The $24,213 Thank-You Letter


Dear Friends,

I got up at 5am in Anchorage last Monday to publish this post, all about a business offer I was partnering with to donate my proceeds to our Ethiopia project.

At the moment I pressed the publish button, I knew it was a good promotion and I trusted Karol and Adam—but I wasn’t entirely sure how readers would respond. We had no pre-launch to let people know this was coming, it was a busy time of the year, and I was just wrapping up our own only-once-a-year sale at

I was also a little tired and distracted by book tour, so after I published the post, I went back to bed. I woke up 90 minutes later when Adam sent me a text message that said we had already accrued $5,000 in donations.

Wow! That was a pretty good start.

Throughout the rest of the day and the following two days, the sales kept coming in. Many people began spreading the AONC affiliate link on Twitter so the sales would go toward our project. By the end of the first day we were well over $10,000 in donations, not counting the additional 5% donation that Adam and Karol were throwing in.

We finished the 72-hour sale with a total of $24,213 (and fourteen cents!) in accrued donations from AONC readers. Thank you so much! Together with the additional donation from the overall sales, Karol and Adam will be writing checks for more than $33,000 to our friends at Charity: Water.

A Note on Business Lessons

As mentioned in the original post, Karol and Adam did a great job with this project by a) creating a compelling offer and b) using leverage to gather a lot of support from a wide range of authorities. I’ve scheduled an interview with them to discuss some more in-depth lessons for our Empire Building Kit owners—if you’re in the group, you can expect that to go up by the end of the year.

The other thing I liked about this project is that it wasn’t strictly a charity drive. Instead of just soliciting funds, we created a win-win situation where buyers received $1,000 of resources for just $97, and then the bulk of the $97 went to our Ethiopia project. No one loses in that situation—everyone wins.

I know some people don’t like the line between non-profit and commercial work to be blurred, but I actually think it’s better and more interesting that way. It also ties in well with the overall message of AONC: you don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to, and you can do good things for yourself and for others at the same time.

A Note on Responsibility

After the sale was over, I reflected on the experiencing of writing a blog post that creates $24,000 in value in a short time. Of course, I realize it’s not so much the writing of the post but the action that readers take that create the success—but nevertheless, the results also filled me with a sense of responsibility.

Many times in my life I have thought of the expression, “Where much is given, much is required.” If you prefer, the secular version comes from Spiderman: with great power comes great responsibility. The point is that it’s fantastic to have such a responsive community out there—you guys are great and I’m thrilled to be able to do this every day.

The sale is over, but you can always make a contribution over here if you’re so inclined. 100% of the funds go directly to the field, and I’ll be taking a (very small) group to Ethiopia in late 2011 to document what’s been done so far.

As always, thanks so much for reading AONC, and have a great week wherever you are.

Yours in World Domination,

– Chris

P.S. I’m headed out tomorrow to begin the big West Coast finale of the entire U.S. tour. 44 stops down, only nine to go—San Fran, Reno, L.A., Phoenix, Albuquerque, Seattle, and Portland. The schedule is here and I’d love to meet you if you’re around. Bring friends and cupcakes!


Image: Charity: Water

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