"Count what is countable. Measure what is measureable. What is not measureable, make measureable." -- Galileo

Monday, June 21, 2010

Never Underestimate the Web

The unlikeliest charity is probably HeroRAT, a program that uses giant, bomb-sniffing rats in Africa to de-mine areas in Mozambique. These rats can also be trained to detect TB and are being used for that purpose in Tanzania.

They received an unexpected boost this weekend when Nicholas Kristof wrote a thoughtful NY Times column on honoring dads through supporting charity instead of commercialism. As a result their HeroRATs' program received 2,969 donations and $128,239. That far outstripped their previous 341 donations and exceeds the funding goal for the entire project. I'd be willing to bet the vast majority of those contributions came from the NYT online edition, not the dead-tree version.

Closer to home and more on-point for a Plone blog, Martin Aspeli had an unfortunate and catastrophic hardware failure. Based on a simple blog posting and making use of ChipIn for accepting donations, he was able to reach his target in just 4 hours and within 48 hours had hit 143%.  (BTW, the ChipIn account is active until July 18... hint, hint.)

It's these sorts of online efforts that are redefining how charitable giving is done and allowing a new level of personal involvement and increased efficiencies.  Just as the Sumatran tsunami* and Haitian earthquake revealed the power of the Web to mobilize people, we now see that its momentum continues and that the Plone community can rise to the occasion on any scale.

Kristof's piece also points out how a single bit of good online publicity can dramatically shift one's fortune. I urge everyone to participate in evangelizing Plone.  Take advantage of the Plone marketing site at Co-Activate and join the Evangelism section of the forum


* It was the fact that the newly redesigned OxFam site (done with Plone, of course) was able to process an unprecedented number of donations immediately after the disaster in the Indian Ocean basin that my team realized that Plone was stable and could  scale up to handle our largest enterprise requirements.  We haven't been disappointed.