This guest post from Tony Hollingsworth gives an insight into a recent fundraiser for the Black Dog Ride:
I am honoured to have the opportunity to guest-post here, thanks to Social Innovation Sydney organisers. On the eve of this second event (I posted thoughts on the first conference here) it’s exciting to be able to share my thoughts about a recent project I’m involved with.
In September I participated in The Black Dog Ride, a motorcycle trip to the centre of Australia to raise awareness of depressive illness and funds for The Black Dog Institute. Only a few months earlier I had no plans to participate (I don’t currently own a motorcycle) when unexpectedly I was generously offered the use of a bike. There was still one challenge – I couldn’t afford to take time away from my work.
What happened next amazed me: a community of supporters rallied around my plan to participate, and funded my trip. The majority of the supporters were Twitter followers, some of whom I had not even met in real life. Not only was my trip fully funded, but donations were made to the charity directly, raising over $2,500 for The Black Dog Institute. Overall nearly $80,000 was raised for the Institute. I started my own blog to raise awareness of depressive illness, sharing personal stories and documenting the journey. One personal story (TRAUMA, by Frances Jones) attracted over 6000 views. The feedback I received (blog comments, tweets and people speaking to me in person) inspired and encouraged me.
This was made possible because I have spent the past three years building a community of supporters on Twitter. This online community answered my call for help – they believed in what I was doing, and trusted me to do it. It proved to me that social media can be used for social good. I think this is a great example of social innovation, and what can be done with a supportive community around you. I am expecting to share with you a brief video highlighting my trip, thanks to my friend ‘Pong who I got to know at the first Social Innovation Sydney event, and is busy editing the final cut tonight!
I’m looking forward to Social Innovation Sydney tomorrow – now best get some rest as I have a 7am flight back to Sydney from the Gold Coast in the morning!
This post was originally published here and is reproduced with permission.