Stern College Class Charity Campaign Goes Viral; Raises $42,000 to Make Home Wheelchair Accessible

For the final project in his “Social Media to Drive Business Results” course at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women, Adjunct Instructor Rob Longert gave students a simple assignment: raise money for a charitable cause by crowdfunding—collecting small amounts of money towards a shared goal from a large group of donors, usually via online platforms—using the social media tools they had learned in his class.

The group knew they had to focus on an achievable goal. They kept their expectations realistic. After meeting to discuss their options, they settled on the case of Sara Bezaley, a young girl from Great Neck, New York, who suffered terrible complications after contracting swine flu at age 7. Liran Weizman, a senior in the class majoring in public relations and psychology, had met Bezaley the year before while volunteering in the hospital where she was being treated and was immediately struck by her determination to fight and thrive. “Thank God, she’s a rock star,” Weizman said.

The class met with Bezaley’s family, created a video and a webpage, and came up with fun but inexpensive perks for donors. Then they launched their campaign, “Open Hearts, Open Doors,” on crowdfunding site Indiegogo and started reaching out via Twitter, Facebook and email. Their goal: $4,000 to make the bathrooms in Bezaley’s home wheelchair accessible. They gave themselves two weeks to raise the money. Read the rest of this entry…

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