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Control?

A few days ago, a reporter asked me how we planned on keeping control of Cash Mobs.  In this age of social media, anyone could potentially organize a Cash Mob in their community without us necessarily knowing about it; wasn’t that a big flaw of our model? On the contrary, I responded, I think that is one of the great (unintended) strengths of how Cash Mobs have evolved. Each person who wants to organize a Cash Mob is encouraged to do so; we’re not trying to oversee them all.

Cash Mobs are organized by individuals in each community who want to do something good. Many of the early adapters like Lauren Way in San Diego, Lisa Gilmore in Los Angeles and Joanne Forster-Coffin in Chicago have long histories of leadership and civic involvement. It is inspiring that they are still so incredibly active in their communities, and that we are now all working on this together. The part of this adventure that has been even more rewarding, though, has been seeing people who don’t have that sort of history of civic involvement hearing about Cash Mobs and thinking to themselves that they, too, could have an impact in their community.  These people inevitably email us to say that they decided to stop wishing that things were different and that they decided to organize a Cash Mob.  This is almost always followed by an email a few weeks later to say that they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, and that they were already planning their next mob.

The best thing we can do is help people take responsibility for their communities, and it sometimes feels like we’re giving people the tools to become community leaders. Beyond the short-term cash infusion that a Cash Mob has in a business, I think that helping people become more active in their communities will be the best legacy we can leave.

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7 Comments

  1. Lolo says:

    It is wonderful to watch mobs popping up all over. And people coming with questions like, “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING! HELP!” And being able to find their footing and find how a mob works for them. What a joy to be a part of watching this movement grow!

  2. suzanne says:

    How about extending the mobs to volunteering or donating? Other comment was on children’s charities – great idea. How about blood mob (yick) for donating blood to a much needed blood bank or a visiting mob to go to lonely seniors at retirement centers in our own communities. There is no end to the possibilities!

    • Andrew Samtoy says:

      There are precedents for these ideas, but they’re not the kind of thing we are organizing – we are focused on supporting local businesses in our communities. Thanks!

  3. Lisa Gilmore says:

    Well said, Mr. Samtoy.

  4. Vicki Conley says:

    Great article! We are planning our 1st Cash Mob in Windsor CO this Saturday. I spoke to several businesses yesterday along Main Street and none of them had heard of Cash Mobs. All of them were hesitant to talk to me at first but as I explained the concept it was so awesome to see them come alive as they understood what this could do for their business. This movement will organically feed itself and just keep getting better and better. Thank you Andrew for all the effort and organization you have put into this to make it easy for anyone to bring to their community.

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