When I recently moved back to Seattle in April, I immediately started poking around at various local nonprofits where I could lend a helping hand.

Sidenote, Seattle’s nonprofit community is beyond impressive. Kudos to this city. I need to add two extra days to the weekend and just float around helping out a new nonprofit each week. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Back to the point…

Team Up For Nonprofits

During my hunt, I came across a great organization called Team Up For Nonprofits. Like any good nonprofit, Team Up’s mission is simple. Team Up combines two of Seattle’s greatest cultural strengths, music and philanthropy, by hosting music events that raise funds for local nonprofits. The organization’s founder, Ryan Hodgson is a tenacious leader but he also realizes that he needs help and input if he wants to become the Networked Nonprofit (book review coming soon, killer work @kanter) he envisions.

So, this is why I’m turning to you my fellow social braniacs. In the spirit of giving back to the community, I ask that we put our brains together. I’ve labeled this post “Thintank Thursday” in hopes that this can be an ongoing series to help shed ideas for various nonprofits that could benefit from some crowdsourced social insight.

I want this to be an open brainstorm (literally…no idea is a bad idea, it’s free game so let loose on the creativity!) to help provide Ryan with some feedback. Long-term strategy ideas or tips, short-term tactics, nuggets or examples to spur ideas – doesn’t matter, let’s throw ’em all in the comments below and give Ryan and his board some juice to work with.


Team Up’s second event ever will be on Thursday, August 19th at Seattle’s Hard Rock Cafe. Ticket price is $20,$15 of which goes straight to the nonprofit, which will be Seattle Works for this show.

Idea Starters

  • What more can Team Up be doing to engage and grow their 3k+ Facebook fan base?
  • What blog strategy or content tips would you suggest for the Team?
  • How about Twitter engagement or YouTube content? What can be done to ramp up these channels?
  • How can the Team make use of their sponsor base or partner nonprofits doing similar work?
  • What top social metrics would you suggest the Team be measuring right now as a benchmark that can be used to sell in to larger sponsors and assess progress down the line?
  • Where should Ryan and his team devote time for reaching influencers?
  • What can the team do to maximize online outreach through sponsors to increase pre-show sales?

If you’re feeling extra motivated, feel free to tweet about the upcoming show and be sure to use the #Gigs4Good hashtag.

Thanks Everyone and please feel free to suggest a nonprofit that you know about that may benefit from a post in this series.


Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. Scott — Great idea for Think Tank Thursday.

    For general tips:

    -When I look at their website, as a potential supporter and as a hypothetical non-profit owner, I am curious to know more details about the “pre-determined selection criteria” — is there any theme that drives this? It is up to the personal preferences of the owners? I think Team Up for Non-profits could tell a more specific and provacative story that catches fire if there is some central, unifying theme here.

    -Additionally, I want to know more details about “Pacific Northwest based non-profit” — does this mean that the beneficiaries of the non-profit must be located in the PCN? Or what if I own a small non-profit that donates clothes to Africa, does that count? Viewers might not want to spend too much time hunting down this info.

    -Also, I want to know the story behind the musicians who dedicate their time to this. Behind any successful non-profit or event-series is a community, and anything I can know about the musicians will draw me closer to this cause — why were they inspired to donate their time and skills, and why should I come?

    -What is this non-profit doing to engage amateur musicans who might want to contribute to this cause? I’m not finding this on their website

    -On a smaller design note, I find white on black very hard to read and straining to the eyes

    -Finally, the name “Team up for Nonprofits” does not convey the cool and unique music component of this cause… obviously hard to change but something to think about in the future.

    Great idea for a non-profit — very cool.


  2. I think Kathleen is on to something here. Excellent remarks/questions that I am curious about too.

    Professionally I’m a Biz Dev person with roots in non- profits. I discovered Team Up through a mutual friend and was immediately taken – it combines two of my greatest personal passions: philanthropy and music. How to help them be more successful is a wonderful topic because I absolutely want to see them become the best they can be. So – in my humble opinion, here are a few things that have crossed my mind:

    1) When it comes to supporting any cause, non-profit, etc, potential supporters want a compelling story behind it to relate to. People are inspired to give their money, time, and support to causes that are typically based on something that either relates to one of their own passions, or is based on a genuine story that touches them in one way or another. Sure there will be folks who attend a Gigs for Good event simply because they like the artist, which is great, but the true test of a non- profit following is finding those that will offer their support continuously, in a variety of ways because they believe in the driving force that IS the non-profit.

    That being said, it’s obvious that Ryan Hodgson is passionate about philanthropy and music, which inspired the creation of Team Up. He gives a brief story on how it came to be, but has not shared any greater detail on why and how these two things drove him to create Team Up. I think sharing the events and steps that led up to its creation, the people he met along the way, personal beliefs behind it, or specific events that effected him that his supporters can identify with/relate to, would be a very good thing to share. Understanding and/or being touched by/relating to someone’s personal passion creates not just a following, but tremendous loyalty as well.

    2) Not all Gigs for Good musicians are playing for free. Alex Mercier is being paid by another organization. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I think we’d love to know more of his background. What’s his story? All that’s been shared is that he’s a Seattle native trying to make it in LA. What else? What else makes him special- why was he chosen to participate? Who is sponsoring him? Do they not deserve credit for their role as well? And like what Kathleen said above, it would be wonderful to get a statement from each musician that plays for an event about why they decided to partake, ie, what moved them about Team Up to do so, etc. I would imagine that every artist that participates in a Team Up event is also interested in the cause, but also in the greater exposure these events offer. Team up would be wise to not just showcase the musical talent that performs but also to provide a more in-depth story behind who they are to create additional loyalty amongst both fan bases.

    3) More info on the Non-profits they are benefiting. For the next Gig it’s Seattle Works. Tells us more about them! Don’t just send us to their FB page/website. Tell us why they were chosen! Give us clear examples of who they are and what they do, what they have accomplished, and specifically what Team Up loved about them to choose them. Curious minds want to know. 🙂


  3. Cheryl & Kathleen, thank you both for taking the time to provide this insight. This is excellent feedback and I love the direction we’re taking this conversation. I’m going to stem this together and say that there is a general consensus around very strong potential for accelerating Team Up’s mission through more strategy development on the “digital storytelling” front. The focus really needs to be on developing those underlying themes, messages and narratives that are going to pique interest, drive emotions and compel action. I love the content streams you’ve identified for focusing in and making this happen Cheryl, thanks again.

  4. Oh thanks Scott – Your welcome! Hope more folks will chime in with suggestions for the excellent questions you posed not yet addressed – you asked a lot of really good ones. Wish I could answer more of them but will leave that to those with greater expertise. Love the forum. Thanks 🙂

  5. […] known Ryan for the past year via a series of Twitter and email exchanges but it was great to finally meet offline and chat about […]


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Nonprofits, Social Media, Thinktank Thursday


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