hohoTO: A Lesson in Using Social Networking for Charity
‘Tis the season, and in our quest to get those cards posted and presents bought, we can often lose sight of what is important at this time of year. It seems that the more we connect in online social networks, the more many of us become aware of and sensitive to the needs of others. Perhaps not all of us, but I do see it happening. I certainly have been opened to more perspectives than before.
In this light, someone in the Toronto Twitter community (specifically my law blogger friend and mesh conference founder Rob Hyndman; or maybe it was Paul Marshall?) posted a message (a “tweet“) wondering about a seasonal meet-up for the Toronto “geek” community. A few ideas were bandied about, and a charity (The Daily Bread Food Bank) was chosen that we might sponsor. A number of people got together informally and laid the groundwork for the event. A fast website, hohoTO.ca, was created. Links to the registration site were sent out via Facebook and Twitter.
Aimed at the Toronto social media, tech and small business community, they invited companies to make this their seasonal party and donate what they would have spent otherwise. Those who took up the call turned into the long list of event sponsors. Most of the resources and work behind the event were to be donated, so that most of the contributions would be directly given to the charity in question. A tag was decided on “#hohoTO” so that all photos, tweets on Twitter, and blog posts could be found on the web.
Connie Crosby at hohoTO’s p#hohoTO booth. Photo courtesy Canon Canada and Rannie Turingan.
Two short weeks later, we had a fantastic party of over 600 people on Monday night at The Mod Club! Best of all, the event raised an astounding $25,000 for the Food Bank in addition to boxes and boxes full of food donations. This video does a great job in explaining just how this “crowdsourced” event worked:
Thanks go out to all the amazing organizers, sponsors, the Mod Club, and my fellow participants!
hohoTO organizers. Photo courtesy Canon Canada and Rannie Turingan.
I especially like the post Rob Hyndman wrote about how this is also a lesson in creativity (Dec. 12/08), how businesses need to open themselves up to saying “yes”. So much can be done by saying “yes” and harnessing the creativity of employees instead of finding reasons to say “no”!
Overall, this was an event that the social media/social networking community in Toronto can be proud of. Well done!