Time For The Sprint To The Finish

The Donor’s Choose Blogger’s Challenge ends today. The AVC community is in first place in the tech category with about $16,000 donated, ahead of TechCrunch by about $3300 as of 7am eastern. So we are rounding the last turn with a nice lead. It’s time to sprint for the finish. I am going to kick off the sprint with my final donation, another $200 (that makes $800 total for me). I have thoroughly enjoyed doing this again and I sure hope we win this thing. This morning I got an email from a reporter asking why I do the Donor’s Choose Bloggers Challenge. This is what I wrote back:

I did the Donors Choose Bloggers Challenge last year because Charles asked me to and it seemed like a good cause. As I got into it, I realized that it was way more than a good cause. It’s the future of philanthropy. We (our firm Union Square Ventures) did a “sessions event” last year called Hacking Philanthropy in which we discussed how to use the internet and marketplace models like Donors Choose and Kiva and others to radically reshape the world of doing good. Since then, I have been committed to doing everything I can do (within reason) to put the “rubber chicken circuit” out of business. What Obama has shown, and Dean before him, is that the Internet is the most powerful fundraising tool ever invented and we have to harness it to do more and do better. Donor’s Choose is showing the way and I’ve been incredibly inspired by them.

This year’s Blogger’s Challenge has been fun for me because the competition in the tech category (I can’t compete with Sarah at Tomato Nation so I don’t even try) has gotten stiffer with super popular blogs like TechCrunch and O’Reilly in the mix. And Kara Swisher’s AllThingsD has also been stiffer competition this year. But I think the AVC community is going to come out on top again because it’s a real community, not a publication. The people who come here care about the same stuff I care about and spend the effort to comment, discuss, and meet others. And we have taken on Donor’s Choose as a virtual “tip jar” and the results speak for themselves. As of this morning, we are at $16,000 from 68 different donors.  I am hoping we can raise another $2000 today and at least raise as much as we raised last year.

So please join me in the final sprint to the finish line and make a donation here. Thanks. I really appreciate it and I can assure you that the teachers and the kids do too.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. andyswan


  2. aarondelcohen

    Fred, did you guys publish anything out of that event? Between, these couple of paragraphs and Tim O’Reilly’s long Obama piece (in which he argues that restructuring government will be a big business opportunty) I think there are opportunities to do more organizing.I also think it ties in with Brad’s themes about USV investing in businesses (Meetup) that are making an impact on people’s lives. Interestingly, there are reall parallels between this argument and a lot of Geoff Immelt’s rhetoric at GE.

    1. andrewparker

      Find the main page for the event here: http://usv.jot.com/WikiHome…There’s a full transcript for the event linked from that page.

      1. aarondelcohen

        I’m not sure I have access to that. It’s asking for a login.

        1. andrewparker

          Hmm… I’m not sure what’s wrong. If you go to the root usv.jot.com then itwill ask you for a login (because we lock off that area of the wiki to thepublic), but if you go to the full url:http://usv.jot.com/WikiHome…everything should work fine and you should have read-only accesswithout a login. How far are you getting, and what URL are you hitting?I tried clearing my cookies/cache and going to that URL and it works…happy to continue helping you debug if you can provide some more info.Thanks,Andrew

          1. aarondelcohen

            I need to clear cache and try, but ran out of time this am. In the meantime I posted about the post and a broader look at Fred and Tim’s blogs this week. Probably should read that transcript at some point. My post is here. http://bit.ly/FredandTim

  3. Karen E

    I gave to Donors Choose through A VC this year because I am so inspired by the conversations that go on in this blog. Keep it up, smarties!

  4. kidmercury

    looks like fred is going to beat mikey and techcrunch on this one. while i find donating money to government training camps i mean public schools to be counterproductive, i am delighted to no end that fred beat mikey. frankly it doesnt even appear to be that close, this is a landslide victory. further confirmation that when we seek justice we should turn to the free market.fred you are probably too classy of a guy to brag about your victory, but i hope i am wrong on that one. it would be a lot of fun for your fans like me if you brag to mikey and call him out for being a weak, mccain-endorsing blogger with an even weaker community. blogging is like hip-hop, you gotta have your beefs. nas vs jay-z, eminem vs ja rule, the game vs 50, fred vs mikey. gotta give the haters the digital beatdown they deserve!!!though mikey is still #1 on the techmeme leaderboard. if gabe can be bribed to have that problem “taken care of” i am happy to contribute to a fund to ensure that. perhaps that can be the next fundraising activity for the AVC community? now that would be fun!

  5. Brett Tilford

    Congratulations on the lead and I applaud the innovation and generosity of this community. it really will be interesting to see how the internet impacts philanthropy in the years to come. I think part of the challenge has always been the hastle of writing checks and putting them in the mail… filling out some quick credit card information is so much faster and pain free.

  6. Jonathan Karon

    Excellent post Fred, and I’m really excited to see where the Bloggers’ Challenge goes in the future.Your comments to said reporter reminded me of a theme you wrote about a few months ago, and it brings up the issue of social capital. AVC (and you) has a LOT of social capital. When you make a comment about one of your portfolio companies or highlight a particular classroom that could really use a donation, the impact comes from the social capital you have built.There’s no doubt that the internet has certainly changed the dynamics of communication, fund raising, and charity. It’s gotten a lot cheaper and faster to spread a message, cultivate interest, and collect returns. But we are still creatures with finite attention, and information consumes attention. All of that social capital is a reflection of the trust people place in you (or anyone) to curate information. I can envision a future in which I am exposed to dozens of charity solicitations a day because everyone has figured out how to use the current tools. Then we’re back to email whitelists and hating all the junk.So there has to be a fundamental opportunity here to combine the soliciting and fundraising activities with trust networks and social capital. There’s a down side to the whole system — people who influence opinion have the power to decide which causes get attention. You have the social capital to get recommendations on pay as you go 3G in Europe without searching the web, and Peter Shankman has the social capital to demonstrate the power of Twitter spontaneously in meetings, but most of the world doesn’t.I have no doubt that we’ll solve this, just as we’ve “solved” the cost of communications, but “most popular” is still the de-facto sorting principle on much of the Internet. Maybe what I’m looking for is Long Tail Social Capital.

    1. fredwilson

      Great pointsI do get a lot of my ideas from people with less ³total social capital² buta ton of social capital with mePeople like Daryn, Vruz, ceonyc, and joelaz come to mind right now but thereare many othersTumblr is a great place to see that in action