Tuber of the Week #34: Virtual Homeless

Raising money for non-profits to do their good work is an arduous task that requires tremendous effort and creativity.  Mailers, telephone campaigns, car washes, charity golf events, dog walks...  The list is endless; and obviously includes some ideas that are better than others.

Recently, Pathways to Housing, a non-profit that provides housing to the homeless so that specific psychiatric needs can then be addressed, launched an innovative idea: a virtual homeless man. 

The intent is to raise awareness and solicit support for their program.

With the concept, the image of a street person appears on a building wall in a high pedestrian area.

While watching the man, viewers can send a text message (a number is also displayed) to interact with the video, request more information, or make a donation to the cause.

I think the agency's graphic  here is most telling--emphasizing society's cost per day to to house a homeless person with psychiatric problems:

Jail = $164
Emergency Room = $519
Psychiatric Hospital = $1,185

Versus their agency's daily rate = $57.

So, where the video builds awareness of the homeless problem, the informative cost comparison graphic educates boring eggheads such as myself.

Now that is creative fundraising.

I wonder if the idea could be used to raise money for abandoned pets?


I first saw this story here.


Dan said...

The idea is good, but I'm not sure that it will work for pet issues. Why? Because the abandonment of pets tends to be an urban -> rural issue. I.e. people dump unwanted pets in rural areas, but the virtual presentation only works in high traffic urban settings.

It will be interesting to see how the campaign proceeds and if it works.

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

My step sister used to work in downtown STL with the homeless. I can't think of the name of the program but as a fundraiser they would have youth groups, school groups, etc...come and do a walk in the day of a homeless person. So they would walk all through downtown to see what it was like and then at the end of the walk, they would help serve lunch. I think it was pretty successful for them.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
I am fascinated with the promotion and fund-raising ideas for the homeless. As you know, I stay pretty interested in this issue.

I was also appalled at how much mental hospitalization cost, especially since I don't think that's an experience optimized for wellness.

The sad thing is the NIMBY thing. Many homeless are not welcome to move into an assisted housing--sometimes the objections are valid, such as crime. Another one is that no one wants assisted housing in their neighborhood.

But this program sounds very dynamic. Perhaps they can push that envelope too!

I love their site. Thanks for pointing it out!

Ann T.

Expat From Hell said...

Someone once said that the poor will always be with you (who was that guy, anyway?). I appreciate anyone who puts their creativity to good use in this manner. Bravo to you for bringing it to the attention of the blog world, SD! EFH

Herding Cats said...

I love that idea!

Bob G. said...

I think that saying is from the New Testament...two of the GOSPELS (Matthew and Mark)
And it IS an intriguing idea.

Elana Johnson said...

I think it's amazing what people can come up with using technology. It's so true that people need to be able to text or email and they need something concrete right in front of them to do it.

Very cool.

Creepy Query Girl said...

Wow, that's a really innovative idea. I'm interested to see how it progresses. Interesting!

jodeeluna said...

Where do you find such interesting material? I am constantly amazed!

I think the Haiti earthquake relief efforts ushered in a new advent for mobilizing millions through texting donations. I watched the video on your post and really like this approach. People are busy and overwhelmed with information and needs. This system provides a way for a whole lot of people to give a little bit. Great post!

eemusings said...

I think this is a fabulous idea. I walk past homeless people every day on my journey to and from work, and it breaks my heart.

~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

WOW so great to see technology being used for a worthy and good cause

Sultana said...

This is a very clever idea. I hope it continues making progress