Maximizing Number of Readers
The success of any x-a-thon starts with the number of participants.In the case of “Read-for-a-Better-World” read-a-thon, this is how many readers in primary through secondary schools participate in the read-a-thon.
Given that there are almost 1.3 Billion children children of school age (about 6-17) of which 75 percent are currently in school (963 million).
If just 5 percent of the children currently in school were to participate that would be close to 50 million participating students (10 percent would be 100 million students).
While 5 percent is a relatively small percent of the children currently in school, mobilizing any number of children on a worldwide basis is a challenge. The following are some of the ways we intend to achieve such penetration around the world.
It is highly unlikely that every country in the world will participate with any initiative in its first year. If countries representing a significant share of the applicable world child population does not participate in this first round, we will need a higher participation rate for the remaining countries.
Attracting children to participate on an individual basis or via many thousands of unrelated small organizations is highly unlikely to achieve any significant share of all children worldwide. As a result, our strategy is to try to mobilize as many teachers as possible to support the read-a-thon in their schools.
Teachers are very familiar with read-a-thons. They also look for opportunities to motivate their students to learn and especially read. There are a number of incentives to motivate students to participate and read as much as they can. This can create enthusiasm that can result in more engaged students which will make educator’s lives easier.
The challenge, however, is that educators are very busy and like most people are more likely to participate in things many other teachers are also participating in (safety in numbers).
Mobilizing the people of influence
- get representatives of a number of organizations of influence endorsing and talking about the read-a-thon (e.g. Influential leaders of the UN, UNICEF, UNESCO, other service, charitable and educational organizations, etc.)
- get a number of people of influence endorsing and talking about the read-a-thon (e.g. celebrities of all kinds, business and civic leaders, etc.)
- get a lot of local organizations/chapters of organizations to promote local support for the read-a-thon (e.g. Rotary and its youth organizations have some 65,000 local chapters in almost every area of the world and are used to rallying their local communities to support various causes. In this case such local clubs can generate expectation of participation by announcing local awards for local schools, classes and students based on the number of hours read in the schools in their communities. Other organizations would also be invited to participate in promoting/supporting the local read-a-thon.)
Incentives and Community Involvement
Generate a lot of talk about incentives to students to participate in the read-a-thon, such as giving every hour read a value. In other words by relating hours read to donations to save or dramatically change the lives of some of the world’s most disadvantaged children. This can be especially effective in schools in poorer communities where the children or their families are otherwise not able to be involved in contributing to changing the world. By assigning a value to each hour read, even the children in the poorest of circumstances would have the opportunity to better the lives of others thereby contributing to their own sense of self worth.
Donation Challenge Competition Incentives:
Challenge Competitions are a special type of incentive. We all know how effective competition is as a motivator. In this case, donors can create challenge donation pledges that are awarded in the name of schools, classes or individuals that achieve superior results with regard to the read-a-thon. Such challenge pledges related to local schools also promotes the expectation that local schools will be participating.