Menu for Hope 4: Call for Entries

Editor's note: Warning—nonpizza content follows. But it's for a great cause, so no grumbling, folks! —The Mgmt.

20071130mfhlogosmall.jpgIt's that time of year again. As many of you who publish or read food blogs know, each year Pim Techamuanvivit of Chez Pim organizes her Menu for Hope campaign, in which food bloggers from around the globe come together to help those who are less fortunate.

For those unfamiliar, Menu for Hope is an online charity event in which bloggers donate a prize that goes into a virtual raffle. Readers and others may then buy virtual raffle tickets for one or (hopefully) more prizes. Tickets are priced at $10 each, and bidders may buy multiple tickets per prize to increase chances of winning—hint, hint! ;)

Dozens of great food-related prizes are offered each year, with proceeds going to the U.N. World Food Programme, which seeks to fight hunger worldwide. Last year's Menu for Hope raised a staggering $62,925.

As she did last year, Pim has enlisted the help of "regional hosts" to share some of the work that goes into making MfH run smoothly. Serious Eats will be helping out in the East Coast USA region. (A list of other regions appears after the jump.)

I've already contacted last year's East Coast participants (those I had contact addresses for, anyway), but I'd like to call on any other East Coast–based food bloggers who would like to help the cause.

If you're located on the U.S. East Coast and would like to participate this year, instructions follow after the jump. You must contact the regional host for your area to get a prize code before you can post your Menu for Hope prize on your blog. But hurry with your prize proposals, as we only have slots for 99 East Coast USA entries!

Preparation: Before December 5

1. Come up with a gift, or a set of gifts, to offer as a raffle prize. You could offer books, foods (your specialty or those of your part of the world), or solicit gift certificates from restaurants or food producers in your area. Remember that you will also be responsible for shipping the prize to the raffle winner, no matter where they live. So, please make sure you'll be able to afford the shipping cost as well.

Basically, the prize should be valuable enough to generate a good interest, let's say 20 bidders, on its own. And the prize should also appeal to your readers—something that would inspire a good number of them to donate for it. Need inspiration? Here's a list of prizes donated last year: Menu for Hope III Prize List

2. Email your prize proposal to your regional host for approval.

3. Upon approval, provide two images of your gifts, one at 100x100-pixel thumbnail and another a bit larger at 250x250 pixels. Please remember to optimize the images for the web as well.

4. Provide a description of your gifts. You're trying to sell the gifts to our donors, so be persuasive, be very persuasive!

5. Email all of the above—BY DECEMBER 5—to the corresponding regional host, as follows:


What Happens Next

Draft a blog post for your site that describes the Menu for Hope event and that lists your prize—with image(s) and a detailed, persuasive description of your prize. Your host will provide you with the link to the Firstgiving web page where your readers can buy a ticket. But, hold up there, tiger—don't post this entry until December 10!

Your regional host will use your images and descriptions to create a blog entry that lists all the prizes in your region, with a link back to your own post about your prize.

To be clear: You will create an entry on your own site that gives your readers info on Menu for Hope as well as a detailed, persuasive description of your prize. Your regional host's roundup of prizes serves as a sort of "index" or "table of contents" page for the region—one single page that makes it easier to browse all the prizes available in that region.

A sample of what your prize will look like on the East Coast USA regional roundup here on Serious Eats follows, below.


During the Live Campaign: Dec. 10 to 21

1. On December 10, publish your blog post about the campaign and your raffle prize and ask—no, beg—your readers to donate money to buy virtual raffle tickets to support the World Food Programme. Each $10 will give the donor one virtual raffle ticket for a prize of his/her choice. (S/he can specify desired prize in the comment area of the donation form.)

2. Be active during the time our campaign is live. Monitor how your raffle prize is doing on the fundraising page, and encourage more of your readers to donate. You may also write about other prizes that your readers might be interested in.


About the Money Collection

Who collects the funds? Certainly not us nor any of the other bloggers participating on the campaign. Menu for Hope uses a very good online fundraising company called Firstgiving, which has worked with MfH from the start.

Donors can make an online donation with a credit card. Firstgiving collects and processes the payments and, at the end of the campaign, transfers the donations in one lump sum to the WFP. This is a win-win situation for all parties involved. The bloggers never touch the money. The WFP doesn't waste overhead on processing mini-donations, the majority of which are between $10 and $50. Firstgiving does all the work and collects a small fee, which includes the credit card processing charges.

Thank you in advance for your help.


Sample Prize Item

YOUR BLOG NAME HERE | Tasty Sandwich

20071129mfhprize03.jpgYour description should be about 100 words long, or about as long as this sample paragraph... Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Praesent a eros sed augue ultricies volutpat. Morbi scelerisque, arcu a mattis volutpat, quam purus aliquam odio, ut aliquet felis augue vitae leo. Cras varius lorem at ante. Nam vel magna. Nullam sed lorem. Quisque libero sem, venenatis a, sagittis nec, scelerisque a, ligula. Suspendisse dui. Cras auctor. In eleifend quam vel leo. Phasellus tincidunt facilisis nisi. Vivamus et ligula. Suspendisse sed nisl. Phasellus placerat, leo non venenatis aliquam, mi nisl mattis velit, viverra mollis odio. Read more at Foodblogname »

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