But tell a teenager that ten dollars can save the life of a child in Africa by preventing malaria, that is tangible and they are on board.
Addressing a conference of 6,000 Methodist youths in North Carolina last year, Bishop Thomas Bickerton held up his own $10 and told the crowd: “This represents your lunch today at McDonald’s or your pizza tonight from Domino’s. Or you could save a human life.”More than ever, young people are becoming engaged. They look around and see so much that needs to be done, and they want to do something. A ten dollar mosquito net is something that they can do, that is within their reach and that matters on a real, one-to-one level. It allows them to connect in a very real way.
The lights were so bright that he could see only what was happening at his feet. “They just showered the stage with $10 bills,” Bishop Bickerton said. “In 30 seconds, we had $16,000. I’m just lucky they didn’t throw coins.”
Part of what has helped the campaign catch on is its sheer simplicity and affordability — $10 buys one net to save a child. Nothing But Nets, the best-known campaign, has raised $20 million from 70,000 individuals, most of it in donations averaging $60.
That is a small fraction of the overall need, which experts estimate at $2.5 billion. But it gives the effort a populist edge, and participation is psychologically rewarding for anyone whose philanthropic pockets are shallower than those of Bill Gates.
And to think that it all started because Rick Reilly, a columnist for Sports Illustrated took his daughter to Venice and got his ass whooped trying to keep up with a teenage daughter on a shopping trip. Exhausted and channel surfing back in the hotel, he landed on a BBC documentary and stopped to watch for a moment, and it hit him...“I thought, ‘That’s a column,’ ” he said. “Sports is nothing but nets — basketball nets, tennis nets, soccer nets, lacrosse nets, jumping the net, cutting down nets, the New Jersey Nets, girls in fishnets, whatever ... .”
And from one fathers exhaustion, a movement was spawned, and lives have been saved.