Earlier this year, I held what I thought was going to be a little photo contest. The response surprised me; hundreds of people sent in almost a thousand photos. People dressed up, stripped naked, and climbed onto rooftops. It was an eye opener for me. I realized that there were a lot of folks out there who *really* liked the book.
Ever since, I’ve been thinking about what sort of contest I’d like to run next. Fanart contest? Video contest? Something for the writers out there? What sort of prizes would people be interested in? Posters? Signed books? Sneak peeks of books to come?
But then I had a better idea.
Eventually, I will run the contests I mentioned above. There will be good times. We will revel in our shared geekery. Blogs will be writ. Prizes will be had.
But first, I’m hoping to direct some of this energy in a slightly different direction. If I’m going to hand out prizes, I’d like it to be for a good cause. Something I believe we all have in common….
I believe that deep down, people are good. I believe that most of us would go out of our way to take care of baby ducks.
My favorite charity is called Heifer International. They are a great force for good in the world, and I’d like to help them raise some money.
There are a lot of worthwhile charities out there. Important causes. Things I feel strongly about. But Heifer is my favorite. Here’s why.
Let’s say by some miracle I raised ten thousand dollars to help fight cancer, or Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s. While it would help the cause, it would just be a tiny drop in the bucket. Enough to help fund some lab’s research for a couple weeks.
But we don’t need to research a cure for hunger or poverty. We know how that works. Heifer doesn’t just hand out bags of rice, Heifer gives a family a goat and teaches them how to take care of it. Then that family has a continual source of milk for their children. They can sell the extra milk to make money. When the goat has babies, they give those babies to other members of their community, sharing the gift.
Heifer helps people become self-reliant. As someone who has just recently become self-reliant, I know what a nice feeling that is.
My Mom loved Heifer. Every Christmas I would donate enough money for a goat, then give it to her as a present. I remember the first year I did it. She opened the envelope where I had drawn a crude picture of a goat and a happy stick-figure child.
She knew what it meant right off the bat. “Oh! I love it!” she said. And she got a little weepy, because she loved nothing better than helping people who needed it. She had a heart as big as the sky.
This is why I love Heifer. If we raise a couple thousand dollars for them, it will make peoples’ lives better. A couple thousand dollars means little kids get milk to drink. It means families get sheep, which means wool for warm blankets and clothes. It means better wells, so moms with babies can have clean water to drink.
I think this is something we can all get behind, can’t we?
So here’s my plan, the bare bones version.
1. You will help by spreading the word, and making donations.
2. I will match all of the donations, dollar for dollar.
3. We both have a big warm fuzzy feeling in our chests that lets us know we’ve helped make the world a better place.
4. Finally, as a gesture of my appreciation, I will supply gifts for the people who participated: Signed books, maps, sneak peaks of book two, stuff like that.
This blog is to explain *why* I’m doing this. The details about *how* are over here on THIS BLOG. There are links to my Heifer Team page and details about the prizes. So hop on over there and check it out.