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SalaamGarage – Funding your Project with WordPress or Facebook Campaigns
You might be reading this because you feel called to participate in a trip with SalaamGarage. I am going to detail a few specific tools and technical resources available to help you with raising funds for your project, but I want to stress that the success of these tools is going to rest first and foremost on your passion. People have a natural desire and attraction to support people in their vision and dreams. Your intention is the fuel that will drive you towards success in your goal.
The two methods for raising awareness and money documented here each have their advantages. Facebook is quicker, easier and does not require any technical background. Hosting your own site and blogging with WordPress is more technical, but it provides more customization options. I would suggest reading through the process to get started with each method and moving forward with which feels the most comfortable, or even developing both.
Anyone who has used Facebook knows that one of the greatest aspects of the site is that you can not only reach your friends, but can expand your message into each friend’s own network of friends. If your message resonates with others, it has the potential to grow viraly well beyond the scope of your immediate friends and family. There are a couple of ways to use Facebook to help raise awareness of your SalaamGarage project and help raise money for your trip. I believe the best way is to make use of the Facebook fan pages, the Sponsor-Me application and PayPal.
The combination of these tools will allow you to publish your intentions, share this with friends and families and raise money to help support your desire to experience the trip.
There are several steps required to build the infrastructure. If you already have some of these in place, you can skip the directions for that step and proceed to the next.
Building the infrastructure:
-Create a PayPal Account
-Create a Facebook Account
-Install the Sponsor-Me Facebook application
-Create a Facebook “Fan” page
-Publish and Promote
Creating a PayPal Account
A PayPal account can be created at http://PayPal.com. There will be an option to “Sign Up” for an account. There will be several options for the type of account to create. As of the publish date of this document, the correct option to receive donations is a “Premier” account. The PayPal site itself will
have the latest information and can guide you through completing the registration process. Also take note of the latest fee schedule for PayPal as they will charge a small fee for you receiving payments/donations.
There is no need to create a new PayPal account if you already have one, but you should upgrade it to “Premier” if it is a “Personal” account. A “Business” account is fine if that is what you already have.
Creating a Facebook Account
A Facebook account can be created at http://www.facebook.com. Part of the registration process includes adding Facebook “friends”. There are tools that will assist you in adding friends who are already in your address book. I highly recommend making use of these tools to quickly build your Facebook social network.
Install the Facebook Sponsor-Me Application
Here is where things get fun! The first step is to install the Sponsor-Me application at http://apps.facebook.com/sponsor-me/. From this page there will be an option that states “Click here to add Sponsor-Me”. This will take you to a page where you will be prompted to “Allow” the application to be installed and have access to your profile. Selecting “Allow” will take you to the application page.
From this page there will be an option to “Create a Campaign”. This is similar to creating a group page for Facebook. There are several fields to fill out, including some optional ones. Most of these fields can be edited after you create the Campaign, with the very notable exceptions of the Campaign Title and the PayPal email.
Once you have customized this page with pictures, descriptions, fundraising goals, etc., the next step is to start inviting friends!! There is a limit of 20 friends per day, so make sure you visit every day and send out invites to build your network of support. Of course, you can also always post a link to your campaign via your status, or by adding the link to your profile.
Create a Facebook “Fan” Page
The next step is to create a Facebook “Fan” Page. This step is not required to raise funds via Facebook, but it greatly increases the chances of expanding your audience beyond your current Facebook “friends”.
Begin by navigating to the Facebook “Ads and Pages” application. The quickest way to find the “Ads and Pages” application is to select the “Ads and Pages” icon from the Facebook website. The icon will be bookmarked on the bottom left hand corner of the Facebook navigation tool.
From the “Ads and Pages” application, select to create “Create Facebook Page”. There will be several options for the type of page. To create a “Fan” page, select “Artist, Band or Public Figure”. You are the artist, and should name the page with your name.
A Fan Page is very similar to a user page. You can publish a variety of information about your project and yourself. I would highly recommend that you set your webpage to your “Sponsor Me” page so that people are directed to the location where they can make donations towards your project.
I would highly recommend using the “Edit Page” function (link just below the page picture) to add custom functionality to your page, including setting up and publishing events and video.
Publish and Promote
Your “Fan Page” will not be viewable until you select to “Publish This Page”. Once published, you should start to aggressively promote the page. This includes suggesting the page to your Friends, adding the “Fan Page” to your personal pages ‘favorites’ and publishing regular updates.
Once your page is setup you can always use the “Ads and Pages” application to track views, fans, etc.
Keep the content steady and compelling, and link back often to your Sponsor-Me page. Publish pictures, ideas and other content to keep people visiting the site. You should take advantage of the “Send an Update to Fans” functionality to keep your fans engaged and active. The Events functionality is a great way to inform your fans of fund-raising or other social events related to your project.
Host your own Website and use WordPress
WordPress is a powerful and free tool for managing your blogging website. There is a wealth of free themes and plug-ins that allows you to customize your site and that can be used to help raise funds and automatically provide recognition to your donors.
The directions for setting up your website and WordPress will make use of many external links. The technology and options change quickly and the external websites will have the latest information for installing and using their applications.
It should also be noted that this path is best if you are familiar with web publishing and technologies. Although most of the steps are automated, if there is a problem you will likely have to work with several different sources to troubleshoot (including your host, WordPress and the authors of specific themes and plug-ins). The good news is that the latest version of WordPress provides wonderful tools for customizing your site with a minimal need for using other web management tools including cPanel and an FTP client.
Building the infrastructure:
-Create a PayPal Account
-Find a host and create your website
-Install WordPress on your site-Install the Donate Plus plug-in and activate it on your website
- Using the Donate Plus widget and shortcode
- Play and Publish
Creating a PayPal Account
Creating a new PayPal account is not required if you already have one. Click here to see the directions earlier in this document on creating a PayPal account. IMPORTANT NOTE: Please make sure the email address you associate with PayPal is the same one you use when installing/registering WordPress (during the WordPress install).
Find a Host and create your website
You will need a host for your new website, or use your existing host to install WordPress.
WordPress itself has a list of sites that support the “1-click” installation of WordPress. I would suggest choosing one of these hosts if possible as they all have the required versions of PHP and MySQL.
For my testing, I used JustHost.com. The pricing was reasonable, and I was able to quickly build the site.
Please follow the directions from whichever host you choose to specify a domain name, and start hosting your site.
Install WordPress on your site
WordPress 2.8 was released on June 11, 2009. There are a number of enhancements in this version, including the ability to install Themes without having to upload to your site via FTP.
The latest version can be found at http://wordpress.org/
If you selected a host that supports “1-Click” install, please login to the web sites admin tool and run the tool. For example, if you are using JustHost.com: Simply navigate to your site name and append /cpanel to the URL (yoursite.com/cpanel) and enter your username and password (provided to you by your host when you signed up). Under “Popular Choices”, select “WordPress”. Then follow the directions to install “WordPress” to your site.
If you chose a host that does not support 1-click install or you wish to custom install WordPress to your site, please visit the WordPress site (http://wordpress.org/download/) and refer to your website documentation for details on installing WordPress in that environment.
NOTE: As WordPress 2.8 is a recent release, the 1-step install process may install an older version of WordPress. Simply navigate to the WordPress admin page and select to upgrade to the latest version of WordPress page (http://yoursite.com/wp-admin) before moving on to the next step. If you do not see the option to upgrade on the WP-Admin main dashboard, simply select “Tools, Upgrade” from the menu options on the left sidebar.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please make sure the email address you use when registering WordPress is the same as the email address associated with PayPal.
Install the Donate Plus plug-in and activate it on your website
Installing WordPress plug-ins has greatly been simplified in the latest versions. Simply navigate to your sites WordPress admin page (http://yoursite.com/wp-admin). Click on the “Plug-Ins” option on the left menu, and choose “Add New”. There are several options for searching and choosing Plug-Ins, but the simplest is to simply search for the term “Donate Plus”. You may get a message stating that the Plug-in has not been tested with the latest version of WordPress, but I have confirmed that it works with 2.8
Once the Donate Plus plug-in is installed you can activate it by navigating to the Plug-ins section of the WP-Admin tool and choosing to “Activate” the plug-in.
If you are running an older version of WordPress that does not support installation of the Plug-in via the WP-Admin tool, you will have to manually install the plug-in via FTP. Please refer to your website host
for details on authenticating to FTP, and review the installation instructions below for information on uploading/installing plug-ins to your WordPress site.
Using the Donate Plus Widget and shortcode
Once the Donate Plus Plug-in is installed and activated, you can start to add the functionality to your site. The first step is to navigate to the Appearance, Widgets section of the WP-Admin tool. Installing Donate Plus will have added several widgets that you can drag to various sections of your blog page. Experiment by dragging either the “Donate Plus Total” widget, “Donate Plus Wall” widget or “Donate Plus Form” widget to one of the sidebar or footer sections. Once done, you can select to “Visit Site” to see how each widget looks when added to different sections of your site.
Each of these features can also be used directly in your blog posts or pages by using “shortcode”. For example, I created a separate page for people to send donations and simply added
Play and Publish
WordPress has a wealth of customization options available via themes and plug-ins. Many of these tools are available for free and allow you to create some incredibly professional looking sites. http://wordpress.org/showcase/ is a good place to review some WordPress sites and get inspiration for creating your own site.
Experiment and play with themes and plug-ins to find the right mix to showcase your project goals. Look ahead to determine how WordPress can be the avenue for publishing your project when you complete your trip. Visit the http://wordpress.org site and view the docs section for information on getting started, and the forums section to request assistance with specific issues or functionality.