Snoball Provides Structure, Incentive to Make Resolutions a Reality

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • A new year brings a new start. But how do you keep your resolutions going so that you improve your diet, start an exercise routine, or make necessary health change?

    After much trial and error in the past, I think I’ve identified a system that has proven to be one of the few ways to keep me on track. Since I’ve never been good at creating and maintaining routines in my life, I’ve been very thankful that I found Snoball. This website has provided me with both a weekly structure and an incentive to help me make progress.

    Snoball is an online program that allows you to develop goals (which are called “rules”) that you then tie to a specific charity that you want to support financially. Once you have created this type of rule, you receive a weekly email asking whether you completed the rule during that time span. If you reply yes, you’re taken to the Snoball website and follow prompts so that a secure website will charge your credit card for the donation amount that you predetermined when making the rule. And if you reply no, a donation won’t be made, but Snoball will remind you of your rule the following week.

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    I started using Snoball in July and have found that it helps me stay focused on my goals. Thus far, I’ve created 12 Snoballs related to different facets of my life that I want to improve. Several of these are related to diet, exercise and general health. For instance, I created one Snoball that is tied to the goal of walking the dogs four times a week. If I succeed in achieving this weekly goal, I agree to donate $1 to the Miniature Schnauzer Rescue group from whom we adopted our dogs. Other health-related Snoballs include exercising 200 minutes a week, taking vitamins regularly (I warned you that I was bad at routines), and standing for two hours on most days (since sitting continuously is bad for your health – but that will be a future blog).

    And there are other ways you could incorporate Snoball into your health routines. For instance, you and your exercise partner(s) could always use Snoball to make even a bigger difference. For instance, if your group is training for an athletic event (such as the Susan B. Komen Marathon for the Cure), you all can create goals through Snoball that take you through the training process. Your successes would provide additional funding for your chosen charity beyond what you gain from donors who support your participation. Or if you’re a member of an athletic team, you and your teammates can select a charity through Snoball and then give whenever your team wins.

    In fact, this social aspect is how Snoball was originally designed by its creators. Jeremy Kelley, the CEO of the company, told me that his team is trying to create a new fundraising paradigm. That paradigm would involve 1 million people giving at least $1 to charity instead of one person giving $1 million. Snoball further changes the paradigm by helping the charity with cash flow since donations through the program come throughout the year instead of primarily at the end of the year.

  • “Social networks are very easy for anyone to participate in,” John Ludlow, the chief strategy officer for Snoball, told Forbes contributor Ben Kerschberg recently. “People enjoy being connected. What’s lacking from today’s social network is the social action that is the core of social giving to bring about social good. Online giving is ripe for social action. Around 70% who give online do so because they are invited, especially by their friends. Snoball makes it frictionless to give and to invite others to give with them.”

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Published On: January 03, 2012