Citizen WebI have had several discussions with non-internet people, i.e. those who don’t spend hours everyday online or make a living because of the internet, about whether technology is bringing people together or isolating them.  For me it’s a no-brainer, I can name so many examples of how the web is connecting people from distant lands – rural and urban, developed nations and developing, east and west, north and south.  I have personally “met” people from many cultures and language backgrounds who are working in a variety of fields, and are passionate about a variety of causes.  Just yesterday I got an email from Australia and last week spoke to a gentleman who worked for the United Nations in Africa.

People are connecting with others and finding information online to further their charitable causes. That’s the essence of what Step by Step Fundraising is about — connecting you with resources you need to fund your cause. While some of the details will vary in different cultures, for the most part fundraising is at its essence very similar cross-culturally, because at its heart fundraising is about relationships.

Many of the specific fundraising strategies presented here will translate well from one locale to another.  For example people all over the world are raising funds through charity athletic events.  It’s especially popular in the UK, where many participants run in costume or are willing to go long distances for charity.  Another great example is a fundraising success story that we published here several years ago from Curaçao, where a Caribbean carnival parade raised funds for a school.  I loved hearing from Rosa and learning more about her culture.  It is fascinating to learn about their background and the unique aspects of their culture.  On the other hand it’s life affirming to realize how similar people are — we love our families, our kids, want to earn an honest living and share life to the fullest with those we care about.

I could go on and on about how the internet is really bringing people together.  (I haven’t even touched on social networking sites yet!)  But I’ll rest my case for now and end this editorial with a link to a story that really drives the message home.  For any internet nay-sayers out there who still think that technology is keeping people apart, the following story will hopefully persuade otherwise.

Stephanie Nielson enjoyed writing about her experiences being a mom on her blog, the Nie Nie Dialougues.  She had attracted quite a following of other moms who appreciated her encouraging posts.  After Stephanie and her husband Christian were in a plane crash, an outpouring of support came from readers, most of whom had never met her.  Over $100,000 has been donated to help with the medical expenses.

Stephanie’s friend and blog reader Wendy Whitacre said in the Today Show feature:

In this case we’ve formed a whole new community, a community of complete strangers who all care about one thing.  In this case a family who’s in need.

You can hear about his inspiring story in NBC Today show video or this story in the Arizona Daily Star.

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Posted on 10 September 2008

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