I couldn't have done this without every one of you, and it was truly humbling to watch my blogging community and my friends come together to rally around this cause with me.
We raised a total of $367 in winning bids, and the good news is that many of you even increased your bid level when you submitted your donation online! Those of you who didn't win can still support the cause with us; I've included the button at right again so it's easy to click over. Where it says "organization," please write "A Half Baked Life Auction" in addition to any other organizations that may match your donation.
Next week, BlogHer will be featuring a post about using social media for good, and I was contacted by the author, who asked me about my reasons for turning this into a community event, rather than just a link to a donation website. It was an interesting question. Why bother with all of the complications?
First, I'm convinced, through my work over the years with various fundraisers for a host of different organizations, that people are more likely to give at an event than through a direct appeal campaign. Most of us don't like simply giving. We want to connect. There's something about belonging to a community of committed donors that makes us feel more generous than we would as an individual. Perhaps it's feeling the ability we have to be change agents when we work together, rather than wondering how our small contributions might make a difference.
I also believe that if you want to raise awareness, you can't do it by simply providing a link to a donation website. It's easy to click a button and feel like we've done our duty. It's a lot harder to read a blog post like Dana's or Ilene's and not personalize the loss, the cause. The stories are just as important--if not more so--than the statistics.
Even if we didn't raise thousands of dollars, some great things happened as a result of the event. Bloggers met new bloggers, people whom they might not have happened to read otherwise, because they're not in the same interest area. A fabulous cross-section of people came together for this: participants (both bakers and bidders) included blogging friends from the ALI community, from the parenting blogger community, from the wellness blogger community, general diarists, and a number of my own non-blogging friends, many of whom didn't even know I had a blog until this week. (Yes, I outed myself on Facebook for this event, and it was scary as all hell, thank you very much.)
And maybe this event, like some of the events I've participated in myself over the years, will inspire someone to do something similar somewhere down the line.
Because giving (whether we're talking about time, or talent, or money, or even empathy) isn't something that we do on the day after Cyber Monday. (Though God help us, it's a small antidote to the post-Thanksgiving capitalist frenzy that I hate so much.) It's something that we do because we're human. Because we are connected. Because our stories have meaning. Because we matter to each other, even if we don't know each other yet.
So one more time: thank you to everyone who hung with me on this one. Even if you didn't win, you are cordially invited to my virtual table for tea and cookies, any day you want.