Sunday, February 20, 2011
Now, I don't keep up with Facebook much. I have an account that I do use to keep up with my kids and a few friends, but that's about it.
Even at that low level, I've found it to be a huge time sink. Before I know it, I have clicked several links that further takes me down the Facebook rabbit hole....about 30 degrees separated from where I started.
What caught my eye was the fact that this contest would be used to raise funds for local non profits and charities.
OK, now they had my attention.
From the Rock A Charity website...
"The goal of RockaCharity is to raise awareness and money for local charities while also helping them perfect their elevator pitch. Guests to the event will donate a minimum of $20 for a rock. Guests will then visit three of the small meeting rooms at Link Coworking and hear pitches from three charities. In another meeting room, guests will cast their vote for whom they believe is the most deserving of their donation. At the end of the night we will announce the winner who will receive 50% of the money raised. The remaining charities will split 50%."
So I hastily set up a community page from my parent page and announced our presence in the competition and we blogged about it here. The premise was simple.
Each contestant's page would be visited at 9 AM on Tuesday and after 48 hours, it would be visited again. The top three pages with the most "likes" gained in that 48 hours would be invited to compete at Rock A Charity.
Holy cow...we gained well over 1100 new votes in that 48 hours.
Needless to say, we received our invite, along with two other non profits...
Well Aware and English at Work.
You couldn't take anything out of the room...you worked with what you had. The previous week, we attended a meet-and-greet breakfast to introduce ourselves to the other charities and we "drew" for rooms. While we drew the smallest room, we were just happy to have a shot.
Ron West showed up a few minutes after us, bringing with him a 23 inch wide screen monitor for the display. Diane took care of getting things set up and organized so the room could accommodate as many people as possible while still having a decent flow and appearence.
She did a great job...had I done it, it would have been a man-cave, streaming sports on the monitor with a cooler of beer in the corner.
When the doors opened at 7 PM, Link Coworking filled quickly. Only the first 200 people would be allowed admittance, so there was a bit of a line when the big hand crossed the 12.
We had our first visitors at 7:02.
The idea was to give an "elevator pitch" to your audience. Imagine trying to explain what your organization does while sharing an elevator with someone...give them the facts and doing so while maintaining their attention and not boring them into leaving the elevator short of their destination.
And really, what we do at HeliOS is perfectly suited for such a presentation...there's not a lot of fluff here. We simply do what we do.
The evening progressed at a busy level. We rarely found ourselves alone and between Skip Guenter, Diane and me, we took turns giving the presentation.
Like I said, it was a small room. At one time, we had 9 people in there with us...
Did I mention it was a small room? 9 people sharing that space at once got a bit cozy. Not a claustrophobic's favored environment.
And it paid off...
At 9:30 PM, the "counting room" that contained the three bowls of rocks was closed and the organizers tallied the scores...
I want to thank the people that took the time to "like" our Facebook page. Some commented to me privately that they thought it was a silly way to measure an organization's worth, and maybe they are right. Only a fraction of the votes we received were from the Austin area. Two-thirds of our votes came from the international Free Software community.
While what we do does not impact most of these people directly, they still saw value in HeliOS and helped us get to the dance. And that was all I had originally asked of you. Just get us in the door and we would do the rest. Thank you.
Instructional Technology Specialist at Angelo State University, he is most aware of how Free Software can impact the world of academics.
Brian also acted as our official photographer and he has provided all the pictures published here and in our albums. Thank you Brian.
And of course, most importantly, I want to thank Liz Elam and Courtney Clark, from Link Coworking and Austininvolved.org for making this event happen. I am more than sure a collective "whew" was uttered when the event ended. These ladies are making possible the funding for non profits that need it most.
And as an aside, Sarah from Well Aware climbed on a plane this morning to go to Kenya and supervise the digging of another well for that drought-stricken area....while I sit here at my computer and piddle with inventories...
God Speed Sarah.
We will take part in the next Rock A Charity, but not as a contestant. We will, in one form or another, help sponsor the event.
blather and mumbling provided by Ken Starks at 9:43 AM