Wednesday, 15 May 2013

From Humble Beginnings .... Jen Kennedy

How it all started ....

I first discovered “Facebook” as a selling platform in 2010.  Before then I didn't “do” Facebook and had no idea about the growing handmade community on Facebook.  When I started out I was lucky enough to be supported by more established pages.  Their support and advice was invaluable in establishing my own page. 
Jen founder of
Collaborate For A Cause
In mid-2011 I went to Brisbane to catch up with some family and while there was lucky enough to meet up with some ladies I’d “met” via handmade on Facebook. 
It was a wonderful experience and when I came back home I kept thinking about how I could help other people have the same experience of support and encouragement I was experiencing in my handmade adventure.  The start of 2011 was also when I became aware of Facebook Charity Auctions.  At this time I was wondering how you could run a successful charity auction if the cause close to your heart was not one with wide appeal.  It was through these two ideas that the concept of Collaborate For A Cause (C4AC) was born.
 
I emailed a brief synopsis of my idea to other handmaidens and was overwhelmed by their encouragement.  C4AC was launched late one evening and it grew faster than I could have even dreamed possible.  I was completely unprepared for what was involved in an event of this magnitude and was so grateful to those who stepped forward to help with admining the page.  In 2012 we had a better idea what to expect, but again I was blown away by how large this event became.  This year I am so happy to see that C4AC has almost developed a life of its own – weeks before I was ready to launch this years event I started receiving emails asking when we’d be kicking off again.

I still passionately believe that by encouraging people to see other pages as colleagues rather than competitors we can all help each others businesses grow.  With recent Facebook changes making it harder for people to reach their target audiences and for new pages to become established I believe C4AC is more important than ever.  When people get bogged down in politics and bitchiness we all loose out as I believe this is a huge turn off for customers.  I think it is much better to show people through networking and mutual assistance how to run a “clean” business rather than bitching about them breaking “Facebook etiquette” etc when they mightn't even know how they’re offending others. 

The Dream

My dream for this years C4AC is for it to achieve the two aims it has so admirably done in previous years :
  1. Encourage the development of friendships between businesses and
  2. To allow people to fundraise for charities they feel passionate about but also to achieve a third aim. 
  3. To allow people who may not have previously heard about handmade on Facebook to discover our community. 
If C4AC2013 helps generate more sales for the participating businesses by helping people discover Facebook as a handmade shopping destination then I will be a very very happy woman!




C4AC2013

Collaborate for a Cause 2013 has kicked off for the third year running and if you have a handmade business with a Facebook page now is your opportunity to get involved.

The event encourages people with handmade businesses to work together to create an item/s which are then auctioned in a huge charity auction on the last weekend in July (26th-28th).  It differs from other charity auctions as each piece is a collaborative effort between two or more handmade businesses and the businesses get to choose their own charity recipient.

FUN - FRIENDSHIP - UNDERSTANDING

C4AC aims to encourage fun, friendship and understanding within the handmade community on Facebook while raising funds for charities that people are passionate about.
Working alone can be isolating for those with handmade businesses - this event gives people a wonderful opportunity to network with others who share their passion for handmade.  With Facebook changes it can be difficult to grow your business by yourself.  By making friends with other people in the handmade community and working together your chances to grow your business are increased.  The hope is that the friendships you make during C4AC will continue to benefit your business long after this event has finished for the year.

It can be difficult to run a charity auction on your own to raise funds for a charity you wish to help.  C4AC is in effect hundreds of little charity auctions run as one.  Potentially each item in the auction album could be raising funds for a different charity.  This event has the necessary reach to allow greater numbers of people to see and potentially bid on your item.  People sometimes wonder why a smaller number of charities are not nominated allowing more money to be raised for each of those charities.  Part of the ethos of C4AC is to allow people make a difference to a charity that’s touched their lives.  There is a suggestion list for those who don’t have a particular charity in mind to fundraise for.  To ensure the transparency of the charity auction all teams must submit an authority to fundraise letter from their chosen charity.  In this way the charities and those bidding can be ensured that the money is going where the teams say it is.

In 2011 we had 200 participating businesses who raised $18 000 for 70 charities and in 2012 we had 416 participating businesses who raised $40 000 for 105 charities.  We’re looking forward to your help making 2013 even more successful.

How to get involved

If you’d like to get involved in this years event please sign up for the C4AC newsletter (you’ll be autosent information about the event within an hour of signing up – remember to check your junkmail) either via the tab at the top of the Facebook page or directly here and join the C4AC group.
The charity auction will be run on the Facebook page 26th-28th July with final collaborations due to be submitted 12th July 2013.
If you have further questions please ask Jen Kennedy via email or alternate email.

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