While I’ve had the priviledge of being involved in establishing or continuing a great many fundraising and community development events over the years as parts of myriad organizations and initiatives with which I’ve worked, there are several events that I can call my own.
The events below are either my own creation, or done in collaboration with close friends and colleagues.
GNARHAMPSHIRE | 2014 | DURHAM, NH
Gnarhampshire was created as a response to the disparate outdoor entities on the campus on the University of New Hampshire. The university boasts the following entities and organizations operating within the sphere of outdoor activities: UNH Outdoor Adventures (Campus recreation), The New Hampshire Outing Club, Outdoor Education Major Program, Recreation Management and Policy Major Program, The Rock Climbing Club, The Mountain Biking Club, The Ski Club, and The Recreation Society. None of these organizations cooperate with each other and there has been no initiative taken by university administration to urge collaboration among these groups, nor to position these groups within the greater context of Durham’s proximity among myriad nearby town lands, state administered green space and wildlife refuges or the greater New England public and private lands available to UNH students. The Gnarhampshire project sought to unify the activities of these disparate entities, as well as the independent activities of the general student body through social media into a centralized platform and spread awareness of all the things that UNH students participate in outdoors. A photo contest was created to encourage participation and upload of visual user content to promote the outdoor activities available to students and encourage cross promotion of campus organizations and departments.
- Develop a clever and mission relevent name upon which to build the brand
- Develop branding focused at target college demographic
- Secure domain name for aggregation of social network feeds at a centralized site
- Secure WordPress Site
- Define rules and guidelines for the project
- Setup a network of social network distribution channels:Instagram, Facebook & Twitter
- Aggregate to WordPress
- Secure project partners to donate mission appropriate outdoor incentives for participation
- Cinnamon Rainbows Surf Shop – Surf/SUP Rental and Lesson
- UNH Outdoor Adventures – Vouchers for Trips and Gear
- UNH Recreation Management and Policy Department – GoPro Hero 3 Camera
- Secure a dedicated group of enthusiastic undergrad evangelists for the project
- Encourage early participation and word of mouth/online sharing advertising
- Print posters for campus canvassing
- Engage leaders in campus outdoor groups to participate
- Launch photo contest with prizes
- Participants must promote UNH and the Gnarhampshire project through relevent hashtags in order to be eligible for prizes (#UNH & #GNARHAMPSHIRE)
- Repost participant photos with clever and mission appropriate verbage
- To date: 250 Followers on Instagram
- To date: 286 Reposts representing approximately 360 total user contributions
CHOPHOUSE HIJACK | 2009-2010 | QUINCY, IL
Chophouse Hijack was a project born out of a desire to support local restaurants in their critical first year of business. The idea came from seeing so many new restaurants taking risks with unique cuisine floundering to get patrons into seats in a conservative midwestern community. We sought to create a “flash mob” type of atmosphere while incorporating the businesses into the planning process.
- Contact a local business to ask if they’d be willing to host on their slowest night during the week.
- Guarantee them 20 new patrons on that night in exchange for “hijacking” (aka: taking over) their establishment with art, music, film, or any other entertainment we wanted. If we didn’t meet the 20 person minimum, they could turn off our music and kick us out.
- A total of 10 local restaurants were hijacked over the course of a year
- The fewest participants at any hijacking was 40. The highest count was 110.
- Entertainment such as stand up comedians, live DJ’s and musicians, visual art installations, independent film screenings and thematic playlists and decorations were employed.
- Partnerships were developed with the Sustainable Agriculture Program at the local Community College to provide local and fresh ingredients for some events
- The local Rotary and Exchange club chapters invited me to present and discuss the project at their monthly meetings
- The concept inspired the creation of a local “One” restaurant that featured variety entertainment in the Chophouse Hijack theme
- In 2014, the Chophouse Hijack name was revived with my blessing. I have no connection to the events conducted after 2011
THE BIG DAM FILM FESTIVAL | 2006-13 | QUINCY, IL
Named for Quincy’s historical Lock and Dam #21 on the Mississippi River, the film festival was the first of its kind in the area and was the product of a collaboration between several area partners. The inaugural festival sold-out of all tickets to fill the 220 seat historical downtown theater and featured the best three-hours of short films selected from over 80 entries from around the world. The event became a staple in Quincy for eight years. I handed over coordination of the event to an event planning committee at Young Professionals Quincy in 2009 and have not been involved since.
- The first year relied upon an outreach heavy model to specifically contact filmmakers and urge them to submit films. Subsequent years required less of this due to the general awareness of the festival and its reputation
- Internet resources were leveraged for the majority of call for entries and submission recruitment.
- Film selection was conducted by committee with preference given for local and regional filmmakers
- Community partners were sought for sponsorship to offset fixed facility and logistics costs. For all years in which I was involved, or fixed costs were met entirely by sponsorships, thus allowing for ticket sales to be 100% profit directed to the YP Quincy organization
- Community partners were also sought as ticket sales locations and distribution
- Introduced Independent Film to the Quincy, Illinois and the region
- Inspired the creation of several local amateur independent film projects
- Inspired a companion film festival comprised of exclusively local filmmakers in 2011 called The Moving Pictures Film Festival
- Acted as the principal fundraiser for the Young Professionals Quincy community development organization.
- The First year generated $1800 for the organization and engaged nearly a dozen local entities into cooperative partnership with the event
- Put Quincy, Illinois on the radar of accomplished filmmakers as a festival to which they could submit
- Collaborated with a community development organization in Springfield, IL for a second showing of year-two’s films in the State Capitol
QUINCY HYBRIDS COMPILATION CD | 2003 | QUINCY, IL
Quincy Hybrids was my first big project. I had been running a recording studio out of my parents basement from the age of 20, and was looking for a way to launch myself into legitimacy and grow the business into a commercial space. I saw a way to do that through a major release of a compilation CD of local bands.
The project was designed to accomplish three goals:
- Create a well-crafted product to serve as a marketing piece for my studio and project management services
- Establish relationships with bands in the area through which to conduct future business
- Establish regional awareness of my business and my brand from which to build
The phases of the project were as follows:
- Establish the brand in conjunction with partners with appropriate skill to complete the layout of the CD itself and associated branding
- Build relationships and commitment with local talent. Ultimately 16 bands were selected for inclusion
- Establish partnerships with community businesses to help offset costs associated with production
- Where applicable, offer recording services for the bands that needed it, or arrange for digital files from those bands with recordings already
- Work with another local studio for mastering services
- Contract for disk replication, CD sleeve printing and vacuum sealing
- Arrange distribution
- Promote via local media channels
Ultimately, 3200 copies were printed. I needed to sell just 400 copies at the 2003 CD prices of $15 to break even, which I did a couple of years later. (See my Failures page for a detailed analysis). Ultimately, the project accomplished all three goals and helped to propel my recording studio forward and grow it into a business that existed in a commercial space in downtown Quincy until 2010. Incredibly, the CD is still being distributed by Ownlife Records in Lawrence, Kansas as part of a "rare releases" line of albums .