In 2007, Mount Vernon Community School PTA parents created a fundraising event. Called the “MV Big Flea” the idea was to collect items from members of the community, sell them and keep the proceeds. Donors would receive a tax break and the PTA would raise much needed revenue.
Parents are now working on the fourth Flea and poised to reach a historic milestone this year: $50,000 in total money raised. Effective grassroots communications and word-of-mouth marketing has been key to the MV Big Flea’s success.
“The community listservs on Yahoo are great,” says Big Flea Communications Czar Joe LaMountain. “We can quickly and easily reach more than 10,000 people about donating items or buying things on our website (www.mvbigflea.com).”
In addition to Yahoo Groups, Big Flea “Curator” Cynthia Webster routinely posts items for sale on Craigslist. In addition to making pre-event sales, and reducing the need for storage space, Craigslist postings also generate website visitors. Nearly 30,000 people have visited the website since it was created in 2008. “To get so many visitors, for what is essentially a local event, is amazing,” LaMountain said.
While grassroots communications is typically thought of as a political activity, there are many applications for fundraising, which is obviously essential to any charitable cause. The success of the MV Big Flea is a great example of how a charitable organization can effectively use social media tools to disseminate their message and raise funds.
Filed under: Advocacy, Alexandria, Grassroots, Marketing | Tagged: ACPS, alexandria virginia, bremmer and goris, craigslist, cynthia webster, del ray, del ray alexandria, facebook, maria getoff, mimi carter, mort sherman, MV Big Flea, social media, yahoo groups |