Thousands of Jen Hatmaker Fans Bought Her Book for Strangers
I know what you’re thinking: Not another story about how anonymous people on the Internet can be so nice to each other.
Haven’t we all heard enough about the empathy and kindness within those never-ending comment threads? Aren’t we tired of all the excited exclamation points and heart-eyes emojis?
Well, it’s Valentine’s Day, and here’s one more heartwarming account of online generosity and love. It comes from author Jen Hatmaker’s blog and Facebook page, where readers regularly chime in to share affirmations, funny anecdotes, and helpful parenting tips. Since Hatmaker’s latest book, For the Love, came out last summer, something else has been happening in the comments: whenever someone would mention how she wished she could afford a copy, another woman would chime in to offer to send her one.
This kind of exchange went on so often—about once a week since the book released in August—that this month Hatmaker decided to orchestrate a campaign around it, in partnership with her publisher, Thomas Nelson, and the charity retail site Givingtons. First, any woman could request a copy of the book for herself or a friend in need. Then, at the start of this week, readers could “share the love” by paying $15 to cover the cost of another woman’s request.
“I believe that we can generously love each other, even with something as simple as a book meant to nurture souls,” the Texas writer and speaker told her online tribe. “We all take turns needing each other and loving each other.”
They had 2,250 women sign up for books, and within 48 hours, all of them were paid for. That's a total of $33,750. Over the past few days, dozens more connected on their own in the comments. The books arrive at the end of this week, a message of love—loving God, loving ourselves, loving others—in time for Valentine’s Day.
In some ways, Hatmaker’s giveaway is unremarkable. She’s a bestselling author with about 450,000 Facebook fans, and online giving has become relatively common. It’s an easy, quick, one-time response to a call to action by our friends, networks, and causes we care for.
However, this setup is still pretty unique. The most successful viral crowdfunding campaigns often have specific emotional pulls: dramatic stories presented by video, the ability to track the progress of where your donation is going, or a sense of familiarity with the person in need (think sites like GoFundMe).
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