It all started with a bunch of naked travel bloggers.
It was our first year raising money for charity. 24 of us set out to create a calendar, which we'd sell, and then we'd donate the proceeds to the charitable organizations of our choice. We were a bunch of traveling do-gooders on a mission. We raised $1,500 and donated the contributions to an orphanage in Nepal and a volunteer project in Bohol.
Awesome! But we wanted to do better.
This year, 35 bloggers joined the initiative. We chose not only to raise funds, but to raise awareness about responsible tourism. We would donate our efforts to help rescue abused Asian elephants from the tourism industry in Thailand.
And, in just ten weeks' time, we raised $7,500.
(Okay, I'm making it sound easier than it was, but still…)
With two major partners on board (FlightNetwork and Where Sidewalks End), we raffled off a prize package valued at $3,300. Using only our blogs, we, as a group, leveraged their value to procure $2,000 worth of flights to Thailand and a $1,300 eco-friendly tour package for two. Every person who donated was entered into a drawing and, after collating everybody's entries, we selected a winner at random.
Our announcement of the winner got held up, though, when everything took a strange but wonderful twist.
Not only did our donor/winner ask to remain anonymous, but he requested that the value of the flight voucher be donated to the cause. Though the voucher did not initially have a cash value, FlightNetwork graciously agreed to comply and, on top of the $5,500 raised organically, our efforts were topped off with a cool $2,000!
So, our announcement got held off, but we think that's okay, because what has come from this project is pretty remarkable. A group of travel bloggers, in all corners of the world, came together for a cause. We proved that, indeed, our presence is felt, people encourage our endeavors, and that our words are heard. Our readers supported us and, thanks to all of you, we succeeded, and jointly we have done good in the world.
As a group of both contributors and bloggers together, we stand 200 strong in support of responsible tourism, and we have made both financial and social efforts towards change.
Now that's a win.
So thank you to everybody involved, and thank you to every person who donated. Our project this year was a huge success, and I know the elephants are forever grateful for everyones support!
For more information on the project, visit the Travel Blogging Calendar's website!