World In Crisis: In recent years, new methods have emerged to help those who need it the most in times of crisis


Mason Klain

Sophomore Mason Klain accepts his award as the first ever Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Student of the Year. Klain raised over $101,000 in honor of his grandmother by using a mix of methods: social media, email, phone calling and face-to-face conversation.

Lin-Lin Mo, Feature Reporter

Sophomore Mason Klain raised over $101,000 from Jan. 12 to March 2 by sending out a message similar to this:

“Hi, my name is Mason Klain, and I am running for the first ever Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Student of the Year Campaign. I am running in honor of my grandma Elaine Levinson who passed away from a very rare type of Lymphoma about three years ago. I would be honored if you would contribute to my campaign in honor of my grandma. Any donation would be very much appreciated.”

Governments were the first responders to the biggest humanitarian crisis of the last century: World War II. But times have changed; ever since the creation of social media, it has become a valuable tool to transfer funds and resources to areas of crises. Recently, this has been brought to light by the efforts of Love Army for Somalia, a Gofundme campaign that aims to eliminate the biggest humanitarian crisis of this era: 20 million people facing the threat of starvation and famine in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria, according to the United Nations.

Klain is the first Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Indiana Student of the Year, an honor given to the student who raised the most money for the society in the seven week time window, but he said social media wasn’t the secret key to unlocking donors’ wallets.

“My big philosophy for the campaign was don’t be a kid,” Klain said. “That sounds kind of weird, but if you were to go around any lunchroom, any coffee shop, talk to any teenagers, any high schoolers, and say, ‘Hey, if you were to raise a $100, how would you do it?’ I would guess 90 percent of those kids would say, ‘Oh, I’d just post something on Instagram or Snapchat or Twitter.’ I did that a little bit, but my main focus was email, phone calling, meeting up in person.”

But the difference was, Klain wasn’t solving an urgent, international crises, which is the target of organizations like Amnesty International, a humans rights organization, and UNICEF.

Ernest Coverson, Midwest Amnesty International coordinator, said via email, “Methods have changed tremendously; when I first started doing this work, the internet was in its infancy and email was the major force. Now you have so many other avenues electronically and more rapidly that will bring awareness to issues we work on.  The invent of the 24-hour news cycle has changed how awareness happens as well.”

Muskaan Ramchandani, future CHS UNICEF officer and sophomore, said, “Obviously every club is different, but since UNICEF is devoted to fundraising and service, the more people we can reach, the more money we can raise to help kids. I think that social media funding would definitely bring more awareness to our cause and would be especially helpful in helping us campaign outside the doors of CHS. In fact, the leadership team agreed to the fact that that’s something we need to improve upon for the next year.”

Klain said he thinks a more personal approach is effective in situations where it’s improbable that a big enough audience is present to sustain his narrower goal. He said he believed Love Army for Somalia could reach above and beyond their $2 million goal on Gofundme because they had a dramatically different audience outreach than Klain could ever get.

Klain said, “In that situation, there was obviously, as we know, a huge food shortage and all that, it’s easier for them to use Gofundme because they’re celebrities. So I just think for them it was a really good opportunity to use Gofundme … I think that was a really good outcome, and they had a limited amount of space they could do it (with). One plane they filled to the top with barely any space in there.”

On the other hand, UNICEF’s goal is to inversely use social media to find a wider audience. Ramchandani said CHS UNICEF has a Facebook page, an Instagram account and a Snapchat account that it uses to reach more people.

Ramchandani said, “The cash fundraising we do is for a target audience because we are restricted to the people within Carmel, so online fundraising would be something we would use to reach a broader audience in order to raise as much money as possible.”

Amnesty International has a two-pronged tactic: a traditional email list to organization members and social media platforms. Coverson said this is so people can be as well-informed as quickly as possible.

“Also, with the invent of internet fundraising has changed,” Coverson said. “We still utilize regular mailings to members and interested people but we also utilize the internet and social media. We can now alert a person about an issue and instantly ask for their financial support immediately versus waiting days or weeks, where the issue is now old news.

Another philosophy Klain said he held was keep persevering when people refuse to donate.

“I probably got 700 yes’s and 2000 no’s; that’s just the way it works, you keep moving on. You don’t really know what you’re gonna get, so my other philosophy was the worst they could say is no,” Klain said. “The worst possible thing they say is no, and then move on. That’s why I contacted Nike; I tried to contact Under Armour—couldn’t find them—all these big corporate companies the worst thing they can do is say no. The surprise is part of the fun, that’s what makes the fun of the campaign.”