Drink Up, Give Back: Socially Conscious Philadelphia’s Happy Hours for GoodBy Shannon Collins |
Here’s a happy hour special that will make you feel good about grabbing an after-work drink on a Tuesday.
On the first Tuesday of every month you can find Socially Conscious Philadelphia hosting a happy hour fundraiser at a local bar or restaurant in the city. The formula is simple — for a $10 entrance fee (which is donated in its entirety to the evening’s selected charity) you receive a drink, an hour of appetizers, and time to connect with other socially-minded professionals.
Now in their second year and with over $9,500 raised for local charities, co-founder Katie Bonner is looking forward to growing the group.
She shared with us a bit about the organization’s roots, how they select the monthly charities, and their goals for next year.
How did this idea come about? What made you want to do something like this, had you seen it done locally in other ways?
Katie Bonner: Socially Conscious Philadelphia was inspired by an organization with a similar mission in Chicago, Stimulus Social Club. I saw some of their events shared on Facebook through some Chicago-based friends. One night when out at Misconduct Tavern, one of our local favorites, Kristin and I started talking about how easy and fun of a concept it seemed to be.
Two things that really stood out to us about this happy hour concept were that 1.) in addition to helping nonprofits, the events also helped local businesses by using an off-night to bring a crowd out and 2.) there was a focus on creating a social group that simply did good stuff by showing up. People don’t have to be associated with the cause to enjoy coming out to events. After a couple of email exchanges and phone calls with the Chicago organizers, we got their blessing to start our own version of the group (under a different name) as well as some of their insight into setting the events up and working with the benefiting charities. Their events are substantially larger than ours, but it gives us a great goal to work toward.
How do you select the monthly charities?
Initially, we brainstormed a list of organizations with which we had interests or connections. We used that list to establish our first several events. However, after we got the ball rolling, charities mostly reached out to us to see if they could be beneficiaries for one of the monthly events. In order to ensure that we have a good variety of beneficiaries and that we are tapping into new audiences each month, we now sit down in September to review requests and select the slate of charities for the year.
2012 has been fully scheduled and the wait list for 2013 is already pretty lengthy. Our primary criteria in selection is that the organization has a local impact. We also try to provide a calendar that spreads our support throughout the many nonprofit communities in the city — children, hunger, homelessness, arts, etc.
Your recent happy hour raised money to fund Maternity Care Coalition’s internship program. It’s a great idea to let people know exactly what they are funding, but how does that work on a strategic level?
We ask nonprofits to provide us with some information about what different levels of support can be provided for the organization. We have found this information to be helpful in motivating people to attend and give. Because 100% of the proceeds go directly to the benefiting organization, we always want to maximize our audience’s understanding of exactly where their $10 (or more) donation goes. Ultimately though, the organization decides where the money is most needed.
Socially Conscious raised $8k last year. What are your goals for the year ahead?
Simply put, our goal is to do better in the next year. We are very proud to have raised $8K in one year. And honestly, it was pretty easy. We have been very lucky to connect with some wonderful organizations in Philadelphia and have seen support from people beyond the events that only benefit their own organization. In addition to exceeding the funds raised (we’d like a $10K minimum in year two), we really want to grow our name and reputation among nonprofits and socially-inclined people in the city. Ultimately we want SCP to be known as a dynamic social group that holds fun events that supports great causes and local businesses.
Team member Megan Panaccio with co-founders Katie Bonner and Kristin Rimerblog comments powered by Disqus