One of the principles I developed late in life has to do with travel. I don’t want to be a “zoo” traveler where you just go and look at what people are doing in other countries, then leave. Instead, I want to teach my kids to always try to have a positive impact on the places they visit, no matter how small.

So, it is with that in mind that I asked one of our contacts in Brazil, who runs educational programs with kids in favelas, if there was anything we could bring that would help him out, or just put a smile on the kids’ faces. He said they can always use sports equipment.

And thus the idea of bringing soccer balls to the kids in the favelas was born.

Now, to be clear, by “kids” I mean Afro Brazilian kids. Not because I only want to bring balls to black kids but because all the kids in the program are Afro Brazilian as most people living in favelas are Afro Brazilian (about 70%).

That comes from Brazil’s unflattering and not well publicized history.

“Brazil was the last place in the Americas to give up slavery. It also imported more than 10 times as many slaves as the U.S. — some 4 million. That’s meant that more than 50 percent of the population is of African descent, but those numbers haven’t translated to opportunity.” (NPR “Expats find Brazil’s Reputation for Color Blindness Is Undone By Reality“).

So my middle class African Canadian sons will give soccer balls to their favela-dwelling Afro Brazilian brothers and sisters.  They won’t be able to communicate with words but will connect through the universal language of the beautiful game.

Which brings me to the whole point of this post: how we’re raising the money to buy 15 soccer balls.

I’ve never done online fundraising so I went to the obvious choice for advice: Google. The first non-sponsored link was from Mashable and was, of course, irresistable: Top 12 Online Fundraising Platforms for Donors and Non-profits. After a short read, I decided on Fundrazr mainly because it said it was associated with PayPal which I use. I figured anything even remotely associated with PayPal and Tesla founder, Elon Musk, had to be easy.

I wasn’t disappointed.

I registered, set up my campaign and sent my first email blast in under an hour. And it’s getting results even though I ignored the advice to create a video that would, supposedly, double my success rate. The website gives lots of similar tips on how to optimize your campaign. (I couldn’t find a mobile app but the website is mobile friendly and looks great on my Samsung S4 phone). After the first day of the campaign we had 5 of the 15 balls. Here’s the email Fundrazr made it very easy for me to create [from the “$0 raised” you can see this is an old pic ;-)]:

Soccer ball Fundrazr

My next test is to prove what I’ve said to everyone who has asked me, “How are you going to travel with 15 soccer balls?” …clearly assuming the balls would be fully inflated as they are sold in store. To this I say, “No problem. You can deflate them.”

I’m going to test this out this weekend and, if it fails, my idea may be temporarily deflated.

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