The True Spirit of SXSW – The Genesis of #SXSWCares


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I’m admittedly behind on posting and I apologize. Lots of good work going on at Live Path, and travel has also beckoned. This week, I find myself at sxsw doing some client work and meeting up with some of the best and brightest minds in digital/interactive. However, I have found myself distracted and deeply saddened by the news from Japan. Turns out, I’m not the only one.

On Friday, I stopped into the Blogger lounge and met up with digital pal and Blogworld Expo diva, Deb Ng. We talked about how surreal it was carrying on our lives hwne people’s lives were being literally wiped away in Japan. I told Deb, “We oughta start a hashtag – like ‘sxswcares’ and drive donations to the Red Cross.” Deb loved the idea, and a movement was born. We began pushing people to text donations to 90999 (Red Cross) and planning our next steps. I reached out to media relations and the Red Cross.

About an hour later, I heard about Rob Wu, who had started a #sxsw4japan movement here. We immediately met in the Samsung Blogger Lounge and pooled our resources, using his platform, CauseVox to build a website to direct donations to the Red Cross. We’d both been trained in disaster recovery with the Red Cross – and it was such an awesome collaborative effort. While Rob customized the website he’d already started with a new logo created on the fly by Hugh McLeod (Gaping Void), I wrote copy and finalized the partner agreement with the Red Cross. Deb circulated and told people about the movement and stimulated some great buzz.

We worked ambitiously all day and launched the sxswcares website (sxsw4japan) officially at 6:30pm. Before we launched, we had about $2k in donations. In just 24 hours, we have generated more than $7k in donations. We created some sxsw cares cards and are circulating them, and are seeing mentions in posts, articles and tweets at the hashtag #sxswcares on Twitter. While we can’t track text donations to 90999 – we are tracking donations on our site and working on corporate matching grants. We will surpass our goal of $10k – I’m hoping to double it. I hope you will help.

While we’re missing out on panels, discussions and even a few meetings — all of us involved here agree that this is THE MOST important work we may ever do at SXSW. In the true spirit of crowd-sourcing, collaboration, rapid, iterative design and development, we are excited about the future,

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Leigh Durst
Leigh (Duncan) Durst is the principal of Live Path. She is a 19 year veteran in business, operations and customer strategy, ecommerce, digital and social media. As an active consultant, writer, speaker and teacher, she is an advocate for creating remarkable customer experiences that harness digital media and improving business outcomes.


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