 24 potential new volunteers in 24 hours.
The great thing about donating influence is that whatever their role, whatever their circumstances, every single person can do it. If you already donate, you can let your friends know on Facebook why you choose CASA and ask them to join you. If you are a volunteer, you can email ten friends and explain what volunteering means to you, just like my friend's mother did with me, and ask them to join you in volunteering or to support you with a donation. And even if you have no money to give, you can share on social media that you think CASA deserves your friends' support. Even if you don't have the time to volunteer, you can call your friend who is looking to make a difference and suggest they come to an info session on March 8th or 9th. With zero dollars and no time to volunteer, you still have something precious to donate, your influence.
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