March 15, 2019
Sofa Cushion Challenge Domains Created! Sofa Cushion Challenge Domains Created! Sofa Cushion Challenge Domains Created!
The California Turtle & Tortoise Club - Valley Chapter — and specifically Karen Berry, the chapter's treasurer and adoption chairperson — helped me out when my mom got cancer. I had to babysit my mom's tortoise even though I didn't know anything about tortoises. But Karen answered every frantic phone call and even did a yard consultation to help me make the changes necessary for a safe tortoise environment. Ever since, I've been doing whatever I could to help out the club.
In 2018, Karen told me about a recent influx of rescued tortoises that couldn't immediately be adopted out again. Their problems required expensive surgeries or treatments and sometimes years of rehabilitation. The chapter simply wasn't set up for that degree of long-term care. And bottom line, they didn't have the money for everything that needed to be done. I gave them a donation. Additionally, though, I volunteered to do publicity for their main annual fundraiser - the Valley Chapter Turtle & Tortoise Show.
Fortune smiled and the assignment editor at NBC-4 News was kind enough to arrange an interview for Bob Hazard, the CTTC Valley Chapter president, on the 11:00 Morning News. It occurred to me, then, that it would be good to have a GoFundMe page set up so that it might be mentioned at the interview. Perhaps the club might have received the help they needed then, just as a result of the public hearing about it on the news. Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to get charity certification for the Valley Chapter prior to the interview. In fact, the approval didn't come until March of 2019.
With the interview long past, I found myself faced with attempting to launch a GoFundMe campaign without any way to publicize it. The biggest problem I could see with a "Sick and Injured Tortoise" fundraiser was that — in the scheme of things — it seems so tiny. Why should anyone give money to something like a sick tortoise when there are so many other, larger problems in the world that need addressing? Then again, perhaps a "tiny" problem needs a "tiny" solution. Why not simply ask for pocket change? With enough people on board, even pennies can add up.
Consider this. There are currently 7 billion people on planet Earth. Hypothetically, if each one were to donate a penny, that would be $70 million dollars! Well, we all know that will never happen. But it gets you thinking, no? If I were to give a dollar and ask all my friends to give a dollar and then if each of them asked their friends, you begin to see how the whole thing has the potential to snowball. But how to present such a thing to the public?
The idea of a "Sofa Cushion Challenge" had come up twice before in my life. The first time was at a party in college and it was really just a joke. The second time was on my blog (long since retired). On January 8, 2005, I asked my readers to each dig under the sofa cushions and donate the amount they found to the South Asian Tsunami relief effort. I even called it "The Sofa Cushion Challenge" and went on at some length about how it was possible to make a collective difference even if the same wasn't true individually.
So when the concept of "pocket change" occurred to me this time around, the "Sofa Cushion Challenge" came hard on its heals. As a result, on March 15, 2019, I registered three domain names: SofaCushionChallenge.com, SofaCushionChallenge.org, and SofaCushionChallenge.net. I decided to go with .org officially because the California Turtle & Tortoise Club has been a registered non-profit for many years and the Valley Chapter's PayPal Giving Fund charity certification had also just come through. In fact, though, typing any of the three addresses into the address bar of any internet browser will take you to the Sofa Cushion Challenge homepage.
And tell your friends...