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The 12 for 12K Challenge—Changing the World Through Social Media

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It Begins With a Voice

There’s a saying that the smallest voices can make the loudest noise. I can’t recall who said it originally, but I know it’s always stuck with me.

It can cover so many things yet the meaning will always be the same – that even those who don’t think they would be heard, can be. It’s true, as well. Think about how a tiny mouse can scare a full-grown elephant, or an ant can carry up to 20 times its own body weight. Small things can make a difference.

In November 2008, I was thinking of the small ways that I could make a bigger difference. On my blog, there’s a page that shows which charities I support, and I wanted to try and do something more this year.

This is where the 12for12k Challenge came to fruition. The concept is simple:

  • 12 months
  • 12 charities
  • $12,000 per charity

The tagline for the project sums up the approach behind it: “changing the world through social media.” Why social media?

Traditional fund-raising has been hit hard by the economy. Admin costs and promotional pushes are costing funds that the charities just can’t afford, and many have to close their doors.

Social media offers an instant connection to supporters within our communities with virtually no overheads – all that’s required is time. Of course, this can be pretty expensive from a personal point of view – but isn’t the end result worth it?

From there, the project took shape pretty quickly. Some truly great people came onboard with their expertise and resources (all for free – we don’t take any admin costs) and 12for12k has grown into a pretty potent cause.

Awareness continues to grow, and last month we raised more than $15,000 to combat child hunger in the US thanks to a charity Tweet-a-Thon organized by Scott Stratten. Which brings us to April.

One of the key factors of 12for12k has always been making long-term change. Short-term donations help but it’s long-term change that is really needed. The Mom It Forward charity project is similar to 12for12k in that it’s all volunteer work, so you know the money is going where it’s needed.

Additionally, by offering the support network to empower women in rural Kenya to support themselves financially through micro-loans and business opportunities, it offers real change in the lives of those who need it. And that’s where the true success of our help comes in.

I know that I speak on behalf of the 12for12k partners and supporters that we’re excited to be working with Mom It Forward in April. There are some great initiatives happening to make it as fun as possible for everyone involved.

We’re but a small amount of people in the bigger picture of what goes on around us. But like the mouse and the ant, the smallest voices can make the loudest noise. Let’s make some real noise together in April.


Danny Brown is the owner of Press Release PR, a boutique agency combining traditional PR and marketing with social media. He provides consultancy services to clients in both the consumer and commercial markets, from small start-ups to Fortune 500 businesses.

He is also founder of the 12for12k Challenge, a unique charity project using social media to change the lives of millions in 2009.

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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.

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