We’ve been busy building a community where people can collaborate on actively creating change. From posh parties to taking over street vendors, we’re having fun and making a difference in Bangkok. So as the world gears up to celebrate Twestival and many of you are brainstorming other ways to support charity through social media, I wanted to share a few things that have made our events successful.
You don’t have to be using social media to benefit from these tips. They can be applied to almost any social meeting, whether you’re managing events for a nonprofit or want to have a birthday where you do something to give back.
Small Stones, Big Ripples: Start with your friends and organize people around your plan to save the world. Refine your plan and make it realistic. Get the word out about what you’re doing and connect with other groups in your area. Soon you’ll find you have a small community. Choose a cause you’re passionate about and consider the variety of ways to contribute with your event. You may want to read my interview with Tom Potisit as an example of a small project making big ripples.
Transparency Required: Be ready to show people results. Transparency must be cultivated before, during, and after your event. Keep in mind, building integrity is about more than where the money goes. You should spend time connecting people attending your fundraiser with chances to participate in your cause. I love the feeling the day after the event when I have an inbox full of comments and emails to answer about how people can begin volunteering. As people see the benefits of what you’re doing they’ll be both more interested and more likely to give.
Plan Well, Care Less: Plan well and commit to your cause. When I decided something should be done to help urban refugees, I was determined to be a part of the solution whether or not my event was a success. I was able to care less in many situations because my commitment to change actually freed me from some of the anxieties of event organizing. Don’t let negativity or tight pockets shoot down your goals. When potential sponsors don’t answer your emails or return your phone calls, the need for change still exists. Social change DOES NOT require big sponsors or celebrities. Use me as proof. In Search of Sanuk has accomplished a great deal through our community and we haven’t hosted a sponsored event yet. How much more will you be able accomplish with all your connections?
The Law of Harry & Hurry: What I call the “Law of Harry and Hurry” is an extension of the above idea. No one wants a guilt trip about going to see Harry Potter instead of showing up at your charity event. People are busy. You can’t expect them to match your level of commitment, so don’t make them feel bad about their Harry or their hurry. Relax. Tell them not to worry if they can’t make it and make sure they know how they can get involved in other ways. You could always ask in a loud voice, “What do you have against ORPHANS?!” But I’m not sure how effective that would be. Show you’re committed with or without them. When they recognize this, they’ll be even more eager to work with you. In Bangkok we’re determined to make a difference, come take part.
Passion Wanted: Attract passionate people to your event. When we host the Bangkok Tweetup, I’m always amazed at the how diverse the crowd can be. They love travel, they’re business owners, and an array of other interesting pursuits. Remember, when all else fails cold beer and cool people wins you more high quality members than any amount of themes, raffles, or door prizes. Spend less time printing fancy name tags and more time engaging people about your cause and encouraging them to meet the other great people who came.
I hope these suggestions have been helpful. We’re volunteering almost every weekend and we’re hosting Twestival Bangkok in September. We will keep providing outlets for change to happen here. Let me know what you’re doing where you are!
“Dream big, work smart, start local.”