Playdate for a Cause: Using live events to kickstart donation campaigns

Help A Mother Out
Readers of the blog know that we’ve been featuring some amazing fundraisers recently, in connection with our Eventbrite for Causes program. The organization Help a Mother Out is dedicated to getting clean diapers to the families that need them most, and this weekend in San Francisco, they’re launching a major diaper drive with an awesome event called Playdate for a Cause. We connected with the group’s Lisa Truong and Julie Michelle to learn more.

In a nutshell, what is the Playdate for a Cause event, and how does it connect to the longer campaign?

Playdate for a Cause kicks off our Mother’s Day Diaper Drive campaign and also celebrates our first anniversary. Thanks to our underwriters, all proceeds will benefit our Bay Area diaper program. We’re asking families all over the Bay Area to come together for an afternoon of good food and kid-friendly fun (ages 0-5, especially). At the same time this is a great way to show support for our cause. Our mission is to help improve the lives of mothers, children, and families, one diaper at a time. We started in San Francisco last spring, and this year we’re sponsoring 12 sister cities holding similar events.

Why is this cause so critical?

Diapers are expensive. They are also a must-have. It was a revelation to us that many families lack an adequate supply of them and the ramifications of not having them can be devastating. Unfortunately, they are not covered under safety net programs like food stamps or WIC, and really are an unmet need. It really comes down to parents choosing between diapers and other basics – food, shelter, utilities, and medicine. In extreme cases, the result can lead to child neglect and abuse. Readers can check out Diapers 101 and this recent SF story to learn more.

What about cloth diapers?

It’s a popular question! Cloth diapering is a wonderful option for families who are in a position to choose them. We do accept new cloth diapers (especially in bulk!) as a small percentage of our families can use them. However, for the majority of families we help, they are not a practical option. Most families living in poverty, including homeless families, lack affordable access to laundry facilities. They also lack the resources to invest in start up costs related to cloth diapering.

How did you set about getting major sponsors (such as Huggies) involved?

Huggies was introduced to HAMO’s work last year. They have been wonderful supporters of our cause and we’re grateful for their help in making Playdate for a Cause a success. We’re also thankful for the in-kind support provided by additional companies, including local small businesses.

You’ve gotten some amazing press, ranging from ABC to the S.F. Chronicle’s parenting blog ‘The Poop’ to the Huffington Post. How have you been able to spread the word so effectively?

Social media has been the major tool in helping us spread the word with very little start up costs (our initial investment for this project was $100). You never know who will engage in dialogue, find your blog, read your tweets, or connect via Facebook. When used authentically (you must consistently show up, share, and connect with others!) these platforms are a great tool to spread the word and amplify your mission. And by the way, we learned about Eventbrite via Twitter!

Why are live events such an important aspect of what you do? The San Francisco event is just one of several, correct?

Live events are a great way to extend your online community and forge real-life connections. We’ve met some amazing people, initially via Twitter, and they come to our events! Many have become friends, volunteers, supporters, and co-conspirators. Our sister city events are organized by bloggers who wanted to take part in our campaign to help struggling families in their local communities. We need to shout out to our Los Angeles chapter, whose event is also on Eventbrite.

What have you done to make the donation process easy and available for potential donors?

There are two ways to donate – in person or online. We have a number of drop bins sprinkled across the Bay Area. The primary way to donate online is via Network for Good. The Donate Now link can also be accessed on any page of our website. The second option is to purchase diapers off the Amazon.com wishlists we administer for all of our partner agencies. Of course, if you’d like to attend our event, you can RSVP here!

Connect with Help a Mother Out on Facebook and Twitter.