We’ve had a busy few days here at Open.
Last Tuesday evening we got the call from the British Red Cross, telling us about the One Love Manchester benefit concert for those affected by the terrorist attacks in Manchester and asking for our help with the fundraising. Of course we said yes.
Before I knew it, it was Sunday morning and I was heading to Manchester to be Open’s representative in the stadium. The atmosphere was incredible, very emotional but unbelievably positive. Ariana Grande and her team got the tone of the event spot on. And we worked with the British Red Cross to position the fundraising as an opportunity to give, rather than a direct call to action. By the end of the night we’d helped to raise more than £2 million from over 400,000 people who sent a text.
Thanks to the amazing teams at the British Red Cross and Open, we did in days what usually takes weeks. And we’re incredibly proud to have been part of it.
So the last couple of weeks have been a bit of an Open America whirlwind.
It began with a meeting at the end of February with a group of big shot TV producers who had the big idea to ask their A-list celebrity friends (the likes of Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey and Tom Hanks), to take part in a telethon to raise money for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
It was going to be the first major telethon to be broadcast on Facebook using Facebook Live and it was going to be the first telethon that used brand new Facebook Donate functionality, that’s currently only available in the USA.
Plus they wanted to do it quickly. The live date was fixed for four weeks later on March 31st.
While the producers and writers are brilliant at comedy and putting on a live show, they recognised that they needed some help with the fundraising. That’s where Open America came in. A team of Open staff, (Fiona, Ali, James Dawe and me) travelled to New York and set up base in the studio where the telethon was going to be hosted.
I asked a friend who works in TV for advice before we left. She said “show no fear” and “anything is possible”. How right she was. In the ten days between landing and the show starting the team achieved an incredible amount.
But that’s just a list. What we actually did was..
But the main thing I learned is that if you put the right team together, and give them the accountability and responsibility required to deliver, they will deliver a high volume of high quality work that gets results. And it will be a lot of fun.
We’re convinced that we’ll be doing more campaigns that fuse community building and fundraising over the coming months. So if you want to know more about what we did, what we learnt and how we can apply our learnings in the UK, let me know.
Paul de Gregorio
This February, Valentine’s Day got everyone at Open in the mood…
Not like that, you cheeky blog reader, you.
In the mood for raising some cash for charity, of course!
Keen to keep in the spirit of the season, we capitalised on our co-workers’ relationship failures with an exciting game we creatively titled ‘Guess the Ex 2017’.
Think ‘Guess the Baby Photo’ but with more crushed hopes and dreams. And sorry everyone, but definitely not as cute.
Our winning guesser, who should probably get a job at Match.com or something, matched over half the couples correctly, and nominated Refuge as their charity of choice.
As fundraisers go, it sort of went off like the perfect relationship – bit of fun, we learnt something about each other and crucially, no one got hurt.
Hopefully we all encounter enough heartbreak in 2017 to do it all again next year…
Yours forever swiping right,