Chase American Giving Awards: What a Week!
December 6, 2012 By Jennifer Baljko
If you’ve been following Worldreader this week, you’ll know that we’ve pushing hard to win some of the $2 million that Chase Bank is offering via the American Giving Awards. (Of course, we’re aiming high and hope to win the $1 million grand prize, which would allow us to enter 20 new markets, works with hundreds of new schools and reach tens of thousands of children).
To sum up, the voting week from Nov. 27 to Dec. 4 was all of these things rolled up together: exhilarating, challenging, exhausting, chaotic, competitive and, yes, incredibly satisfying.
Likewise, it was a learning experience for us, and marked the first time Worldreader was placed in the middle of such an important fundraising event, going head-to-head with 24 other noteworthy organizations also doing incredible work in their respective areas.
To pull off the sheer amounts of votes needed, we had to rally our team members in Africa, Europe and the U.S.; mobilize our core community on three continents; connect with our partners; build our international fan via social media platforms, and set up voting kiosks on the ground at schools, universities and commercial centers in Barcelona, San Francisco, Ghana and Kenya. We did this while also attending an important industry conference on the West Coast and launching two new programs in Tanzania and Kenya (we’ll post more details and photos about those launches soon).
While we won’t know until this weekend who won the Giving Awards’ five main prizes ranging from $1 million to $125,000, what has been accomplished during these seven intense days of “Books for all” awareness-building is nothing short of amazing. Here’s what the momentum snowballed into:
- Votes, tweets and support from Bill Gates and Jeff Raikes, two of the world’s most sophisticated social entrepreneurs.
- A post on Amazon Kindle’s Facebook page, which led to 6,200 likes.
- Famous authors, including John Grisham, Margaret Atwood, E L James and many others, gave Worldreader a thumbs up and spread the word to their communities.
- Numerous partners, including biNu, Easypromos, eDreams, E Ink, Kopo Kopo, M-Edge, Penguin and Random House, to name a few, urged their fans to vote for us.
- Other organizations like the New York Public Library, I Love Being Black and Room to Read got the message out about empowering a generation with knowledge.
- Our own Facebook and Twitter feeds were on fire with hundreds of shares, retweets and personal shout-outs from so many people from every corner of the globe.
Even as we sit and wait, with fingers crossed, for Saturday’s Giving Awards’ announcement, we’re humbled by the worldwide support, outreach and help shown this week. THANK YOU EVERYONE for stepping up and propelling Worldreader leaps and bounds ahead!
If nothing else, this week has proved that impossible is a just a word in the dictionary, and not one spoken in our community.
Winners will be announced on NBC this Sat., Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. EST.