The Donors Choose Threepeat Is Complete

We did it, for the third year in a row, this blog has won the tech blog category of the donors choose blogger challenge. Most importantly, we raised a total of $37,504 for teachers' projects in public schools. That number includes a $19,680 match from HP. Backing that out, this community contributed a total of $17,824 this year.

Here's our three year history:

Donors choose numbers

It is interesting to me that the total amount raised by this community has been relatively constant over the past three years but this year we really took up the level of participation.

That may be a result of the meetup I am doing this coming week on wednesday evening. The deal is anyone who gave to the donors choose campaign via my giving page is invited, irrespective of the size of the donation.

There are 115 people rsvp'd for the meetup which is almost equal to the increase in donors this year over last year. That tells me that the meetup strategy worked. I am looking forward to meeting all of you on wednesday evening.

I'd also like to point out that donors choose raised a total of $630,938 in the blogger/social media challenge. That number includes the $200,000 match from HP. Even without the match, Donors Choose was able to increase the giving from $270,000 to $430,000. Some of the big new categories were Twitter, led by Livia Stone's $18,422 and Craig Newmark's page which tallied $12,091.

But nobody can touch Sarah Bunting's Tomato Nation, which has dominated this whole campaign the past three years. This year, the Tomato Nation community pulled in $314,158. I believe Sarah will be at the meetup on wednesday. I'm dying to meet her as she has proven that blog communities can do amazing things.

In conclusion, I want to thank everyone for putting up with my non stop promoting of the donors choose bloggers challenge this month, and I especially want to thank everyone who contributed. It's a great cause and I'll bet that many of you will make additional donations when you see how amazing the follow up/thank you process is. Donors Choose is a fantastic public service and I'm really proud to be involved with it.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. daryn

    awesome rally, have a great meetup on wednesday!

  2. Jason

    i look forward to when i can contribute to the cause.guess what? soon anyone will be able to specify relevance;suredone prototype beta v0.1 http://motorcycleparts2u.commy only purpose is to build a company that develops several different internet the meantime Fred, i am humble for any of your time and wisdom.

  3. William Mougayar

    I look forward to the meetup on Wedn. I’ll be coming from Toronto and combined it with other business, but it was the impetus for the trip. Fred’s community building and real-time meeting are perhaps a sidekick benefit of the Donor’s program, but these are symbiotic and well done.I just wanted to know if Kid will be standing at the door, or he gets the evening off as bouncer? lol…:)

    1. fredwilson

      donors choose will be doing bouncer duty on weds night

  4. lawrence coburn

    There is a lot of feet on the street fund raising / activism here in San Francisco. For the most part, it bums me out how clueless they are about the online communities and tools around them that could greatly help their causes. They want me to digest a project, agree to contribute, and break out my check book all while standing on the street.Donor’s Choose is the nextgen version of this sort of activism. You read about the project (from among several), learn about the recipients, and even get to interact with the people – I was thanked twice for my donation by the teacher who was looking to raise money for a projector. Of course there is stuff like Twitter and FB integration.Good stuff. Have a great meetup!

  5. Jeff O'Hara

    Congrats, was glad to be a part of it. Sorry I won’t be able to make it to NY for the meetup 🙁

  6. awaldstein

    Fred–congrats to the entire community on this. I’m happy to be part of this and plan on stopping by on Wednesday.

  7. ShanaC

    Got class. Got lots of class. I actually will have to watch that night Startup.Com that night for class (we start the 90s in business history)

    1. Dave Pinsen is an entertaining documentary. I believe Fred met one of the principals in the company that was the subject of the film.

      1. fredwilson

        There’s a scene in that movie in the conference room of my prior firm, flatiron partners. Fortunately we saw through their flimsy business plan. We did fall for a few others though. It was a heady time. I learned a lot from it

        1. ShanaC

          It would be so cool to have “best of” notes before Thursday. Though that would totally piss my teacher off. Especially when I have to write papers.

  8. howardlindzon

    amazing. well done all

    1. fredwilson

      It is amazing howard. That’s a lot of money. I’m kind of stunned myself

  9. ShanaC

    Tomato Nation makes me want to buy tomatoes. Has to be said.As for your numbers, Well we know you seem to have a top off point of readers, the better question is what is going on with those readers via income and demographics that can push the number higher. Or get you more readers, or both. We just have to figure out why your numbers are your numbers. What did you do differently? What was externally differently?Further- I think actually doing these sorts of analyses would be helpful not only to donor’s choose, and also be very helpful to knowing who is reading the blog, why they choose to read or click on something, buy something, do something on the web, and what is the background causes. Really could reshape if we throw out normal assumptions and run test cases on ourselves. But that’s just me. I think your blog personally is a early warning sign of a lot of web things. Also a just me thing.All totally possible in my book. I believe in growth. Always. You have the number…

    1. ShanaC

      One caveat- I don’t think you get enough women on a day to day basis. Would still be interesting to see what would happen if you ran with all the blogs that participated the metrics of what caused people to donate to DonorsChoose in the end- it could be very telling about advertising on the Web.

      1. fredwilson

        You are right about women. They don’t gravitate to the topics I write about

        1. ShanaC

          There is a reasonyou never see me talking about shoes here, but that I do talk abou tthem with my female friends. Think how wierd that would be.I’m nerdy enough for the tech discussions. I like it for some reason. But I also love shoes. And I have a passion for fun stockings and bright nail polish, much to the chagrin of my friends in conservative jobs (and I refuse to change, I think it’s important to have personality when you dress).Here you see golf and I pass. It’s a real macho atmosphere. I expect that your office and a lot of tech places are similar. I’m never going to get that. I’m ok with that. A lot of women are not. We’re gendered. I was raised to respect the gender line. Guys need to be guyish. I’m not, and I don’t really want to be. Writing for a gender neutral audience is difficult, because it’s about how do you appeal across two sometimes very different mindsets, especially when they compete in very different worlds, and in very different ways. There are a bunch of articles floating around right now about “VC gender Gap” I suspect that some of it is that women think different about career goals and career planning, about how a work environment should be like, and what counts as competitive and successful; I’ve been tracking some of them. To get women to come here, you are going to have to come to heads to heads about why women choose certain professions, and what their concerns are that are holding them back, and what that does for the men in the same professions. it’s a really frightening discussion for everyone involve- since it implies massive social upheaval about the meaning of basic gender roles.In the interim: I’m going call out some really locker room like behavior. For those women who choose to come, you are very welcome here. I’ll be perfectly happy to have you in my clique of girly only things while the guys do the guy stuff that I will never fully understand.

    2. fredwilson

      I am going to do something soon to get at that demographic data in a fun way shanaYou’ll be distressted to know it involves hunch

      1. ShanaC

        I do not hate Hunch! If anything, I think Hunch is like crack, any could totally manipulate me back, and I find that scary o_O.

  10. Anonymous

    Perhaps you should reimburse all of the people that were scammed by your portfolio company Zynga with the money you raised

    1. kidmercury

      IMHO mikey makes some very good points and that is a great and much needed article, although i think the primary culprit is facebook. i view it as their responsibility to protect users against scams.

      1. ShanaC

        Alright- There are a bunch of reasons why this is happening as explained to me by users of Zynga games.Considering that right now I don’t have any relationship with them beyond pundit and applicant. I’ve got no fear.Smart users understand the internal game economy. They’re also the most monetizable when it comes to qactual purchases of anything. “We the nerds” and all.They also know, as explained to me here, and by actual USERS!!!! that it isn’t worth it. They know that playing for fuel in Farmville won’t get them along any faster in the game, really. Same with mafia wars. It passes the time. Real strategy is semi-abset, or absent enough that I can have all these games explained to me in 20 minutes flat. And that there are game guides floating around on the internet. (This is the joy of being a college student who is a size 0-4 in a Zynga shirt, people will actually explain you stuff if you asked politely and explain why)They also know the offers will not add any benefit in their lives they either cannot get elsewhere- or get cheaper. So wrong aim. I once asked one person if there was in game communication or teamwork- not fully, or not to an extent where it was clearly neccessary. This is to Zynga’s et all disadvantage as Viral Games- they are not played as groups, or clearly played as groups. Even if you are on a team, it is your facebook friends- in no way do the games force you to make contact with them in order to game strategic advantage, or to force a purchase. No one has to talk to each other to coordinate to do well if they so choose, including if they want to purchase.The only reason I mention this, because it was explictly mentioned to me, by users, that the reason that they think people buy stuff is Bling for themselves and for gifts. or to One up. Even though right now they are proof of concept of virtual goods, they have to figure out under what situations people will buy- and it has to be one that pushed by a community to get some greater reward. Until the games are very communally oriented, it will be very hard.@ Zynga if you find this, I really do believe in games. Push yourself hard. Be strong.

        1. kidmercury

          great comment, shana. while i think zynga is the most promising internet company i know of, i agree with your disses on their games not being communal enough. in my opinion, social networks need a mission statement, and games need to advance the mission statement. at least that is the framework i use.

      2. fredwilson

        But mikey, as you call him kid, doesn’t have all his facts straight. And you can tell who is feeding him if you read the post carefully

        1. kidmercury

          if you are ever up for elaborating or providing a rebuttal, that would be really cool — i think it’s a really important issue for those in the social gaming biz. and of course you know i would much rather pounce on mikey than give him credit.

        2. ShanaC

          I can’t, but I avoid techcruch unless I have to because it is a huge flog. It’s a gigantic advertisement. Still, as with all Mass media on the web that gets to a critical mass point- it obey’s my new law.It links at a rate of n^n rate, though it may be more now. He’s not only a Locus point of distrubution, where his work obey Reed’s Law, since he is considered a central point of (albeit bad) news, but also one where it obeys Sarnoff’s Law, since it is distrubtory news placed in a Linked environment.It moves extremely quickly if it is a hot spot. Fred, to quote Mcluhan “Cardinal Newman said of Napoleon, “He understood the Grammar of gunpowder.” Napoleon had paid some attention to other media as well, especially the semaphore telegraph that gave him great advantage over his enemies. He is on record for saying that “Three hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.””

    2. fredwilson

      Perhaps you should get your facts straight before you accuse anyone of scamming

  11. kidmercury

    well of course it is with great pride that i did not donate to perpetuating the public indoctrination system, but it is good to see the monetization potential of blog stars like fred and tomato nation. fred managed to raise 18k from 205 people, imagine if something real and cool was being sold — i think the monetization potential would be even greater.

    1. ShanaC

      Kid, you are a great bouncer. Never Forget That. 😉

    2. fredwilson

      Like what? I can’t imagine anything cooler than educating kids

      1. kidmercury

        i meant selling stuff, although now i wonder if you could raise more money through charity than through selling stuff? that’d be terrible, but i think it is quite for what’s cooler than educating kids, well, 9/11 truth, of course! besides, once kids are educated in that, they will have all the knowledge they need to fix the problems their ancestors handed them.

  12. Anu Nigam

    Minor typo, “17,824” should be “18,824” based on the spread sheet. You made $1K more!!Congrats!

    1. fredwilson


  13. Ethan Bauley

    I have to say that I’m pretty blown away by how much bigger the total $ raised was this year, especially when you exclude the HP contribution…And your note about increasing the # of participants is interesting, too…it seems like the Meetup incentive really drove that metric. Really cool idea for layering more game dynamics on top of the Challenge.Next year we should do something wacky with the DChoose API + the SMC!We’ll have to have a brainstorm on that one 😉

    1. fredwilson

      I’m happy to do that ethan. Thanks again for getting HP involved