No magic; no free lunch

As you can see above, Gov. Brown promised to raise $10,100 for UC by holding a brown bag lunch.  Various other fund raising promises were made in connection with a campaign – Promises for Education – announced at the September Regents meeting.  The campaign, which appears to be over although the website persists [], raised $1.3 million.
From the LA Times: An unusual effort by the UC system to raise scholarship money through online crowd-funding tactics — including promises by faculty and students to lead hikes, wash cars and wear kooky costumes — has garnered $1.3 million, officials said Wednesday.

The formal part of the six-week Promise for Education campaign ended Oct. 31, and about 4,000 people donated to it via social media…
When it was announced publicly in September, about $900,000 already had been given or pledged in mainly traditional ways: large donations from businesses and UC regents, along with $400,000 from the estate of a New York state history teacher, Abraham Trop, whose three children attended UC. The next $400,000 came from gifts averaging $75 each, responding to nearly 1,030 promises to do often light-hearted activities if a donation goal was met, Simon said…

Now here’s the thing.  The idea appeared to be one of demonstrating the magic of social media to do things such as raise money.  The real amount raised by social media – if you read the article above and assume that all of the 1,030 promises in fact were communicated only by social media – was $75 per donation (just under $400 per promise so each promise got about 5 donations).  How much would have been raised by a postal campaign with similar attributes and PR? 

Now there is nothing wrong with raising money for UC, au contraire.  But social media magic, this wasn’t.  Unless you believe, of course: