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I Gave $10 to David Armano to Help Daniela and Now I Regret It

The #1 Thing You Need to Know From This Post:
Raising money for someone’s private benefit does not improve the social good; it just proves we are all selfishly altruistic.

The More Detailed Explanation:
Although I have never met David Armano or his friend, Daniela, I gave $10 this week to help him help her. It turns out I wasn’t alone. Over 500 people pooled about $16,000 in a matter of days, with most of it in the first 24 hours. Without a doubt, that’s a very effective fund drive.

Didn’t hear about this yet? Here’s the short and sweet.
Daniela is from Romania and has three kids, the youngest with Down’s Syndrome. According to Armano, “Daniela is divorcing her spouse after years of abuse. In recent years her mortgage went unpaid and she’s lost her house.” Since I have no firsthand knowledge, you’ll need to take it for what it’s worth.

Armano and his family have taken Daniela and her family into their home. This week, he decided to leverage his social media network to raise money to get them into their own apartment and on their feet again. For more details of the drive, Scott Drummond gave an excellent recap in the second half of his post, while David Griner analyzed why it worked so well from a fundraising perspective.

What’s My Opinion Worth to You?
Simple answer: that’s for you to decide. The majority of my career has been in the non-profit fundraising arena working with individuals to give their money to worthy causes. I cut my teeth during a $770+ million capital campaign at the University of Nebraska Foundation, I turned a paper organization into a full-fledged fundraising enterprise, and I oversaw multiple capital campaigns as the head of a fundraising consultancy. After partnering with MediaSauce to create digital fundraising solutions, I joined the team to help transform how non-profits and for-profits create social good.

People are Selfishly Altruistic
Humans are still human. Everyone is selfishly altruistic. While our neocortex wants us to believe we give for higher purposes, we actually give to meet our own personal needs. Our reptillian brain still drives our decisions. In the end, we give because it makes us feel good, which isn’t a bad thing.

I Gave My $10 For Two Reasons 

  1. You had to be heartless if their story didn’t move you. I wanted to feel like I was the knight in shining armor saving the damsel. Wisely, Armano put a cash register right next to the tissue box. It was like trying to hold on to teflon-coated dollar bills.
  2. The proposition was to raise $5,000 (enough to get Daniela into a new apartment) and they were still about $600 away from the goal. This was my chance to show how social media can create social good and advance the digital revolution.
And, We All Celebrated!
Many people, including me, jumped with joy when the $5,000 goal was reached. Comments on Armano’s blog post came streaming in, Twitter was ablaze with “did you hear what Armano did”, blog posts were written by various people, news organizations picked up the story, and Armano shot a video and wrote a follow-up blog post thanking everyone.

But Then It Didn’t Stop
As I watched the donor meter zoom past 200% of goal and then 300%, something inside me compelled me to question what just happened. In researching this post, I found out that I’m not alone. Just scroll through a Twitter search for “#daniela” or read comments on other blogs.

Like I said, I don’t know Armano or Daniela. I don’t know the circumstances of her divorce or losing her house. However, I do know David Armano has staked his reputation on this. He has plunked his entire social capital on the table as collateral. So that’s not why I regret giving money.

Here’s Why I Regret It the Most

Every dollar raised doesn’t fix the root of the social problems that led to Daniel’s situation.  It all goes to privately benefit one family.

Here’s Other Reasons Why

  • Once the $5,000 threshold was reached, it was time to close the cash register for Daniela and provide links to charitable organizations that can address the roots of Daniela’s problems;  
  • The family has been showered with toys and gifts, including a Nintendo care package. These don’t solve the main crisis – getting shelter;
  • Whether or not we admit it, a major motivation for giving was to prove the worth of social media;
  • We will never have a reliable accounting where our money went; and
  • We will never truly know what led to Daniela’s circumstances.

Lessons Learned

  1. Nothing’s fundamentally new – a person with social clout can compel and inspire others to give money to a socially acceptable cause. Armano and others, like Gary Vaynerchuk and Beth Kanter, have shown this applies to the digital space, too.
  2. For the biggest impact, I will give my time, money, and energy toward causes that solve root problems. I want to create social good.
  3. Conversely, I will stay away from drives that create a disproportionate amount of private benefit, unless there is no other option. 
Enough of My Thoughts, What Do You Think?
Did Armano break the social contract he made? Have we collectively done Daniela and her family a disservice? Should all the money above $5,000 go to charitable organizations with sustainable programs impacting the root social problems?

Find Me on Twitter
@scottyhendo

Related Posts:
Helping Our Neighbors: Further Thoughts on the Armano Family’s Act of Charity
The Other Side of Charity: After the Money is Raised, Who Does the Heavy Lifting?

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46 Responses to “I Gave $10 to David Armano to Help Daniela and Now I Regret It”

  1. David Armano Says:

    Scott,

    I respect your opinion and look forward to our phonecall.

  2. Karl Long Says:

    In some ways I shared your sentiment and when the fund itself had gone way beyond the original 5K target I messaged David (@armano). I suggested that if they really blow the doors off their target maybe they should think about how to benefit a broader segment of people. Having thought about it though even 15K is a drop in the bucket when it comes to really helping people in need.

    The broader question for me is how can David take this successful experiment, and spawn it into something more interesting. David clearly has a lot of people paying attention and willing to take action for him, so what can he do with that equity? I suggest that all of us with any following online can apply ourselves to promoting worthy goals, and that applies also to profit making goals as well.

    As philosopher Stan Lee once said “with great power comes great responsibility”

  3. Maggie Says:

    So you helped one family. So maybe they got to buy extra things, even received toys. So maybe they received $16 000 instead of $5 000. What’s $10 to you? It’s a Starbucks and a sandwich. So what if this family received a windfall of $11 000 more than they had hoped for? If they did receive it, what a wonderful experience of abundance and universal love they shared! If it was a hoax, it certainly can’t be perpetrated again in this way by the same person. It also will make it more difficult for those who are in real need in the future to make the same attempt. That is a real shame.

    Why does all of this suddenly translate into you giving only to organizations that “solve” root problems? What’s more “root” than one-to-one giving? You feel less vulnerable making donations that are impersonal? You feel less vulnerable giving to organizations that depersonalize through bureaucracy?

    None of your points seem logically deduced – at least in how you describe them. You come across as someone who thinks he’s been made a fool of, who regrets he’s reacted emotionally, and now classifies emotions as a “bad” thing.

    So what if giving makes one feel good? Feeling good doesn’t make giving a bad thing. Sex feels good, too. Is that bad? Is group sex better than one-to-one sex? Based on your reasoning, I guess so.

    This seems to me as if misguided religious or cultural conditioning is at the root of your thinking.

    When someone’s in need, there’s no more powerful effect than a helping hand from another individual. If you don’t know that yet, I hope you never have occasion to experience it.

  4. Scott Henderson Says:

    @Armano – thanks for reaching out
    @Karllong – I agree, I think everyone with a community needs to consider the greater impact they are making

    @Maggie – I have been in similar financial circumstances and was fortunate enough to have the kindness of others to get me through it. Their generosity moved me greatly, as I believe it has moved Daniela and Armano.

    Using social media for social good is a very important topic. We need to encourage ourselves and others to give more to those in need, whether specific people or for the root causes of societal problems.

    I’m not asking for a refund from David. Instead, I’m asking us to discuss what happened and see it from a different perspective than what has already been shared.

    My post took 4 days to write after much discussion, deliberation, and contemplation, because I knew the tempest it might stir. In the end, I hope we can have a thoughtful discussion and come to better understandings of how to use our connections for the greatest good.

    @scottyhendo

  5. Simon T Small Says:

    Scott,

    I agree, there is more that could be done, but maybe its too complicated to explain in a blog post or too big a problem for my tiny donation to make a difference, who knows…?

    I think this particular case is unique, as its a first, and many people, like you and I, were into it because of the experiment. However, its still a great case study and platform to learn from.

    At the end of the day, David created a good outcome, i.e. dollars to a person in need. Maybe there should be some accountability over the next few months on how the family tracks.

    All in all, I don’t think its worth getting worked up about, he generated a good result, and if it were done differently it might not have worked at all.

  6. Lisa Trosien Says:

    I never think that ‘doing good’ is a bad thing. And I have yet to regret any money that I have ever donated to a cause. I give it careful consideration and I consider the source. David Armano’s request met my criteria.

    I did, however, feel that his request was slightly flawed due to a lack of knowledge in the rental housing industry. I realized this as I am an expert in multifamily housing. However, instead of withholding money or screaming/tweeting that a family of four would find it very difficult to find a one bedroom apartment (as David had originally said was the goal), I reached out through Twitter to get the Armano family and Daniela on track.

    Having had a couple of conversations with the Armano’s, I offered my assistance and hopefully helped somewhat with their search. And while others may complain that the money raised was ‘excessive’ I can tell you sincerely that the money raised will probably just barely cover rent and utilities for that family for one year. This isn’t East Overshoe, Montana or some other rural area where even the most basic housing is cheap. This is suburban Chicago where safe, decent housing is *expensive*. And no, I don’t think she should relocate to a cheaper area, as she cleary has a network built where she is. I’ve got kids of my own; neighorhood support systems are crucial to working families.

    If I were to fault David Armano for anything, it’s that he didn’t do his homework. Had he had the knowledge that I have (after 20+ years in the multifamily industry), he’d have known to ask for 15K to start off. But I’ll bet if he did, he wouldn’t have gotten it, as some folks would have thought it sounded excessive.

    This reminds me of years ago when I chaired a board of directors for a homeless shelter for families. I wrote a request to receive funds to purchase a washer and dryer. We were denied because I requested enough money for a *Whirlpool* washer and dryer. The group told me that it was hard for them to justify a Whirlpool set when some of their committee members didn’t have sets that nice. We had requested the highest rated brand for commercial use as we didn’t want excessive repair costs. Not because we wanted a ‘signature brand’.

    I had no agenda at that time, just as the Armano family has no agenda. We all just want to help. And it’s not David’s fault that he raised the right amount of money. I’m just thankful that he did.

  7. David Shelleny Says:

    Scott:

    I think you are wrong. This wasn’t an experiment, this wasn’t a test to see how popular David Armano is, this wasn’t a ploy to try and bilk people out of more money than a pre-set original goal, it was to help out someone who needed it.

    What we found out is that there are a hell of a lot of people out there that felt the same way I did, which was “what can I do to help?” We should be thanking David for what he did, not critiquing the way he did it.

    Plus, I think you glossed over what David did before we all knew about Daniela and her family, he took the family into his own home! How many of us would do that?

    The beauty of what happened is that people stepped up and gave from their hearts. They didn’t think about making sure the giving stopped at $5000, they (like me) wanted to blow the doors off the goal, for this one family. Will the money solve the domestic violence issue in our country, no, but it can buy groceries and pay rent! Most of all, it can get a family that needs it a fresh start.

    As far as putting his reputation on the line, do you really think David was concerned about that when he did this? He was thinking about the one thing that is the cornerstone of social media, being social, and HELPING someone!

    I don’t think you can put what David did in a box like you are trying to do. I applaud him for it, and we should all try to do the same.

  8. Scott Henderson Says:

    @Lisa Trosien – thanks for your insights on the true costs

    @David Shelleny – I’m confused. Where did I say this was an experiment to see how popular David Armano was?

    He does deserve to be thanked and praised, which is why I did. (See my comment on his blog.) But, don’t kid yourself that he didn’t consider the possible impact on his reputation. Anybody who has built up the standing he has gives great consideration to their public requests and causes.

    Yes, the beauty is that people stepped up and gave from their hearts. Humans are still humans. Despite the bad press we give ourselves, we are pretty special creatures.

    However, we need to consider the balance between personal benefit and social good. The internet gives individuals the ability to do what formerly took large scale organizations. As we continue to shift back to community-based interaction (as opposed to broadcast type interactions), we will continue to see more micro-fundraising initiatives that yield great results depending upon the person leading them and the cause they benefit.

  9. David Shelleny Says:

    You mentioned that David “plunked his entire social capital on the table.” The point I was trying to make is that David was not thinking social collateral at all, just helping others.

  10. Jaculynn Peterson Says:

    Hi Scott,

    You have a great deal of compassion AND courage.

    Thanks for saying. Good point.

    Surprised others aren’t stepping up. At one point I did see @PeterKim ask about teaching Daniela to fish.

    I, too, wondered about what we are doing to remedy to root of this issue. We have millions of people on the streets and in tents every night. Hundreds of thousands of children go to bed hungry every night.

    This type of feel-good, fluffy charity (which is a big part of life here) reminds me of a feel-good, fluffy marketing plan, which is primarily tactical, focused on point solutions instead of an end-to-end solution.

    When I think about the collective power of folks on the Social Web, I can only imagine what global changes could occur for the benefit of ALL humankind.

    Not here to downplay the beauty and outright elegance of the passionate and generous human spirit displayed with Daniela’s bailout. Not here to dis @Armano’s compassionate undertaking and gargantuan heart. I am happy for Daniela and her family.

    But the root of the problem still exists. And it always will. Until we pool our social web power and global pocketbooks.

    I think our sensitivities to our ongoing ugly economic climate are starting to pierce the veil of social web goodness now.

    Before folks decide to ride me hard into the dirt for my comments, please know that I am intimately familiar with Daniela’s situation.

    And I still maintain that Scott’s post is most compassionate.

    I cannot find any fault with everyone opening their hearts and pockets for Daniela. They are helping people and, yes, it feels good.

    But I do find fault with our “progress” (or lack thereof) with tackling the root of the problem. We (the people) have the power now.

    It’s possible.

  11. Mark Says:

    glad to see I’m not the only one any longer that has problems w/#daniela and @Armano
    It’s too many to go into, look at the #daniela stream on Twitter to see them
    http://twitter.com/MarkMayhew

  12. Carri Bugbee Says:

    Scott, I think it’s odd that you’re so indignant about the fact David Armano didn’t turn the meter off at five grand. I guess if I were to play armchair psychologist, I’d say it’s precisely because you’ve worked in nonprofit fundraising and you know how difficult it is to raise money, so you are a bit miffed that it was fast and easy this time around when so many charitable organizations are struggling.

    I agree it doesn’t seem fair, but why begrudge one family’s (possibly temporary) good fortune just because others are still going without? Some people win the lottery. Some people end up on skid row. And I’m not being flippant about this – it’s been a tough year for many. It could easily be me on skid row next month. Or my best friend. That doesn’t mean I can’t rejoice for someone who gets a windfall today.

    David Armano is influential in social media. Goodie for him. Even better for Daniela. Who cares why people helped? Let’s just be happy they did.

    @CarriBugbee

  13. Scott Henderson Says:

    @Jaculynn You’re right, it’s not easy to question the hive on matters like these. That’s probably why most people who were thinking similar thoughts didn’t voice them. Thanks for your thoughtful, elegantly written comment.

    @MarkMayhew Yes, I have seen your tweets and blog posts. When will you publish your perspective? Do you already have a blog post or article that details your investigative reporting on this? Without that, I can’t determine how to value your comments.

    @CarriBugbee Your analysis is wrong on my motives. It’s not difficult to raise money even in down economies when you have the right people asking for the right cause.

    David’s feat is just a glimmer of what’s possible using the Internet. That’s why I felt it was important to voice my thoughts. Someone needs to question the hive and offer a contrarian perspective. When humans operate with groupthink in large groups, bad things can and do happen.

    Because David had a realtime fundraising meter, I think it’s fair to say anyone who gave once the goal had been reached gave with the intent of giving regardless of the goal. For those of us who gave prior, we had a different “social contract” and will have different perspectives.

    In any event, I am happy for Daniela’s family and thankful to Armano for further proving the potential of raising money via the Internet. That’s why I’m not asking for a refund.

    Whether we like it or not, we’re going to see this types of micro-fundraising drives more and more often. Better we keep talking about how to improve them than just complain about them.

  14. David Griner Says:

    Scott,

    As others have said, it takes a commendable amount of conviction to post a view that runs so against the popular grain.

    That said, I think you’re downplaying the true potential of this event — which is massive amount of good that can be done with the lessons learned here. Your post is just yet another example of the immense learning experience Armano has unintentionally created.

    As with Daniela, I’m proud of the money I gave to Epic Change’s Tweetsgiving, which helped expand a school in Tanzania. Does one school address the root problems of African poverty? No, but the powerful example of a 48-hour fund-raiser will help raise millions for similar efforts in the years to come.

    Thanks again for your challenging and well-reasoned post, Scott.

  15. Taffy Says:

    I don’t think the problem lies with Armano or social media, it lies with the difficulty humans have with nuanced cause and effect relationships. It’s easy to go shopping or make a donation to give a kid Christmas and walk away feeling good about yourself. It’s much harder to break the cycle of poverty when the work it requires is intellectually and emotionally difficult, involves frequent heartbreak and let downs, and may never show a quantifiable return.

    Taffy

  16. Ben Kunz Says:

    Scott,

    The great illusion of life is that we live in a big universe filled with billions of living things … but the reality is all life is housed in beings of one. Daniela is one person, and for a fleeting moment all the silliness of social media, and our social world, was swept aside by David Armano bringing her one life to the forefront.

    Yes, I agree with you that this program was not scalable; it did not address the root social issues that caused Daniela’s family distress, and it did create a disproportionate benefit for one person. Yet that is the very reason this message took off. It felt human, a one-on-one connection, and I loved the chance to do something meaningful for just one person.

    It is too bad this type of “George Bailey” moment is fleeting and probably will not be repeated for years. I agree with you that it is sad that more of us do not spend more time and energy building sustainable efforts to help real social causes that ameliorate the causes of such human injustice.

    I gave her 100 bucks and it was the best Christmas present I could have given myself — because, somehow, I connected with a single human soul. The very thing you disliked about this program, that it will not scale, is what made it so compelling.

    We’re both right. It would be good to help all humans. But what the hell, let’s help only one.

  17. Maxine Appleby Says:

    Scott,

    I help my friends out all the time. David is a twitter friend who simply asked me to consider helping a friend of his. I was glad to do so. I never gave it a second thought.

    Events like this one inspire others to give and to give again. To Daniela, this was HER life changing event and I am honored that David allowed me to be a part of it.

    Be happy Daniela touched your heart too.

    @maxineappleby

  18. John Haydon Says:

    Scott,

    Without knowing David and Daniella, I’d have to say that their inaction (to shut things down once they hit $5,000) causes me to doubt their sincerity behind raising the money in the first place.

    It’s better to do the right thing. Why because doing right and good is an investment that increases in value for life.

    To your comment about giving to an individual – I’d say that David and Daniella have potentially hurt the ability of other families in need to do similar personal fundraising.

    John

  19. Tom Cunniff Says:

    My opinion is that what David did came from the heart and should be accepted and embraced as just that.

    If some of us find flaws in this fundraising approach, I suggest we learn from them and improve our efforts next time.

    Changing the world doesn’t require perfection on the first try. But it does demand positive steps forward. David Armano took one, and so can the rest of us.

  20. Shannon Paul Says:

    Extremely thoughtful post, Scott! I think it’s important that we examine the lessons that can be learned regarding the use of social media for philanthropic fundraising. I just have a couple of things I would like to add:

    First, I think David Griner makes a great point; helping individuals or a small segment of the population may not address a situation’s underlying problems but it certainly does have a ripple effect. Plus it shows the power of the medium.

    Second, I think that too many charitable organizations exist for political reasons or the same reasons you criticize this social media campaign: ego. I’ve known several people throughout my life who have been on the receiving end of charity and/or public aid and know that too often there is a major disconnect between the givers and the receivers. This issue is what I believe social media can overcome. Individuals who need help can ask for what is needed and donors can choose to address the expressed need without the arbitration of a large bureaucracy to facilitate that process.

  21. Bob Collins Says:

    Charity starts at home –

    And our neighborhood is growing. Our network of the peoples lives we touch and the awareness of the world, their unique stories and needs of our community has grown and become more personal, than ever before.

    If more people like David and his family reach out to their community to help a member / a friend / a family member of his community – everyone benefits. Call is fundraising, charitable support – a Digital Potlatch & or Social Barn Raising – it’s all about helping those in need – our community – our family – and in turn helping ourselves.

    Last month I organized a recent social media breakfast in Boston where we held a food drive to support the Greater Boston Food Bank. As part of the breakfast – Beth Kanter and I collaborated with the philanthropic arm of Tyson Foods – where they would donate 100Lbs of food for every comment made to their Hunger Relief website. Leveraging Boston’s connected social media community – our goal was to spread awareness of the hunger needs within the Eastern Mass & secure 350 comments on the website = an entire truck load of Food (35,000 pounds of food). Within 2 hours – the website had over 400 comments. We met our initial goal – Should we have stopped – should they have shut down the post – should the conversations have stopped. I for one say no – and thankfully we didn’t.

    The response was overwhelming – and Tyson Foods generous enough to double their commitment for support and has sent two full trucks – 70,000 lbs of food – which equates to appox – 54,000 meals. A small personal drive – led to greater awareness and a program that supported a larger community. But it started small – it started local – it had a face.

    How each of us decides to help one another in our growing community shouldn’t be the debate. More so – we should be looking all around our lives to find more ways to help and support one another. Sometimes it’s a next door neighboor – sometimes your larger neighborhood needs support. It’s all personal to someone – it’s all local to someone. One family at a time or larger program support. Great or small – It all matters & it’s always appreciated.

    Charity Starts at Home – We are just fortunate enough that our neighborhood of community support is growing & able to help in kind.

    Thank you David and the David’s of the world.

    ~Bob Collins
    P.S. I’m packing away $10 a week now to support and aid those trusted friends who are good & strong enough to ask. This hasn’t diminished my support for similar personal fundraisers – just increased my commitment to help when called upon.

  22. Debra Snider Says:

    I think what David Armano did was admirable, but I’ve been wondering why it was so effective when so many tweets requesting contributions to worthy causes go largely unnoticed. Your distinction between private benefit and social good is compelling, both as an issue in this situation and as a possible reason for why fund-raising sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t.

    Did people open their hearts and wallets to Daniela because she has a face, whereas charitable organizations seem somehow detached from the faces they support? One can spend as little as a buck, for example, on a point.com campaign for a legitimate NPO with a stellar track record of helping hundreds of people – and successfully addressing root problems like literacy, education, health care, etc. – but those campaigns typically generate nothing like the outpouring to Daniela, and they certainly don’t do it in a couple hours.

    Perhaps there’s a sense that the needs of established NPOs are more attenuated than Daniela’s – or that they already have donors and the buck or $5 or $10 won’t make a real difference. Whatever the reason, you’re right in thinking there’s something to learn and understand from the Daniela outpouring. As you pointed out, it’s not a matter of saying one is good and the other isn’t. It’s a matter of understanding what prompted so much wallet-opening and tapping into like motivations for broad-based as well as individual efforts.

    Yours is a thoughtful and thought-provoking post, and I’m glad I came across it. Thank you!

  23. Beth Kanter Says:

    I think that you can use personal stories of need for fundraising. As someone who was worked in the nonprofit sector for 30 years and quite a few in fundraising, we know this is a best practice (See Andy Goodman’s work). However, I feel strongly that the money should be direct to a nonprofit so that any excess can be used for the greater social good. There’s another reason. If the money is directed to a nonprofit, they can also help with program service delivery for that specific client in need. Yes, we can be rock star social media fundraisers, but unless we’re qualified we shouldn’t get into social service delivery.

    I raise money for poverty reduction in Cambodia using social media with personal stories but all money raised is given directly to a nonprofit, The Sharing Foundation. I have been a board member for eight years. I have many personal reasons for wanting to help Cambodian children which inspires me to do this fundraising, both online and off. The Sharing Foundation is my charity of choice because of the impressive program they’ve built over the last ten years and their programs truly make a difference in the lives of thousands of Cambodia children. I’ve been to Cambodia and seen the work first hand as well — so I know where the money goes. And of course, if want a direct accounting, I can go on GuideStar and look up the 990.

    I’ve raised over $220,000 using social media and this personal fundraising approach since 2006. This is a personal commitment and passion to help the children of Cambodia, not a campaign to prove the value of social media. To be honest, my blog is for nonprofit professionals who are interested in using social media tools to raise money for their nonprofits who are helping to create social good. So, I share my successes, best practices, and mistakes in detailed case studies with the hope that it help other nonprofits be successful. YOu can find some of my case studies here: http://gsp4good.wikispaces.com

    My most recent campaign – the one you linked to was for my 52nd birthday (today). It was the 7th one I’ve done for the nonprofit Sharing Foundation. As a board member for 8 years, my last 8 birthdays have been used a personal fundraisers. It’s only in the last couple of years has this activity moved online. And, BTW, we raised over $5,000 – $520 was my personal donation used a match.

    My fourth campaign focused on Leng Sopharath, a young Cambodian orphan that my family and I have been sponsoring her for college through a donation to the Sharing Foundation. (The Sharing Foundation has a program to make sure that Leng and the other students get what they need from their college education and provide support once they graduate to help them get jobs). I had to raise $1,250 and I quickly overshot my goal. So, because the money was going to a nonprofit, I was able to check to see if there were other students who didn’t have sponsorship yet. And, since there was student who recently lost his sponsor, I kept going – with the excess going to support his tuition. Guess what, we raised more than we needed for that. So the excess went into the Sharing Foundation’s education program. So, by having the recipient be an organization, I was able to directly help individuals and use the excess to support the greater social good.

    Finally, I don’t do one-shot campaigns, I’m in it for the long haul to create a culture of giving around this cause and provide useful information for nonprofits to do this type of fundraising. I know that I’ve inspired a few individuals to use social media to raise money and when they’ve approached me for advice – I’ve told them to direct money to a specific nonprofit.

    Thanks for writing this post and bringing this issue to light.

  24. Joe Says:

    Interesting situation, Scott. Here’s my thinking. Whenever you GIVE money to a person it’s all based on trust. You trust the person you’re giving the money too and have faith he or she will put the money to good use.

    Frankly, I don’t think you trust David very much, nor should you. You concede you don’t know him.

    If you trusted David, you wouldn’t have had doubts when the money surpassed goal because you would have known that whatever had been raised it would be used wisely and apporpriately.

    Two things on a personal note. First, the $5,000 was pretty modest to begin with. Sure, things must be cheaper in Romania, but how far will $5k really get you? As citizens from a country that literally made the families of the victims of 9/11 multi-millionaires, $16,000 for a single mother of three kids, one with specials needs, doesn’t seem a lot.

    Second, no good deed goes unpunished, does it? I don’t know David any better than you do. That’s why I didn’t give him any money. I have to say I think it’s posts like these the discourage people from doing good deeds for fear of being questioned and slammed.

    I’m willing to believe that what David did was truly a good deed and the money will help that single mother. Since you were the one who gave, maybe you should too.

  25. James Sutandyo Says:

    David did a wonderful thing, I don’t think this post takes away from that. Scott is right, the solution isn’t scalable. It does not solve the problem at hand.

    I do believe that the best means so far is to send your money directly to a nonprofit, as Scott suggests…

    but

    I think the true prize is when obtained when we can do what David did and what Scott suggests (and Beth Kanter does). Everyone is now empowered to help make a change (w/o being grassroots even), but in the end the most effective avenues to manage the change are the nonprofit organizations.

    @jsutandyo

  26. James Sutandyo Says:

    Forgot to mention though…

    I’m still happy for Daniela and commend David for what he did. I think everyone is happy it worked so well.

  27. David Armano Says:

    Scott, thank you again for taking the time to have a conversation over the phone as opposed to comments.

    Here’s the blog we (Belinda and myself) are putting together on Danliela’s behalf.

    http://darmano.typepad.com/daniela

    we will continue to post updates and engage there as more time passes.

    Thanks again, enjoyed chatting with you.

  28. Scott Henderson Says:

    Wow, this has been a very fruitful conversation. Thank you to everyone who has commented. You have each given us all a lot to think about. I’m formulating my follow-up post already and will share it with the world after I’ve digested what you’ve offered up. Keep the comments coming and feel free to find me on Twitter @scottyhendo

  29. Mark Says:

    my main problem w/Armano/#daniela is that one week into, what do we really know about her?
    Armano has posted one pic of her, that’s all.
    I know women who have been abused (living next door to one now actually)…the thing is, most abused women need counseling…and if it took Daniela years to get out of her abusive relationship (again, I am only repeating what Armano said) then she, at the very least, needs counseling.
    Of course, who is to say that she isn’t lying re her relationship (doesn’t it take two to tango like that, not for months, but for years?
    I’ve asked Armano to take a minute and create a profile for Daniela on Twitter or any social media site…he has refused (which almost begs the question: what is he hiding re Daniela?)

  30. James Sutandyo Says:

    Mark, 2 posts up basically answers your fear question. Also, not sure how much TRUST would increase just by making a social media site or a twitter account for daniela. Trust involves a lot more than that.

    @jsutandyo

  31. Helping Our Neighbors: Further Thoughts on the Armano Family’s Act of Charity | :: mediasauce - blog Says:

    [...] Kohlmeier on How LinkedIN is the Digital Age Sales Executive’s Secret WeaponJames Sutandyo on I Gave $10 to David Armano to Help Daniela and Now I Regret ItMark on I Gave $10 to David Armano to Help Daniela and Now I Regret ItScott Henderson on I Gave $10 [...]

  32. Ann Kingman Says:

    I wasn’t going to post since much of what I think has already been said, but then I saw Mark’s comment at #29.

    I gave money to help Daniela because I knew that my money would help Daniela to get out of her situation, and would directly put food in someone’s mouth or a shirt on someone’s back — and it would happen quickly. If my donation gave those kids one more day of peace and normalcy than they would have otherwise had, then I’m happy.

    It’s ignorant to claim that most abused women need counseling or that “it takes two to tango” if abuse continues beyond a few months. I am intimately familiar with such a situation, and it’s economics more than anything that causes women to stay in such a situation, especially when children are involved. It’s easy for someone on the outside to say “just get out,” but when you have a low paying job and no credit, and possibly no savings, and children to care for … much easier said than done.

  33. Stephen R. Smith Says:

    The reality is that $5,000 for a single mother and 3 children doesn’t go very far. It would have been a start, and it was certainly a reasonable target, but there’s no way that should have been a maximum nor would have diverting the overage to other beneficiaries have been acceptable. I signed on to help Daniela, not a charitable foundation. I support those locally and separately at my discretion.

    That $16,000± has been raised is amazing, but that’s merely half a moderate year’s salary. Realistically we’ve bought Daniela 6 months to get on her feet, find sustainable employment and become self sufficient while she raises her family with the threat of financial hardship not removed, just deferred.

    $16,000 isn’t enough to change the world, but it’s enough to potentially save this family and give them a fighting chance.

    My only regret is that I didn’t have more to give.

  34. Tresha Thorsen Says:

    Your perspective is honest and you call it like it is.
    We are a culture that gives to make ourselves feel good. I read your post, read countless others. You did a thorough job acknowledging what did make us all go ‘whoa’ of the immediate response level.

    But further, your questions make us really ask ourselves to define our level of commitment–not only to the use of social media– but to humanity as a whole.

    You’re inviting us to probe deeply — should we really embrace this social media microdonating capacity — how willing are we to go this the long haul…nothing short to me of getting into our hearts and saying ‘People, what kind of relationships do you want to create? What kind of relationships are going to sustain us, feed us for the long haul, even promote lasting peace” (to me the ultimate goal).

    History shows countless examples of why bandaid love doesn’t work. Our own times show how ego driven relationships fall apart. Just look at the divorce rate or ask anyone you know if she or he has had an affair. I actually don’t know of any relationship that haven’t swayed. Wow.

    To me, your questions are invaluable for anyone who’s ‘in it for the long haul’ or who wants to be to ponder.

    What kind of giver do you want to be?
    What kind of ‘lover’ do you want to be?
    Does humanity deserve something more than a bandaid quickfix?

    I’m THRILLED for Daniela. I’ve volunteered in enough shelters to celebrate this victory for her, for women, for women who have migrated here. The fact she is Romanian, living in the US, able to rally up that kind of response….whoosh. (I am from Miami and have seen several decades of what happens when a community neglects folks who’ve migrated there or worse turns them away while they’re still on a raft).

    But I would ask the entre @armano network to consider: are you in this for the long haul. Are you going to be there to help this and other families and if so, what are you putting in place to ensure longer term care?

    I think all of us in it for the long haul would do ourselves and one another great justice by studying the example of Beth Kanter.

    She matters.

    Her example of consistent longer term fundraising and donating via a non profit is worth deep analysis. The success rate is reason to pause–over $220,000 raised in 3 years using her personal network–monies raised that are then channeled into the efforts of a non profit–the Sharing Foundation–and then close monitoring of how those funds are being used (she sits on their board).

    If you trace what’s been done with the funds, she –through the Sharing Foundation–is helping to create the foundation of a lasting community in Cambodia…everything from providing housing and schooling for children to ensuring work options exist for their parents, to building lasting relationships with locals to continue to implement donations. Her blog posts on beth.typepad.com sum up the efforts far better than I will/can here.

    Yes, standing in awe of what one network did in 24 hours is natural. It makes you wonder what we’ll be capable of in the next hurricane’s aftermath. No one’s needs are more important than another’s, and while I’m applauding @armano’s efforts, and can only imagine the euphoria he’s still feeling–and everyone who donated is still feeling–it is so worth asking ourselves: ARE WE IN THIS FOR THE LONG HAUL?
    Because your answer to that question will determine how you give, why you give, and what lengths you’ll go to ensure consistent follow up.

    We’ve all had that wealthy aunt that we saw over the holidays or got a check from once a year at a birthday. And for 24 hours that attention gave us a high. And we went and bought our favorite toy at the time (with my ‘aunt’s money i kidd you not i dumped a ton on this stuff called “slime’ that I was enthralled with when I was 10 and a few Journey albums to be sure).

    But ask me if I knew anything about this aunt–her favorite color, music, clothing style, perfume…or further–what mattered to her about womanhood, motherhood, or raising a family…you know…the depth of what constitutes a real relationship. I didn’t know anything about her except once a year I got a check and a bday card.

    Lasting change will come from all of us being neighbors to one another –in it for the long haul.

    Thank you for your post, for making us all pause and ask some important questions.

    And should you answer “Yes, I’m in this for the long haul” go study Beth Kanter’s example.
    She needs to be known.
    Her efforts are that lasting and have had that big an impact.

  35. David Armano Says:

    It just occurred to me that there is a part of this whole thing that is really being overlooked. As I come across all different viewpoints–they all tend to be focused on the amount that was raised, how, and the time frame. And what will be done with it vs, where it could have gone (many people vs. one family).

    And yet as I write this, Daniela and her family are sleeping (literally) under our roof. We took them in because that was the right thing to do. (you are free to believe otherwise)

    Yes, this is a worthy discussion, but sometimes I wonder if we’re all focusing on certain parts of it that fit our own agendas vs. the idea that sometimes we just do what seems right.

  36. Scott Henderson Says:

    David – solid point. At the moment Daniela needed help, she got it.

    And to answer the “own agenda vs do what seems right” comment: I don’t see them as inclusive concepts, not exclusive.

    Everyone does what seems is right and fits their own agenda. Like or not, that’s the human creature.

  37. Vincent Says:

    Scott,
    Although you make some valid points for discussion and research, I just find it unfortunate that you chose the phrase “Now I Regret it”

    And as you say this post took you “4 days to write after much discussion, deliberation, and contemplation”, we can only conclude that you really meant it, which all things considered is very sad.

  38. Scott Henderson Says:

    @ Vincent

    My choice of words reflected my thoughts and feelings at the time. You are free to judge as you have, but that doesn’t invalidate them.

    If you want to see how my thoughts and feelings have evolved since then, check these subsequent posts:

    http://blog.mediasauce.com/2009/01/13/helping-our-neighbors-further-thoughts-on-the-armano-familys-act-of-charity/

    http://blog.mediasauce.com/2009/01/18/the-other-side-of-charity-after-the-money-is-raised-who-does-the-heavy-lifting/

  39. Do business blogs really work? Just ask Princeton Premier. « Social Media Marketing and Advertising: Connecting, Contibuting and Conversating Says:

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  41. Social capital isn’t new, but everything about it is. | Unstructured Thoughts by Taylor Davidson Says:

    [...] of his social capital by doing a little sponsored blogging for Kmart? Has David Armano created or cashed in social capital with his recent #Daniela fundraising plea / [...]

  42. Mary McKnight Says:

    Well said. As a survivor of domestic abuse and one who works with battered women now through Help Now of Osceola County, I was horrified by David’s work with Daniella and her family. No real professional in the field would ever recommend that you give a battered woman money directly – give it to a shelter and provide her with resources or start a college fund for her children and say it is only available after she goes through a victim’s awareness program and is in a safe house.

    This was simply one of the most disturbing uses of power and online notoriety I have ever seen. I know I got into it with David over on Marketing Profs but it’s my advice that unless you have been trained to work with victims and their families you have no business doing it. Work with the organizations that do instead or else you are likely just giving money to the abuser. Social capital must be used responsibly and David made a huge error in judgment here. He is a great marketer, but failed miserably in my opinion at humanitarian work in this instance. Thank you for this post – it heartens me that you regret your decision.

  43. The Other Side of Charity: After the Money is Raised, Who Does the Heavy Lifting? « Rally the Cause Says:

    [...] question has stuck inside my head since Neal Taflinger’s comment on my first post about Daniela: I don’t think the problem lies with Armano or social media, it [...]

  44. Helping Our Neighbors: Further Thoughts on the Armano Family’s Act of Charity « Rally the Cause Says:

    [...] Well Considered Risk When I decided to write I Gave $10 to David Armano to Help Daniela and Now I Regret It, I realized I was doing something akin to approaching a gasoline-soaked bee hive holding a lit [...]

  45. I Gave $10 to David Armano to Help Daniela and Now I Regret It « Rally the Cause Says:

    [...] I Gave $10 to David Armano to Help Daniela and Now I Regret It 2009 July 5 by Scott Henderson This post was originally posted on http://blog.mediasauce.com on 1/11/2009. Comments can be viewed here. [...]

  46. Irwin Bayete Says:

    You completed some fine points there. I did a search on the theme and found mainly folks will agree with your blog.

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