SxSWi09: Social Media Nonprofit ROI Poetry Slam

This was the most fun panel! The innovative format made the discussion and ROI nuggets sticky. Nonprofits are a force to watch and take in lessons learned from executing social media initiatives. The power unleashed from events such as Twestival is brilliant, but is it sustainable?

Presentation slides and narrative

Beth Kanter's Reflections from Poetry Slam

Beth Kanter at Stubbs event: What is the distinction between social media for charity and social good/systematic change?

Zany: Dallas Twestival met and exceeded goal to raise $4,302!

3276615945_4ec56c5eab Three weeks ago, I did a crazy thing, I signed up Dallas/Fort Worth to be a participating city in the global Twestival. Three weeks ago, I put out a call over Twitter asking for volunteers to help put on such a venture. Thirteen other crazy people I had never met before volunteered to make Dallas Twestival happen. In three weeks, over Twitter, email and numerous conference calls, we organized our first Twestival…not to be our last. Although, we will start planning at least 51 weeks in advance of Dallas Twestival 2010!

The Twestivals were held in Europe, Africa, Asia, and North and South America. Dallas’ event was at Mockingbird Station, where tweeters and non-tweeters, alike met to enjoy live music by local artists, take in a free film at Angelika Theater and eat good food and drink.

The Dallas Twestival was 100% volunteer and donation driven. There was no overhead for the event. All proceeds benefited Charity:Water. Dallas’ goal was to raise $4,000, roughly the cost of drilling one water well in Central Africa. We met and exceeded goal to raise $4,302 and counting!

Thank you to the brilliant people I worked with to make this event a reality, our generous sponsors in tough economic times and to the Dallas Twestival goers who came to the event.

(I am the crazy person with purple glasses in above pic! Those in pic are volunteer chairs.)

Why You Should Sponsor the Twestival: Creative Capitalism

Tweet. Meet. Give.

Twest Last night was the first night of my International Marketing class. Usually the first night, as I unveil the syllabus and blogging responsibilities, I have a lot of deer-in-the-headlight looks . In the spirit of international learning, I ended the overwhelming evening with a video from last year's World Economic Forum session with Bill Gates talking about creative capitalism. His words got me thinking…

I am so jazzed about being a part of the Dallas/Fort Worth Twestival Organization Committee. Being part of the global Twestival event is inspiring! The limited time frame and scouting for sponsorships is a bit frustrating. In this economy, people and corporations are keeping their money a little closer and we are finding it challenging to sign-up local companies to sponsor the event. Why should companies sponsor this event? Creative Capitalism. The Twestival is an innovative way to solve a major problem (water supply) while generating buzz and profits of the supporting businesses.

Find out more about the Dallas/Fort Worth Twestival and become part of the buzz by volunteering or sponsoring the cause!

You can help us deliver safe, clean water to a community in need by becoming a:

  • Well Builder ($500), entitling you to provide marketing materials at the event and being featured in all promotion
  • Partner ($250), giving you the opportunity to benefit from all online promotions

For more information on becoming a sponsor contact Lauren Vargas using a Twitter direct message or via email 12comm [at] sbcglobal [dot] net .

Dallas Twestival: Volunteers Needed

You may have seen and read the buzz on Twitter about the upcoming Twestivals. With such a large group of tweeple in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I think that if we work together, we too, could host our own Twestival. There is not much time…volunteers and resources are needed to make this event a success. Will you help?

Please send a message to @GadgetVirtoso or myself (@vargasl) or email me at if you are interested in assisting in this successful event. Fundraising and event planning/venue coordination is needed.

The information below is from original event organizers.

What is a Twestival?

A Twestival (Twitter + Festival) is an evening event that started in London back in September 2008 so that the online Twitter community could meet the faces behind the avatars and do some good for a social cause. The first event was organized in less than two weeks, demand for the event exceeded 300 people, and raised money and collected canned food for a local homeless charity.

We had sponsorship from companies and start-ups who wanted to support the early adopter community. Sponsorship money went towards food and drink, which in turn covered the cost of the venue. We asked for donations at the door and sold raffle tickets for great prizes supplied by companies with a presence on Twitter. Everyone attending was on Twitter and received @nametags upon arrival. We had a celebrity DJ and @ihatemornings played his popular Twitter song live. Post-event, Twestival received quite a bit of press and there was huge demand to do it again in London – and others showed interest in hosting a Twestival in their own city – which brings us to now.

When is the Twestival?

On Thursday 12 February 2009 the Twestival is going global. The flagship event will be happening in London with simultaneous events happening in major Twitter cities around the world. The website: is launched and enables organizers to have a designated page for their city to upload information, coordinate registration, showcase sponsor logos, link to donations and connect multimedia sources.

The event can be as large or small as the local Twitter community can support. There are a few key elements of Twestival to maintain consistency, but beyond these, each city can plan the kind of event they want.

  • The Twestival must take place the evening of 12 February 2009
  • All proceeds from events go to Charity: Water
  • Attendees should all be on Twitter and receive a @nametag at the event
  • Registration, donations, communication is centralized through
  • Branding for Twestival will be provided to organisers in digital format
  • Twestival partners / sponsors will be extended to other cities where possible

Charity: Water

All proceeds from Twestival will be going to the same charity in order to have the most impact. Charity: Water ( is a fantastic organisation which will be using 100% of the money to directly build wells in Ethiopia providing clean drinking water. There has been a lot of momentum around this cause on Twitter and collectively we are in a position to have even more of an impact.

Scott Harrison, the founder of Charity: Water (@scottharrison) will be in Ethiopia on the day of Twestival and will be linked up via video to show how the money raised will be used. It costs $4000USD to implement a well in Ethiopia. It is a great aim for each event to try and cover the cost of 1 well; but we will be combining

Play it Forward

akoha-logo-header I am very stoked about a new social media card game, Akoha. Thanks to Chris Heuer, I received an Akoha VIP Starter Deck at this past weekend's Social Media Breakfast in Dallas! I feel like we should be repaying him and Kristie Wells for making a trip to our neck of the woods to see our group!

What is Akoha?

Akoha: n. a launchpad for traveling acts of kindness.

Akoha is a reality based play-it-forward game. The game is played by launching the missions found in the VIP Starter Deck into the world. Missions are simple activities that can be "played forward" from person to person. Missions are considered complete when your friend/player confirms the mission at

You earn karma points by launching missions and helping others play their missions forward. Adding videos, photos and stories to your missions earns you extra points. Your missions continue to earn you points as long as they (the cards) keep traveling. You can also create your own missions in the mission factory and track their progress as others play them around the world.

(From what I understand, Chris does not get karma points because he handed out the starter packs, but I think he should definitely have some good karma passed his way!)

For more information on how to play Akoha visit

So…I have a stack of 24 cards and ready to play-it-forward!