Monday, February 9, 2009

Twitter and Fundraising - 3 days 'til Dallas Twestival

Late last week I sat in on a public conference call for Dallas Twestival, the local version of ground swell volunteerism for Twestival 2009.

Lauren Vargas, local volunteer coordinator for the Dallas event led the call. I asked her in a tweet earlier in the day if it would be barging in for me to be a fly on the wall for the call. She tweeted me right back and assured that it wouldn't be barging at all.

I just love the transparency that shows up when sprinting to organize something within a couple of weeks. As I sat and listened to the stage of planning this group of volunteers was at, it was exciting to hear the excitement and nerves of an event that had a lot of work to do, but was obviously coming together nicely. Different people had stepped up to take on various aspects of the planning. You could hear that there was a level of expertise in various professions that was being tapped into to cover the details of the event. I missed the Sunday evening planning call, but if you'd like to hear the evolution of the event coming together, the Monday evening planning call was recorded and is available here under "clip one".

The group has been doing a good job of using twitter and a wiki site to communicate calls, announcements, and ongoing needs. There is still time for you to step up and figure out how you can fit in to the volunteer coordination.

A couple of observations at this point in the process...

1. These people are great and they mostly seemed to find each other through twitter, with no prior affinity to the charity.

2. Grass roots planning is exciting. It is great to watch a group sprint to finish without any time to get territorial or political.

3. Transparency is so refreshing. It is a great reflection of social media at it's best.

When this make news the morning after, just be aware that this "grass roots effort" had some active blades of grass who do a lot of work for the rest of the lawn. The world wide community was ripe to do something, ANYTHING productive with the community energy. Tapping into that community would demand that you participate in
the conversation. Until your organization is authentically willing to participate in the emerging conversation, social media will continue to be a foreign language for you to interpret in vain.