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Found 71 results

  1. Pokémon Go has proved to be a long-lasting craze with many unique, interesting, and sometimes dangerous stories arising from players going out into the real world to capture the titular creatures. One of the most amazing things to us here at Extra Life, however, is how people in the Extra Life community have been using the game to come together with their community and band together for the kids. The Guilds in Albany, New York and in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota both organized PokéWalks in their respective areas over the last few days. What exactly is a PokéWalk? People have begun planning events where members of the local community can come together, Pokémon Go players or not, and enjoy a day at a park or other public area. Lures can be placed at PokéStops along the walking route to bring in the Pokémon and the community. In some cases, local businesses along the route have even gotten involved to support participants. In New York, the Albany Guild brought people together to participate in one such PokéWalk on the 16th. Located in and around Albany's Washington Park, hundreds of people turned out to connect and catch Pokémon. By all accounts it was a huge success, even though the servers for Pokémon Go went down. According to Albany Guild president Lucas Fox, @Xeserox: We had about 400 People show up to the event (despite servers being down for the game). We signed up 130+ people in 3 hours. We started sign ups 30 minutes before the official kick off of the event because of the number of people that showed up. And we continued sign ups 30 minutes after the event ended, because our line was still that long. You can find images of the Albany PokéWalk on the Albany Guild page. This was followed independently by members of the Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minnesota Guild working together with local event organisation This Is Geek to hold a PokéWalk in Edina, MN's Centennial Lakes Park on the 17th. Over 2,000 people came to the event, which was merely a test run to see how future walks might go. Guild member, event organizer, and This Is Geek Treasurer Shanna Hartzell described her experience bringing together the community: It was a humbling experience to see well over 2000 people interacting and enjoy each others company. This was a new type of event for Minnesota as a whole. While the servers were down instead of leaving or complaining everyone was talking, sharing stories, tips and going on major nostalgia trips. I am glad that we were able to do what we love; bring amazing people together and shed more light on the good inside of the gaming community. The pictures for that event are over on Facebook page for This Is Geek. Pokémon Go inspires a lot of different opinions and feelings among those who play it and those who don't. However, it is undeniably cool how the app has brought people together over the last week or so that might never have met otherwise. I know there are plans for more of these kinds of events both with and independent of Extra Life, so if you think that a PokéWalk in your local area might be a possibility, go for it! Let's keep this momentum up and bring one another together for fun, friendship, and also for the kids.
  2. Hey Extra Life Community - We have some exciting news to share! In an effort to help make fundraising more fun, more accessible and ultimately easier, we’ve added two new applications to the Extra Life experience. Now you can fundraise through Facebook or on the go from your phone! Extra Life Facebook App Fundraising has never been quicker or easier than with the new Extra Life Facebook App. It installs in just a few seconds and allows you to opt-in to automatic status updates, upload Extra Life profile and cover pictures and ask your entire Facebook network for donations in just a few clicks. To start fundraising through the Extra Life Facebook App, login to to your Extra Life account, and click "Fundraise with Facebook" in the participant dashboard. Extra Life Mobile App Manage and share your Extra Life experience on the go with our new Extra Life mobile app. This free app lets you fundraise and connect with others through SMS, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Email. You can update your Extra Life page and check your fundraising progress all from the palm of your hand. Learn more in our best practices section! Download the app here: iPhone | Android We’ve also spent the last couple of months improving the mobile experience on the Extra Life website so give the new apps a try. We want to hear what you think so send any feedback and ideas to community@extra-life.org or comment below and let us know! For The Kids, Mike Kinney Team Extra Life Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals View full article
  3. Quaseymoto

    Board Game Night!

    Hi all. I've got confirmation from BWW that I'll be hosting a BOARD GAME NIGHT at their West Broad Location. Sunday, July 10th @ 3PM I should be getting a flyer by the end of the week to distribute and I'll be making a Facebook event to RSVP (to help prep food and staff appropriately) They'll be no charge to sit and play games though ordering something is encouraged. Why? 15% of all proceeds from the event will be donated to Extra-Life. I'll be there with a few friends and bringing a load of games but feel free to bring your own. You all should come to have fun! On top of that we'll also have a small table near the entrance to the restaurant to promote extra-life and try and get new recruits. If you're interested in working at the table for some or all of the event (3-4 hours), please reply here. One person should be enough but company is always good. Thanks in advance and hope to see you all there.
  4. DJ_Sleeveless

    June Monthly Meeting (Online)

    until
    In the June Meeting we will be discussing a few upcoming events: -Boston ComicCon: August 12-14 -Topatocon: october 22-23 -fundraising events starting in August -finding an event for December We think for now online meetings are the way to go until we capture a larger presence of attendees. The plan that TJ and I had was to have online meetings the last saturday of each month and schedule in person meetings every few months. In the early stages of the guild we feel this is the best route to take. We will be using Google Hangouts again for this meeting, if you don't have a Google account please go to https://hangouts.google.com/ to get started. You can message dmhoward720@gmail.com to start the conversation, look forward to seeing you all! - DJ_Sleeveless
  5. Rokaei

    Upcoming Events

    Hi All, Just wanted to shoot off a quick note. We have A LOT of recruiting opportunities coming up and we could use some help spreading the word!! Here is a summery of what we have coming up: Chit & Bits Table Top Game Marathon @ Crossroad Games, Saturday, April 30th (TOMORROW!!!) Free Comic Book Day at Casablanca Comics in Portland, May 7th Huzzah!, May 13-19th Portland Sea Dogs Community Table- May 18th Fancy Cocktail Night- May 30th, Arcadia National Bar If you can help out, please drop either me ( @Rokaei), Justin ( @Dybree), or Nicole ( @Athena) a message!! 50K FTK!! -Jeff
  6. Quaseymoto

    Charity Trivia Night at BWW

    Coin Operated Gamers (my team) is happy to host the 2nd Charity Trivia Night at BWW on West Broad Street. What: Trivia with Prizes ranging from tickets to local events to toys and games. When: Wednesday, MAY 18 • 6-10 PM (6:30pm will be Kids Triva, 8pm will start the harder trivia w/ geek Trivia at 9pm) Who: Everyone is invited. Please invite all your friends that may be interested. Where: BWW - 7801 WEST BROAD STREET Why: 15% of all proceeds will be donated to Extra-Life! How: I'll be hosting the event. If you want to help make Trivia Questions or support in any way please e-mail me at quaseymoto@aol.com. If you'd like to print the flyer attached and post it WITH PERMISSION someplace public please do so! 2016-1406 Richmond VA Trivia Flyer.pdf
  7. GotSka81

    The People's Flea

    until
    Greetings one and all! We've been granted a spot at this year's 6th Annual People's Flea in conjunction 105.7 The X benefiting the Susquehanna Service Dogs. The event info is below and the reasoning for this post is to try and draw some attention from the guild as well as try and coordinate some kind of pooling of items for sale. Since we are a gaming organization, I figure we could try and sell some old games we might have laying around, old consoles, controllers, board games, etc. If you would like to donate it to the guild (money from it goes into our collective guild total) please contact either myself, Jimmy @GotSka81, Ryan @standardeviant42 or Alecia for more information. When: April 23rd (Saturday) Where: 430 Colonial Rd Harrisburg, PA When: 7am to noon (set up is at 6am) Why: This will be a great place to try and recruit, as well as raise some funds!
  8. TheTolsonator

    People's Flea!

    Greetings one and all! We've been granted a spot at this year's 6th Annual People's Flea in conjunction 105.7 The X benefiting the Susquehanna Service Dogs. The event info is below and the reasoning for this post is to try and draw some attention from the guild as well as try and coordinate some kind of pooling of items for sale. Since we are a gaming organization, I figure we could try and sell some old games we might have laying around, old consoles, controllers, board games, etc. If you would like to donate it to the guild (money from it goes into our collective guild total) please contact either myself, Jimmy @GotSka81, Ryan @standardeviant42 or Alecia for more information. When: April 23rd (Saturday) Where: 430 Colonial Rd Harrisburg, PA When: 7am to noon (set up is at 6am) Why: This will be a great place to try and recruit, as well as raise some funds!
  9. My team and I are preparing to start our fundraising efforts for this year's Extra Life and I was hoping to get help from someone on bettering our team's logo. I named our team after my nephew, Dominic, who was diagnosed from muscular dystrophy about three years ago. Shortly after his diagnosis, I paid him a visit and got to spend some time with him (my sister and her family live in another state), and snapped a photo of him playing with a wooden sword my mom had bought him. He's a fan of video games and we play together every time I get to visit - at that time, he was beginning to discover the Legend of Zelda games, hence the sword. I snapped a photo of him just as he struck a pose a la Link, and it's one of my favorites today. My nephew's MD has since progressed to the point that he's now in a wheelchair, but he still loves to game. I opted to use the photo I took in 2013 as our team's logo the following year, because it represented what I think Extra Life stands for - hope, strength and courage. I utilized Photoshop to apply a sketch filter to the original photo, which allowed me to somewhat convert the it into a makeshift drawing. That required a bit of erasing in Photoshop, plus some printing of the semi-finished product, outlining by hand, then re-scanning and touching up the photo again. I am sure there are easier and better ways to do what I did, but my Photoshop skills are limited to re-sizing, cropping and minor color correcting. My question to the forum then, is whether there is another way to do this in order to make the graphic more stylized, professional or look cleaner, using the original photo as a source. I have attached the original photo, plus a photo of our T-shirts, which we've been using since 2014, as a reference to show you all what I'm talking about. Any tips would be greatly appreciated, as I'm hoping to give my nephew a revised version of the T-shirt this year once they are made. On behalf of Team Dom/Nation, thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
  10. During Extra Life United, I had the opportunity to sit down with Elijah Powell, the president of the Anchorage Guild, and Cameron Cowles, the vice president of the Guild and creator of the 907 Gamers team. I talked with them about the story of their Guild and their meteoric rise to become one of the most successful fundraising teams in North America with over $200,000 raised for 2015 - a sum which won them and the Providence Children's Hospital the ESA Per Capita check for an additional $30,000. Wondering how they managed to pull off that feat of fundraising and how you can do it, too? Read on! ~~~ Jack Gardner: You guys kind of built up this guild up out of nothing and became one of the biggest fundraisers in the United States. You were just holding the comically large $30,000 ESA check for your hospital. How did that happen? Cameron Cowles: Well, Elijah knew about Extra Life way before I did. He had been following since Sarcastic Gamer- Elijah Powell: Yeah, back in the Sarcastic Gamer days. So I have been following since ‘06 or ’07 - whenever the first one was, I followed it. And 2014 I just said, “You know, I need to do this. It is something- I’ve got 2 months to raise money I am going to raise $100.” I sat down on my computer and spammed Facebook for a couple months. I had $100 in less than 24 hours and it blew my mind. My goal just kinda went up from there. Before that, I had no interaction with 907 Gamers. I knew they were a thing, but I didn’t really know anything about them. I just went on the Extra Life page and searched for a group and found 907 Gamers and kinda attached to them to see where they were going. I found out we had a mutual friend, Charlie Sears, and that’s how our relationship grew out of that. Cameron can tell you the rest of the story for 907 Gamers and Extra Life. CC: For 907 Gamers [in 2014], I saw a picture that went around the internet that a lot of different people have seen. It was from Portland, PDXLAN, a very big gaming event that happens every year. They had posted on Reddit a picture of this room full of dried rice and all this donated stuff, like food – they had something like 22 tons of donated food. At the bottom it was almost like a meme, “but the local press didn’t post the story anywhere.” It was kind of highlighting that gamers don’t get attention for this stuff like they should. And I thought, Well, what can I do about that? I want to do something good – it doesn’t really matter to me what it is, but something local, something good, with the chair that I’m in. Our group at the time had something like 1,400 people in it. I thought if I could steer this in a direction that’s good, maybe that will get gaming and the community and gamers in Alaska into the press. Maybe get good feedback from the community and let people know that gaming can be a positive thing. I was searching for what would fit for that; what would be the right charity. There are a lot of charities out there, but Extra Life seemed really good for three reasons. It fit because it’s local and there’s not really any charities that I have seen that we can say, “We want the money to go to this hospital right where we live.” That was tenet one: It’s local. Tenet two: You can make your own team and organize your own people into it, but retain who you are. Then tenet three: It was very easy to sign up and do an event. We went on the website and without talking with anybody made a team. We were able to use the tools on there to send people messages and stuff. We just threw together an event, no expectations. We ended up having to raise our bar, raise our bar, raise our bar because we were raising so much money- EP: It was funny, I think your original goal was $500 or something. $500 and then I joined, that’s another $100. Then we hit the $500 and I think I messaged you and asked, “Are we going to raise the bar or are we going to be stuck going positive on the $500?” About 20 minutes later we bumped it up to $1,000 and it was two days later that we hit $1,000. It blew my mind how we could escalate so quickly. And then from there you had your event. CC: It’s so exciting to keep pushing that bar. Cuz it was like, Oh, man, we actually have something here. Like we’re ranking up. We are actually a contender here. And then I’m like, I’m going to spend a few hours on this and dump a few hours into it. Every hour I dumped was exponential. It was like I dumped 8 hours into this now and it has gone up to $3,000 I just keep dumping time into that and we are just going to keep going up and up and up. JG: What were you doing, exactly? Were you messaging people? CC: Private messaging people directly with a little copy-paste with some of the Extra Life promo material: Hey, it’s Cameron here. You know me I just wanted to let you know there is this Extra Life thing we are doing. If you have any questions I’d be glad to explain it. Here is a short video,” and I shared some of the Extra Life promo material, “if you think this is something cool that you might be excited to do, it is going to make money for a good cause, and you aren’t going to have more fun than a 24 hour gaming thing. I’d like you to jump in with us. We are going to throw a free little get-together; come join us! It all goes through this webpage and it all goes to local Providence Children’s Hospital. Every three people someone would be like, “This is amazing! I am so on board.” Maybe the other two people don’t view it or whatever, but I would message 800, 900 people. When it pops up on their phone it isn’t an event invite, it isn’t some spam. The think, This guy knows me from the gamer group; this is a personal invite. Can I join this? It got a lot of attention. We had the open doors lot of people could – Elijah heard about it himself, I didn’t private message him myself, he just heard about it, but a lot of it was private messaging and just getting people together and networking people together. JG: Putting in the time to make it personal. EP: Right. Someone thinks you are taking the time to talk specifically to them instead of: “HEY THIS IS WHAT I’M DOING COME JOIN US AND MAYBE YOU WILL SIGN UP AND MAYBE YOU WON’T!” CC: When a cashier or something asks you at the mall if you want to donate to breast cancer, it is easy to say, “no thanks,” and move on. But when your personal friend asks, “Will you do this thing with me for a good cause?” They are more likely to say, “Oh yeah, sure! It sounds fun.” JG: It is kind of the difference between going out and shouting “I’M DOING THIS THIIIING!!!” and approaching someone and taking the time to explain it, “I am doing this thing.” EP: Right, exactly. JG: So, your guild kind of exploded. CC: Well [the 2014] event happened without a guild. So for our first event, we, as 907 Gamers, went to this space, it is called the Maker Space. It is like this crowdfunded, non-profit tool shed where people can donate their tools and share time. They pay dues like $40-$100 a year to come and use printers and all these things and they have this back space. So we told them, “We would love to host this event where all these people come with laptops and Xboxes and TVs and play here.” They were like, “Yeah, it sounds like a great thing for us to do, get some publicity for the Maker Space from a bunch of likeminded people and the right demographic. Let’s do it. Let’s throw it together.” So, we were able to grease the wheels with the idea that this is a good cause and we all should do it. It didn’t cost anyone any money and we just kind of organized it and we did about a month of promotion for it. JG: And how did you promote it? CC: Just Facebook messages, a Facebook event, some Twittering, tagging, I mean we had a Facebook group at the time of 1,400 people that are all locals, so they would take it from there and share it on their timeline. We had some local viral effects; made YouTube videos from the b-roll from our previous events that we had done. Just putting signs on the road, we did as much stuff as we could. We weren’t working with the hospital yet. It was just our team as a community going and doing this. That night, I remember we were just rolling and rolling our bar up higher and higher during that 24 hour period. We went $5-$6-$7-$8-$9,000 and there weren’t that many people there! EP: I think at one time he went from $7,500 to $10,000 or something. There was a huge jump and I was just like, Alright, he is setting his bar high! CC: It didn’t make sense to us because we had maybe 86 people on our team, but maybe only 50 people attending. But we were making thousands of dollars an hour you know and it was just like, Man, this event is a game changer. The fact that we are holding this local gathering is just like- people all have their computers there so they are taking breaks from gaming saying, “Well, I have been playing games for five hours so I am going to sit and put a little time in, an hour of messaging.” And it wasn’t just me anymore and Elijah had gone through a bunch of family and friends, but when we get these random people in there that just come to our events, we show them what we are doing and they say things like, “Well, I have a computer here, too. I brought mine.” Basically we had a giant typestudio. We had a studio of everyone writing out messages. It was like a little sweat factory for getting the word out! It was really cool. I think I spent 9 hours of that 24 hour thing writing messages. I had at the time about 1,000 friends and I went through all of them from A-Z messaging every single one. A lot of them would come back with questions and I’d answer those, keeping a conversation going, giving them links. When multiple people are doing that it’s just crazy. The people at that event definitely donated a lot, but people are shaving their heads on Twitch for donations from outside. We did little auctions where people brought paintings or old gaming gear. One person was like, “I don’t have the money; I am living paycheck to paycheck. I can’t donate to Extra Life, but I do have an old Sega Genesis with a lot of games that I don’t play anymore and I am sure some gamer here would love to have it.” What better way to give than to give them this in return for a donation? They can get something right now from another gamer that is thanking them for donating. It’s the extra step. Just having a lot of that stuff happening. It was infectious. EP: I didn’t get the opportunity to go to the [2014 event]. My first Extra Life was very, very personal to me. I just stayed at home with a couple of friends and we kinda just did our own thing. They had a video editor on site and every hour and a half he was pumping out a new video of some new crazy thing that was going on down at the event. It would have been nice to have been there, but when you start seeing those numbers, they just keep coming. It was amazing. I think then from there you had your check presentation. CC: Yeah, so then we finished at $11,000 and our event was done and we were like holy moley. This was way beyond- we didn’t know what we were getting into with Extra Life, but this was a shock. Holy crap, you know? We all had fun everyone loved it, so we decided to do it again next year. So we were thinking, how are we going to get $11,000 again? That was a lot of work. Writing all those messages, getting all those people together, getting the space and everything, so we thought maybe we should look for some help outside of us and a Facebook group. We all did 24 hours of work that day, space, gear, I don’t know how many hours leading up to it was spent on getting people involved, added, and joining. But it was more effective than we ever thought it would be. We wanted to do it again, but we knew we had to work smarter and get help from the right people, bigger organizations than just our Facebook group involved. JG: How did you go about doing that? CC: [We had someone talk with Rick Heaton and Doc at Extra Life] and heard about the Guilds. We said, man we need a Guild. We need a connection to something that can work directly with the hospital, spread awareness through all sorts of things, just pull all these pieces together. We need a Guild. Elijah, through the 2014 event, he did it personally, I did it with a group – I was the second ranked fundraiser, but he beat me personally by himself. EP: Yeah and that’s one of the biggest – when you tell people that you are doing this Extra Life thing they ask, “Where am I supposed to find the money?” I’m answer, “I don’t want you to give me the money. That’s not what I am asking. Just ask other people for money.” That’s all I did. I signed up almost exactly two months before the event and it was twice a day I would spam Facebook saying, “Guys, the only way to get me to shut up is by donating so either donate or block me, but it isn’t going to stop coming.” So friends and family and coworkers some cash donations- CC: He broke $2,000 in a very personal way, not taking any shortcuts at all. The legitimate-connection-to-friends-and-family-way and that was hardcore. I was really impressed because I have all these people that I’m not really personally attached to in any way- they are in my facebook group and maybe we talk about games here or there, but I don’t know their life and I’ve never met some of them. I spammed out ten times as many messages, but he still beat me and that was incredible. It was really awesome that he was able to do that. We did a big check thing and that was a big turning point. We talked to a local company to do a big, fake check to symbolize that we went and raised $11,000 because, although we did it and it was online- the people that were there knew about it, but no one else knew about it. And we want everyone to know what happened. The fact that it happened was great, but we should ride off of that so that next year it is even bigger when people know about it and they can get ready to be there and be part of it. We took the check, took about five of us and scheduled a meeting with our rep at CMNH here in Anchorage. We went over there with the big check and they had never met us before. We wanted to symbolically give this to them and maybe shake hands. Maybe have the press come and takes a picture and let people know this happened. Because a lot of gamers out there weren’t a part of this. They didn’t know and they could have been. So we showed up and I think it sent a really serious vibe that we were committed to this and wanted to do it again. We weren’t just a fly-by-night operation. […] It was like February 2015 that we officially became an Anchorage guild. We were super stoked about that. EP: What’s shocking is how easy they make it to become a guild. I think it is 100 participants donate $100. For us, I think we had well over that. CC: Our first year we had 88 participants, but our average- I don’t know about statewide EP: Statewide was a little bit more, $200 or $300 maybe. We ended with $31,000 at the end of 2014 which was coming from 2013 when I think we raised $500 in our entire state. What that tells me is that somebody was participating in Extra Life, but nobody knew about Extra Life, nobody was getting the word out. We went into the Guild thing not knowing what the hell it was, then going into 2015 having all these different people showing up. JG: The hospital can be such a huge resource. EP: Yeah, absolutely. 907 Gamers, since they are the biggest Facebook group in Alaska, Cameron is able to reach out to every one of those people and it is kinda cool that we get to see new faces every time we meet as a Guild so we can share our message; share what we are doing because I am sure there are half a dozen people in between now and last year that say, “Man, what the hell is this Extra Life thing? Maybe I’ll go to the Guild meeting and figure out what it is all about.” CC: We had lots of people come that we didn’t know about coming to say, “Hey, I work for this bottling company and I can bring Rockstar for you guys.” Cool! And another said, “I have a snowboard to give away.” Oh, wow! I didn’t know we had that. We just all these people just come out of the woodwork. By the time we had our event we had a 24 hour schedule of DJs willing to donate their time to DJ for sets. We had something like 20 sets from 18 artists. JG: These are just people who showed up to your guild meetings? CC: Yeah and I reached out to some people that organized the EDM scene in Alaska, which is a very tightknit community and said, “We are doing this gamer thing and we would like DJs to come,” and then those people would go through their network. EP: I think Extra Life really brought everyone together to let everyone know that we are all pushing toward the same goal. It’s not 907 Gamers vs Magic: The Gathering vs the boardgamers. We are all Extra Life. This is what we are doing and this is what we are doing it for. CC: [Our meetings] are just an open hub that happens every month that’s in the hospital. Anyone should feel welcome to come to the local hospital and come to the Guild meeting and talk. They don’t have to be invited or know someone. This is a public event seeking public help from anyone. They can walk in. Not only that, having our hospital connection from the Guild, we know how to say, “Hey, you want to donate as Rockstar? Here is the person to talk to from the hospital and you can become a sponsor. Just go through them, we don’t deal with that.” Then they do it. It’s super easy and then they are at the event. Rockstar is at the event. That’s so cool. As 907 Gamers that would never be possible. EP: Or as Joe Shmo down the road trying to organize his own thing that wouldn’t be possible, but because we have Extra Life to bring us all together that’s opened up huge avenues for us. CC: Yeah, what has ended up happening is this hybrid machine that you have the big grass roots group pushing into and then you have anyone else that’s a corporation or other group or whatever going through the Guild and we all show up at the same thing and put on this huge show. In 2015 we went from fundraising around $30,000 to $200,000. We had a huge 24 hour event. We had to turn people away we had two generators- EP: We probably had 300-400 people show up to our event. And we had to turn away half of those because we couldn’t provide the power. CC: Our Facebook event invite was just growing and growing as the months went by. It was going to be like a stampede. We started promoting the event about three months prior. Oh man, we have 200 people now, this is getting pretty crazy. Last year was 86, so I hope not all of these people come. More and more piled up; 300, 400, 500 going. JG: Was this in the same space as the previous year, the studio? EP: No, no, no, this time we took over an entire stadium. [Laughs] The Children’s Hospital Providence has close ties to Alaska Airlines and Alaska Airlines just built this gigantic arena for the college and we were actually able to take over half the entire thing. CC: They had an auxiliary gym and that was a big step from our last event. Our last event was a long, industrial car garage and now we are in a full gym. Even with that huge jump in square feet by maybe a factor of fifteen or twenty in size we still sent hundreds of people away. We didn’t have the power for that. They dropped a 750 kilowatt generator, which is equivalent to the hospital that I was working at the time; they had a backup that kicks in if the power goes out. We had a hospital-sized generator there plus another smaller one, a 250, and the building and it wasn’t enough power. So we had an absolute slam, a tidal wave of people show up. And we can grow this. In this same event space- in the main area we have upper seating and lower seating and a giant basketball court for volleyball, basketball, college sports, a jumbotron sitting up top. That’s where we need to be next year. EP: Alaska is kind of unique because there are no conventions. There is no place for people to go to experience something like this. For us to provide that to people, that helps to boost the participation with Extra Life. If people have that thing to come to then maybe they are more willing to help out with our cause. CC: Extra Life is a new charity. A lot of people have no conception of what it is when you ask them to join. If you ask someone to donate to breast awareness, they have no affiliation with that. But when we put on this huge event and you see a video of it, you are like, Holy crap! How did I miss this? I am going to this next year, you know what I mean? People came from Fairbanks. That’s a six hour drive that people were making to come to this. And now every year that we put out a video that shows what we did it just grows. This year we started our team January 10, right at the beginning of the year. We set up automated posts for our Facebook to once a week say, “hey we are doing Extra Life this year please take the time to join.” Took a lot of extra steps compared to three months of promotion we have a full year now. Hopefully we can get a bigger space and do an even bigger event and continue to push that. I think it gives us a step up on the every other charity in Alaska because nothing is going on with those. Everyone wants to be a part of Extra Life. JG: With this last event, did you also have another space for people just to send out emails? CC: People set up their computers, so we had a huge row of probably 150 desktop computers set up for gaming, but any time when they are bored of their game or their tournament bracket is over, we’d be on the mic asking for people to please tweet, share, use their phone, take a video, post it anywhere, post a donation link to your profile. It was just incredible. Leading up to that event- as we got closer and closer, we were getting thousands of dollars every ten hours or something. We weren’t even at the event yet. By the time we got to the event we were already at $50,000 plus. The event was so big that our local ISP showed up and said, “This is so cool that this is all running on our network and all these computers are playing and all these Xboxes are connecting to GCI. Man, this is so cool!” And the VP of the ISP says, “We are going to match it up to $50,000.” So suddenly our $50,000 starts blowing out last years. We just doubled it in an instant by talking to one guy. Oh my god. Now we are in the running for the ESA check now we can win $30,000 because we are the per capita winners right now. It just attracted a lot of attention. It was unreal. JG: What do you think makes the difference between the Alaska program you have going on here and other places that have been struggling to blow up like this? CC: I can go through a list of them. One, 907 Gamers as a Facebook group is just like other Facebook groups with members and people who play, but there is a very talented team behind it that puts these events on. So, we have experience putting the events on far before we ever got involved in Extra Life. There is a huge almost-free employee network that exists for Extra Life now where we come and put these on. We have a union electrician. We have like five networking IT pros that have worked in the State government and banks – they are very professional. We have me with the social media stuff; I’m like a local celebrity now from 907 Gamers. Now we have a guild now which a lot of places don’t have. Alaska is a place where there is not a lot of competition. There is no one else doing this. If we stopped doing it, no one would do it. If 907 Gamers stopped doing LAN events completely, they would just cease to exist because there really isn’t another network team that’s doing that. There isn’t anyone who has teamed up like that before. So there are those things from 907 gamers. On top of that, Alaska is a place that’s extremely dark during the winter. It’s very cold. It’s hostile outside. People don’t want to be out in that -20 degree wind, so a lot of people want to be gamers. That’s also compounded by the fact that in Alaska there isn’t really a way to socialize that well in the winter. You can go to movies… and you can stay home. EP: We aren’t really the hey-let’s-go-to-the-mall-type people. CC: It’s too much work to go to the mall! You have to scrape the ice off your car. It is nice to stay home. But here this is something where, yeah, you have to bring your equipment and stuff so there is a bit of a time investment there, but once you get there if it is 24 hours. It’s like this is going to be a totally awesome weekend. JG: It was worth it. CC: Right. It was worth the investment for all that fun and I think a lot of people, because it is a small community, see people they know involved in it and feel drawn into it through that personal connection. EP: I’ve been doing it, this is my third year now, and I finally got my brother talked into it. I think he just recently got a PlayStation. Maybe I never reached out to him, but he was like “what is this Extra Life thing you keep posting about? Why do you keep doing that?” A little five minute conversation and we got him signed up in under fifteen minutes. It’s just taking the time to explain it to other people. Like I said before, people don’t know what it is. JG: One last question: What advice would you give to other places that maybe don’t have the same climate or have more diverse groups? EP: Just have the conversation. Extra Life doesn’t work by itself. It strictly relies on you going out to your friends, your family, encouraging them to get involved and then encouraging them to tell other people. Or even just going to complete strangers! You have to have the conversation because without the conversation you really aren’t going to go anywhere. You have to talk. CC: I think my advice would be: There already is an organization out there, generally, whether people know about it or not. Like, 907 Gamers was there, we just didn’t know about Extra Life. So you just need to connect. When the connection happened we found our cause. I guarantee there are other people out there that have not found their cause. Gamers, in general, they get in communities. You see gamer communities all over the internet, whether it is Destiny clans or World of Warcraft guilds, they just are there. It is just a matter of connecting them to Extra Life. They are already an organization that recruits; you already pretty much have what you need right there. You just need to inject Extra Life and ask “Would you like to do that with us?” Twitch streamers already recruit followers, you know what I mean? Gamers do that already. With other charities- you might have a runner. Runners don’t recruit, not really. Gaming already has organizations that you can use. I guess I would say try to unify those and connect them to Extra Life locally. I think every local community wants to help a local cause. ~~~ A huge thank you to Elijah and Cameron for taking the time to sit down with me in the middle of all the United craziness. If you are in Alaska, be sure to check out the 907 Gamers site or Facebook group. View full article
  11. During Extra Life United, I had the opportunity to sit down with Elijah Powell, the president of the Anchorage Guild, and Cameron Cowles, the vice president of the Guild and creator of the 907 Gamers team. I talked with them about the story of their Guild and their meteoric rise to become one of the most successful fundraising teams in North America with over $200,000 raised for 2015 - a sum which won them and the Providence Children's Hospital the ESA Per Capita check for an additional $30,000. Wondering how they managed to pull off that feat of fundraising and how you can do it, too? Read on! ~~~ Jack Gardner: You guys kind of built up this guild up out of nothing and became one of the biggest fundraisers in the United States. You were just holding the comically large $30,000 ESA check for your hospital. How did that happen? Cameron Cowles: Well, Elijah knew about Extra Life way before I did. He had been following since Sarcastic Gamer- Elijah Powell: Yeah, back in the Sarcastic Gamer days. So I have been following since ‘06 or ’07 - whenever the first one was, I followed it. And 2014 I just said, “You know, I need to do this. It is something- I’ve got 2 months to raise money I am going to raise $100.” I sat down on my computer and spammed Facebook for a couple months. I had $100 in less than 24 hours and it blew my mind. My goal just kinda went up from there. Before that, I had no interaction with 907 Gamers. I knew they were a thing, but I didn’t really know anything about them. I just went on the Extra Life page and searched for a group and found 907 Gamers and kinda attached to them to see where they were going. I found out we had a mutual friend, Charlie Sears, and that’s how our relationship grew out of that. Cameron can tell you the rest of the story for 907 Gamers and Extra Life. CC: For 907 Gamers [in 2014], I saw a picture that went around the internet that a lot of different people have seen. It was from Portland, PDXLAN, a very big gaming event that happens every year. They had posted on Reddit a picture of this room full of dried rice and all this donated stuff, like food – they had something like 22 tons of donated food. At the bottom it was almost like a meme, “but the local press didn’t post the story anywhere.” It was kind of highlighting that gamers don’t get attention for this stuff like they should. And I thought, Well, what can I do about that? I want to do something good – it doesn’t really matter to me what it is, but something local, something good, with the chair that I’m in. Our group at the time had something like 1,400 people in it. I thought if I could steer this in a direction that’s good, maybe that will get gaming and the community and gamers in Alaska into the press. Maybe get good feedback from the community and let people know that gaming can be a positive thing. I was searching for what would fit for that; what would be the right charity. There are a lot of charities out there, but Extra Life seemed really good for three reasons. It fit because it’s local and there’s not really any charities that I have seen that we can say, “We want the money to go to this hospital right where we live.” That was tenet one: It’s local. Tenet two: You can make your own team and organize your own people into it, but retain who you are. Then tenet three: It was very easy to sign up and do an event. We went on the website and without talking with anybody made a team. We were able to use the tools on there to send people messages and stuff. We just threw together an event, no expectations. We ended up having to raise our bar, raise our bar, raise our bar because we were raising so much money- EP: It was funny, I think your original goal was $500 or something. $500 and then I joined, that’s another $100. Then we hit the $500 and I think I messaged you and asked, “Are we going to raise the bar or are we going to be stuck going positive on the $500?” About 20 minutes later we bumped it up to $1,000 and it was two days later that we hit $1,000. It blew my mind how we could escalate so quickly. And then from there you had your event. CC: It’s so exciting to keep pushing that bar. Cuz it was like, Oh, man, we actually have something here. Like we’re ranking up. We are actually a contender here. And then I’m like, I’m going to spend a few hours on this and dump a few hours into it. Every hour I dumped was exponential. It was like I dumped 8 hours into this now and it has gone up to $3,000 I just keep dumping time into that and we are just going to keep going up and up and up. JG: What were you doing, exactly? Were you messaging people? CC: Private messaging people directly with a little copy-paste with some of the Extra Life promo material: Hey, it’s Cameron here. You know me I just wanted to let you know there is this Extra Life thing we are doing. If you have any questions I’d be glad to explain it. Here is a short video,” and I shared some of the Extra Life promo material, “if you think this is something cool that you might be excited to do, it is going to make money for a good cause, and you aren’t going to have more fun than a 24 hour gaming thing. I’d like you to jump in with us. We are going to throw a free little get-together; come join us! It all goes through this webpage and it all goes to local Providence Children’s Hospital. Every three people someone would be like, “This is amazing! I am so on board.” Maybe the other two people don’t view it or whatever, but I would message 800, 900 people. When it pops up on their phone it isn’t an event invite, it isn’t some spam. The think, This guy knows me from the gamer group; this is a personal invite. Can I join this? It got a lot of attention. We had the open doors lot of people could – Elijah heard about it himself, I didn’t private message him myself, he just heard about it, but a lot of it was private messaging and just getting people together and networking people together. JG: Putting in the time to make it personal. EP: Right. Someone thinks you are taking the time to talk specifically to them instead of: “HEY THIS IS WHAT I’M DOING COME JOIN US AND MAYBE YOU WILL SIGN UP AND MAYBE YOU WON’T!” CC: When a cashier or something asks you at the mall if you want to donate to breast cancer, it is easy to say, “no thanks,” and move on. But when your personal friend asks, “Will you do this thing with me for a good cause?” They are more likely to say, “Oh yeah, sure! It sounds fun.” JG: It is kind of the difference between going out and shouting “I’M DOING THIS THIIIING!!!” and approaching someone and taking the time to explain it, “I am doing this thing.” EP: Right, exactly. JG: So, your guild kind of exploded. CC: Well [the 2014] event happened without a guild. So for our first event, we, as 907 Gamers, went to this space, it is called the Maker Space. It is like this crowdfunded, non-profit tool shed where people can donate their tools and share time. They pay dues like $40-$100 a year to come and use printers and all these things and they have this back space. So we told them, “We would love to host this event where all these people come with laptops and Xboxes and TVs and play here.” They were like, “Yeah, it sounds like a great thing for us to do, get some publicity for the Maker Space from a bunch of likeminded people and the right demographic. Let’s do it. Let’s throw it together.” So, we were able to grease the wheels with the idea that this is a good cause and we all should do it. It didn’t cost anyone any money and we just kind of organized it and we did about a month of promotion for it. JG: And how did you promote it? CC: Just Facebook messages, a Facebook event, some Twittering, tagging, I mean we had a Facebook group at the time of 1,400 people that are all locals, so they would take it from there and share it on their timeline. We had some local viral effects; made YouTube videos from the b-roll from our previous events that we had done. Just putting signs on the road, we did as much stuff as we could. We weren’t working with the hospital yet. It was just our team as a community going and doing this. That night, I remember we were just rolling and rolling our bar up higher and higher during that 24 hour period. We went $5-$6-$7-$8-$9,000 and there weren’t that many people there! EP: I think at one time he went from $7,500 to $10,000 or something. There was a huge jump and I was just like, Alright, he is setting his bar high! CC: It didn’t make sense to us because we had maybe 86 people on our team, but maybe only 50 people attending. But we were making thousands of dollars an hour you know and it was just like, Man, this event is a game changer. The fact that we are holding this local gathering is just like- people all have their computers there so they are taking breaks from gaming saying, “Well, I have been playing games for five hours so I am going to sit and put a little time in, an hour of messaging.” And it wasn’t just me anymore and Elijah had gone through a bunch of family and friends, but when we get these random people in there that just come to our events, we show them what we are doing and they say things like, “Well, I have a computer here, too. I brought mine.” Basically we had a giant typestudio. We had a studio of everyone writing out messages. It was like a little sweat factory for getting the word out! It was really cool. I think I spent 9 hours of that 24 hour thing writing messages. I had at the time about 1,000 friends and I went through all of them from A-Z messaging every single one. A lot of them would come back with questions and I’d answer those, keeping a conversation going, giving them links. When multiple people are doing that it’s just crazy. The people at that event definitely donated a lot, but people are shaving their heads on Twitch for donations from outside. We did little auctions where people brought paintings or old gaming gear. One person was like, “I don’t have the money; I am living paycheck to paycheck. I can’t donate to Extra Life, but I do have an old Sega Genesis with a lot of games that I don’t play anymore and I am sure some gamer here would love to have it.” What better way to give than to give them this in return for a donation? They can get something right now from another gamer that is thanking them for donating. It’s the extra step. Just having a lot of that stuff happening. It was infectious. EP: I didn’t get the opportunity to go to the [2014 event]. My first Extra Life was very, very personal to me. I just stayed at home with a couple of friends and we kinda just did our own thing. They had a video editor on site and every hour and a half he was pumping out a new video of some new crazy thing that was going on down at the event. It would have been nice to have been there, but when you start seeing those numbers, they just keep coming. It was amazing. I think then from there you had your check presentation. CC: Yeah, so then we finished at $11,000 and our event was done and we were like holy moley. This was way beyond- we didn’t know what we were getting into with Extra Life, but this was a shock. Holy crap, you know? We all had fun everyone loved it, so we decided to do it again next year. So we were thinking, how are we going to get $11,000 again? That was a lot of work. Writing all those messages, getting all those people together, getting the space and everything, so we thought maybe we should look for some help outside of us and a Facebook group. We all did 24 hours of work that day, space, gear, I don’t know how many hours leading up to it was spent on getting people involved, added, and joining. But it was more effective than we ever thought it would be. We wanted to do it again, but we knew we had to work smarter and get help from the right people, bigger organizations than just our Facebook group involved. JG: How did you go about doing that? CC: [We had someone talk with Rick Heaton and Doc at Extra Life] and heard about the Guilds. We said, man we need a Guild. We need a connection to something that can work directly with the hospital, spread awareness through all sorts of things, just pull all these pieces together. We need a Guild. Elijah, through the 2014 event, he did it personally, I did it with a group – I was the second ranked fundraiser, but he beat me personally by himself. EP: Yeah and that’s one of the biggest – when you tell people that you are doing this Extra Life thing they ask, “Where am I supposed to find the money?” I’m answer, “I don’t want you to give me the money. That’s not what I am asking. Just ask other people for money.” That’s all I did. I signed up almost exactly two months before the event and it was twice a day I would spam Facebook saying, “Guys, the only way to get me to shut up is by donating so either donate or block me, but it isn’t going to stop coming.” So friends and family and coworkers some cash donations- CC: He broke $2,000 in a very personal way, not taking any shortcuts at all. The legitimate-connection-to-friends-and-family-way and that was hardcore. I was really impressed because I have all these people that I’m not really personally attached to in any way- they are in my facebook group and maybe we talk about games here or there, but I don’t know their life and I’ve never met some of them. I spammed out ten times as many messages, but he still beat me and that was incredible. It was really awesome that he was able to do that. We did a big check thing and that was a big turning point. We talked to a local company to do a big, fake check to symbolize that we went and raised $11,000 because, although we did it and it was online- the people that were there knew about it, but no one else knew about it. And we want everyone to know what happened. The fact that it happened was great, but we should ride off of that so that next year it is even bigger when people know about it and they can get ready to be there and be part of it. We took the check, took about five of us and scheduled a meeting with our rep at CMNH here in Anchorage. We went over there with the big check and they had never met us before. We wanted to symbolically give this to them and maybe shake hands. Maybe have the press come and takes a picture and let people know this happened. Because a lot of gamers out there weren’t a part of this. They didn’t know and they could have been. So we showed up and I think it sent a really serious vibe that we were committed to this and wanted to do it again. We weren’t just a fly-by-night operation. […] It was like February 2015 that we officially became an Anchorage guild. We were super stoked about that. EP: What’s shocking is how easy they make it to become a guild. I think it is 100 participants donate $100. For us, I think we had well over that. CC: Our first year we had 88 participants, but our average- I don’t know about statewide EP: Statewide was a little bit more, $200 or $300 maybe. We ended with $31,000 at the end of 2014 which was coming from 2013 when I think we raised $500 in our entire state. What that tells me is that somebody was participating in Extra Life, but nobody knew about Extra Life, nobody was getting the word out. We went into the Guild thing not knowing what the hell it was, then going into 2015 having all these different people showing up. JG: The hospital can be such a huge resource. EP: Yeah, absolutely. 907 Gamers, since they are the biggest Facebook group in Alaska, Cameron is able to reach out to every one of those people and it is kinda cool that we get to see new faces every time we meet as a Guild so we can share our message; share what we are doing because I am sure there are half a dozen people in between now and last year that say, “Man, what the hell is this Extra Life thing? Maybe I’ll go to the Guild meeting and figure out what it is all about.” CC: We had lots of people come that we didn’t know about coming to say, “Hey, I work for this bottling company and I can bring Rockstar for you guys.” Cool! And another said, “I have a snowboard to give away.” Oh, wow! I didn’t know we had that. We just all these people just come out of the woodwork. By the time we had our event we had a 24 hour schedule of DJs willing to donate their time to DJ for sets. We had something like 20 sets from 18 artists. JG: These are just people who showed up to your guild meetings? CC: Yeah and I reached out to some people that organized the EDM scene in Alaska, which is a very tightknit community and said, “We are doing this gamer thing and we would like DJs to come,” and then those people would go through their network. EP: I think Extra Life really brought everyone together to let everyone know that we are all pushing toward the same goal. It’s not 907 Gamers vs Magic: The Gathering vs the boardgamers. We are all Extra Life. This is what we are doing and this is what we are doing it for. CC: [Our meetings] are just an open hub that happens every month that’s in the hospital. Anyone should feel welcome to come to the local hospital and come to the Guild meeting and talk. They don’t have to be invited or know someone. This is a public event seeking public help from anyone. They can walk in. Not only that, having our hospital connection from the Guild, we know how to say, “Hey, you want to donate as Rockstar? Here is the person to talk to from the hospital and you can become a sponsor. Just go through them, we don’t deal with that.” Then they do it. It’s super easy and then they are at the event. Rockstar is at the event. That’s so cool. As 907 Gamers that would never be possible. EP: Or as Joe Shmo down the road trying to organize his own thing that wouldn’t be possible, but because we have Extra Life to bring us all together that’s opened up huge avenues for us. CC: Yeah, what has ended up happening is this hybrid machine that you have the big grass roots group pushing into and then you have anyone else that’s a corporation or other group or whatever going through the Guild and we all show up at the same thing and put on this huge show. In 2015 we went from fundraising around $30,000 to $200,000. We had a huge 24 hour event. We had to turn people away we had two generators- EP: We probably had 300-400 people show up to our event. And we had to turn away half of those because we couldn’t provide the power. CC: Our Facebook event invite was just growing and growing as the months went by. It was going to be like a stampede. We started promoting the event about three months prior. Oh man, we have 200 people now, this is getting pretty crazy. Last year was 86, so I hope not all of these people come. More and more piled up; 300, 400, 500 going. JG: Was this in the same space as the previous year, the studio? EP: No, no, no, this time we took over an entire stadium. [Laughs] The Children’s Hospital Providence has close ties to Alaska Airlines and Alaska Airlines just built this gigantic arena for the college and we were actually able to take over half the entire thing. CC: They had an auxiliary gym and that was a big step from our last event. Our last event was a long, industrial car garage and now we are in a full gym. Even with that huge jump in square feet by maybe a factor of fifteen or twenty in size we still sent hundreds of people away. We didn’t have the power for that. They dropped a 750 kilowatt generator, which is equivalent to the hospital that I was working at the time; they had a backup that kicks in if the power goes out. We had a hospital-sized generator there plus another smaller one, a 250, and the building and it wasn’t enough power. So we had an absolute slam, a tidal wave of people show up. And we can grow this. In this same event space- in the main area we have upper seating and lower seating and a giant basketball court for volleyball, basketball, college sports, a jumbotron sitting up top. That’s where we need to be next year. EP: Alaska is kind of unique because there are no conventions. There is no place for people to go to experience something like this. For us to provide that to people, that helps to boost the participation with Extra Life. If people have that thing to come to then maybe they are more willing to help out with our cause. CC: Extra Life is a new charity. A lot of people have no conception of what it is when you ask them to join. If you ask someone to donate to breast awareness, they have no affiliation with that. But when we put on this huge event and you see a video of it, you are like, Holy crap! How did I miss this? I am going to this next year, you know what I mean? People came from Fairbanks. That’s a six hour drive that people were making to come to this. And now every year that we put out a video that shows what we did it just grows. This year we started our team January 10, right at the beginning of the year. We set up automated posts for our Facebook to once a week say, “hey we are doing Extra Life this year please take the time to join.” Took a lot of extra steps compared to three months of promotion we have a full year now. Hopefully we can get a bigger space and do an even bigger event and continue to push that. I think it gives us a step up on the every other charity in Alaska because nothing is going on with those. Everyone wants to be a part of Extra Life. JG: With this last event, did you also have another space for people just to send out emails? CC: People set up their computers, so we had a huge row of probably 150 desktop computers set up for gaming, but any time when they are bored of their game or their tournament bracket is over, we’d be on the mic asking for people to please tweet, share, use their phone, take a video, post it anywhere, post a donation link to your profile. It was just incredible. Leading up to that event- as we got closer and closer, we were getting thousands of dollars every ten hours or something. We weren’t even at the event yet. By the time we got to the event we were already at $50,000 plus. The event was so big that our local ISP showed up and said, “This is so cool that this is all running on our network and all these computers are playing and all these Xboxes are connecting to GCI. Man, this is so cool!” And the VP of the ISP says, “We are going to match it up to $50,000.” So suddenly our $50,000 starts blowing out last years. We just doubled it in an instant by talking to one guy. Oh my god. Now we are in the running for the ESA check now we can win $30,000 because we are the per capita winners right now. It just attracted a lot of attention. It was unreal. JG: What do you think makes the difference between the Alaska program you have going on here and other places that have been struggling to blow up like this? CC: I can go through a list of them. One, 907 Gamers as a Facebook group is just like other Facebook groups with members and people who play, but there is a very talented team behind it that puts these events on. So, we have experience putting the events on far before we ever got involved in Extra Life. There is a huge almost-free employee network that exists for Extra Life now where we come and put these on. We have a union electrician. We have like five networking IT pros that have worked in the State government and banks – they are very professional. We have me with the social media stuff; I’m like a local celebrity now from 907 Gamers. Now we have a guild now which a lot of places don’t have. Alaska is a place where there is not a lot of competition. There is no one else doing this. If we stopped doing it, no one would do it. If 907 Gamers stopped doing LAN events completely, they would just cease to exist because there really isn’t another network team that’s doing that. There isn’t anyone who has teamed up like that before. So there are those things from 907 gamers. On top of that, Alaska is a place that’s extremely dark during the winter. It’s very cold. It’s hostile outside. People don’t want to be out in that -20 degree wind, so a lot of people want to be gamers. That’s also compounded by the fact that in Alaska there isn’t really a way to socialize that well in the winter. You can go to movies… and you can stay home. EP: We aren’t really the hey-let’s-go-to-the-mall-type people. CC: It’s too much work to go to the mall! You have to scrape the ice off your car. It is nice to stay home. But here this is something where, yeah, you have to bring your equipment and stuff so there is a bit of a time investment there, but once you get there if it is 24 hours. It’s like this is going to be a totally awesome weekend. JG: It was worth it. CC: Right. It was worth the investment for all that fun and I think a lot of people, because it is a small community, see people they know involved in it and feel drawn into it through that personal connection. EP: I’ve been doing it, this is my third year now, and I finally got my brother talked into it. I think he just recently got a PlayStation. Maybe I never reached out to him, but he was like “what is this Extra Life thing you keep posting about? Why do you keep doing that?” A little five minute conversation and we got him signed up in under fifteen minutes. It’s just taking the time to explain it to other people. Like I said before, people don’t know what it is. JG: One last question: What advice would you give to other places that maybe don’t have the same climate or have more diverse groups? EP: Just have the conversation. Extra Life doesn’t work by itself. It strictly relies on you going out to your friends, your family, encouraging them to get involved and then encouraging them to tell other people. Or even just going to complete strangers! You have to have the conversation because without the conversation you really aren’t going to go anywhere. You have to talk. CC: I think my advice would be: There already is an organization out there, generally, whether people know about it or not. Like, 907 Gamers was there, we just didn’t know about Extra Life. So you just need to connect. When the connection happened we found our cause. I guarantee there are other people out there that have not found their cause. Gamers, in general, they get in communities. You see gamer communities all over the internet, whether it is Destiny clans or World of Warcraft guilds, they just are there. It is just a matter of connecting them to Extra Life. They are already an organization that recruits; you already pretty much have what you need right there. You just need to inject Extra Life and ask “Would you like to do that with us?” Twitch streamers already recruit followers, you know what I mean? Gamers do that already. With other charities- you might have a runner. Runners don’t recruit, not really. Gaming already has organizations that you can use. I guess I would say try to unify those and connect them to Extra Life locally. I think every local community wants to help a local cause. ~~~ A huge thank you to Elijah and Cameron for taking the time to sit down with me in the middle of all the United craziness. If you are in Alaska, be sure to check out the 907 Gamers site or Facebook group.
  12. Mokinns

    Golden Ticket!

    I was watching The Office (because who doesn't love that show) and the episode where Michael puts a golden sheet of paper in 5 random paper boxes came on. I immediately thought that would be an awesome idea for fundraising! My thoughts revolve around live streaming, so if you don't stream this can be easily modified. I don't have it all nailed down in my head, but I was thinking something like every time someone donates I could bring up a digital board of flipped over cards - similar to Memory. A few of those cards would be gold and I would let the viewer choose the card for me to flip. If it's gold they get a giveaway prize, and if it's not I'll have some sort of smaller conciliation prize. You could use a digital spin wheel, or even draw a card out of a hat or something. I thought it would be fun so I'm pretty excited to give it a try! Let me know if any of you have done something like this and how it worked out!
  13. Mokinns

    "Retro"/"Parent" Initiative

    Happy Monday! I'm not sure if this would work better as a fundraising idea or a recruiting idea, but the thought may kick start something either way! I had made a list of some ideas for outreach and a "retro initiative" came to mind. Not necessarily a push for playing old Mario games or anything like that, but more of a way to reach parents or older generations. I know when I try to explain Extra Life to my mom (who was a PC gamer back in the day) it's still a bit over her head. Maybe Extra Lifers could ask their parents what they played as kids, or even as adults, and we could somehow use that to peak their interest in signing up themselves, or at the very least help them better relate to the program and be more willing to support and donate. For example, my mom played a lot of Riven when I was growing up. I never hear mention of that game anymore, but I know it was popular and it might peak some memories for people. Then today I saw a campaign from Netflix called #HookUpYourParents as a way to show how easy it is for those who may not be up to date with technology to download, register, and use Netflix. It pretty much nailed the idea I had in mind, so I figured I'd share the thought. I don't know how I would run with this idea, but if anyone else thinks it may work maybe we can brainstorm something great!
  14. Hi everyone! As we all know, promoting and talking about Extra Life is how we reach our goals! There are some great hashtags going currently so if you utilize social media then take advantage of these! Even if you are not a part of these specific hashtags, it's important to use them in general discussions to raise awareness! *NOTE* Always pair your hashtag with an #ExtraLife tag. This will allow for more visibility and better association! (ex. "join the #extralife #streamteam") If you know of any other hashtags that are being used, list them in the comments below and I will add them to this post. Current Hashtags #ForTheKids or #FTK (a way to quickly notate what Extra Life is all about!) #StreamTeam (used to talk about the official extra life Twitch channel and it's streamers. Details HERE) #100DaysofGaming (used to reference a promotional effort of gamers gaming for 100 days straight leading up to Game Day - details HERE) #FFFriday (Final Fantasy Friday - while not a direct promotion of Extra Life, this is a group of Extra Lifers who play FF games with their communities and talk about the charity - details HERE)
  15. until
    We are very excited to announce that we will be gaming at The Frontier of RTP. The Frontier located in the center of RTP and is a super-modern, shared office space. The venue allows anyone to drop-in and have meetings completely free of charge. The space is HUGE and has plenty of tables, chairs, couches, projectors, power outlets that pull down from the ceiling and most importantly has very fast internet. Check out a few pictures below. I don't think we could have hoped for a better location! Who's excited!?
  16. Congrats team! We raised over $10,000 this weekend and gained 28 new participants...bringing our fundraising total to $34,174.00! Here's a patient video (showing off her infamous cape)....to bring a smile to your faces on this rainy Monday: https://youtu.be/ZB1acuFBv7I Keep up the awesome work!!
  17. Marcia Morgan

    Game Day Shirt

    So there's a tip on the Extra Life site under "Experience - Best Practices - How to Actually Ask for Donations" that suggests getting a t-shirt and having people sign it for you to wear during your marathon. I have taken it a step further, and for a $5 donation I will write my friends names on my shirt. Bigger donation, bigger spot/better art (well...I can't draw, but it's better-ish) So far I have raised $330 just for the shirt. What makes this even better is it gives me an excuse to post more often about Extra Life. I get a donation and then can post the picture once I add the person's donation/art to the shirt. I tag them in the post "Thanks so much to @blahblah for donating! If anyone else wants on my shirt donate $5 or more at www.extra-life.org/participant/jax I've had great luck with this, and people will get really creative. I'm sharing the video I put out today about it. Took me about 3 minutes to make the video. WIN_20151026_13_00_08_Pro.mp4
  18. The Extra Life community is honored to be powered by Twitch for 2015 in our mission to save the lives of sick and injured local kids being treated at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals throughout North America. Twitch and Extra Life are nearly the same age with Twitch officially born in 2011, just a year after Extra Life became an international program. Throughout our lives, together, the women and men at Twitch have been some of the most ardent supporters of our program. From making last year’s Extra Life United possible, to introducing our cause to some of their most prolific partners, Twitch’s generosity has helped us write so much of our story. To celebrate our 4th Extra Life working together, Twitch is offering a 30-Day Subscription of Twitch Turbo to every Extra Lifer that raises just $5 for their local hospital! Redemption emails will be sent out starting this week. Twitch Turbo will give you an ad-free experience on everything you watch, a custom set of chat emoticons, expanded chat color options, an exclusive Turbo badge and increased video storage for your past Twitch broadcasts. Redemption codes for your Twitch Turbo subscription are automatically delivered to the email address in your Extra Life profile within a few short hours of raising your first $5. It should be noted that these codes are for new subscribers only, so if you’ve already hopped on the Twitch Turbo train, feel free to leverage your code for a donation to your fundraising page. For example: “I’ve got a code for a free month of Twitch Turbo for the next person to donate $X to my Extra Life page!” On behalf of millions of kids and a grateful Extra Life Community, THANK YOU to our friends at Twitch for once again stepping up big For The Kids. To see all of the Extra Life 2015 Fundraising Power Ups, visit www.extra-life.org/prizes View full article
  19. LeaveIt2Beaver

    Extra Life 2015 is Powered by TWITCH!

    The Extra Life community is honored to be powered by Twitch for 2015 in our mission to save the lives of sick and injured local kids being treated at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals throughout North America. Twitch and Extra Life are nearly the same age with Twitch officially born in 2011, just a year after Extra Life became an international program. Throughout our lives, together, the women and men at Twitch have been some of the most ardent supporters of our program. From making last year’s Extra Life United possible, to introducing our cause to some of their most prolific partners, Twitch’s generosity has helped us write so much of our story. To celebrate our 4th Extra Life working together, Twitch is offering a 30-Day Subscription of Twitch Turbo to every Extra Lifer that raises just $5 for their local hospital! Redemption emails will be sent out starting this week. Twitch Turbo will give you an ad-free experience on everything you watch, a custom set of chat emoticons, expanded chat color options, an exclusive Turbo badge and increased video storage for your past Twitch broadcasts. Redemption codes for your Twitch Turbo subscription are automatically delivered to the email address in your Extra Life profile within a few short hours of raising your first $5. It should be noted that these codes are for new subscribers only, so if you’ve already hopped on the Twitch Turbo train, feel free to leverage your code for a donation to your fundraising page. For example: “I’ve got a code for a free month of Twitch Turbo for the next person to donate $X to my Extra Life page!” On behalf of millions of kids and a grateful Extra Life Community, THANK YOU to our friends at Twitch for once again stepping up big For The Kids. To see all of the Extra Life 2015 Fundraising Power Ups, visit www.extra-life.org/prizes
  20. AndrewRDU

    Ubisoft Charity Jam

    All this week, Ubisoft are streaming from their offices around the world, each of them supporting a different charity. Charity Jam is a yearly event for the company and gives them a chance to give back, let the fans see some previews of upcoming games, meet the developers and see some behind the scenes of what goes into developing a game. Tomorrow,*EDIT* On Thursday, the Cary based Red Storm Entertainment will be featured on the Ubisoft Twitch Page from 4:00PM - 5:00PM. Red Storm has chosen to donate to Extra Life and recently took a tour of Duke Children's Hospital with myself and @Kommander Keri. They are very excited to be working with us and have kindly invited myself and @MajorLinux to their studio. Tune in at 4:00 PM on their Twitch channel to learn what Red Storm is currently working on and see us talk about Extra-Life! Hope I don't mess this one up!! No pressure! For The Kids!
  21. Howdy all! Apologies for the late post but at our most recent guild meeting on 7/15, we covered some fundraising tips and tricks vetted by Kiersten and shared the past two years by Extra Lifers. As we roll forward with fundraising, hopefully these will help you! Check out the tips below and add any of your own as a comment! Make Extra Life personal - Remove the default text and explain who you are, what you're doing, and why your Extra Lifing. Tell the story of why you're doing Extra Life. Your friends and family are more likely to take the time to donate if you have demonstrated your commitment by personally explaining why they should give.Post a photo - If you've Extra Lifed before, do you have a photo from last year's marathon? If you're Extra Lifing in honor of someone or something, post a photo of that person or thing.Set a meaningful goal - While the default goal is $100 (or $200 if you went platinum for the swag), set a goal that you can tell a story with as you make your appeals. Even after you have created your own account, you can change your goal! Doc at Children's Miracle Network provided some great examples:Set a goal related to the person your honoring through Extra Life. In 2011, Doc set a goal of $5,415, or five dollars for each and every day that his friend Tori fought her leukemia.Raise $10 for each healthy year of your own childhood.Raise a quarter for each child treated at Primary Children's Hospital each year.Add a video - Use your cell phone to record yourself sharing why you Extra Life. If you're camera shy, youc an upload a patient story from the Primary Children's Hospital YouTube channel. The best way to tell the hospital's story is through our patients.Include Primary Children's Hospital facts and figures - One of the other things that we all know helps is understanding the hospital that we are supporting! Kiersten posted some great, recent statistics about how much Extra Life helps kids at Primary Children's.Advertise Extra Life events on social media - It sounds self-serving but if people are already going to conventions that Extra Life SLC Guild will be at, telling them to stop by the Extra Life booth will give them a real life connection and from there they may be more inclined to get involved, either through donation or by signing up themselves.Talk to people about Extra Life - Again, it is that face-to-face connection that will inspire people to take action, more than passive, social media posts.Invite people individually - Last year, one of the SLC Guild fundraising all stars talked about how he picked one person during a month to call or sit down with over a meal and talk about why he was participating in Extra Life and how much it meant to him. He made sure he picked someone who he believed would really like to donate, and had the means to, but perhaps hadn't been aware of it or hadn't been given an opportunity to donate.No pressure sales tactics - You don't have to apologize or excuse your way out of a donation or sign up but if someone doesn't want to donate or join up (even if they love playing games) that's okay. It's better to leave someone with a positive interaction of the hospital or Extra Life rather than turning it into a negative experience due to badgering.Be excited! - Extra Life isn't just some thing that you're doing. You've committed to putting in a lot of work to make a difference for sick kids! That's awesome! Excitement is infectious and can inspire action. People love Primary Children's Hospital. Don't be shy about talking about what you're doing. People will be impressed!Be open - If people can't donate money, that's all right. They can contribute/help you in a lot of different ways. I had many friends who couldn't donate money but shared my fundraising page on their profiles. I had friends who didn't sign up to play because I hadn't spread the word to them well enough last year, but watched my stream, shared my stream, and played games that day to support me. If someone is interested but can't stream or they're interested but only really play card games - all are welcome! Even if people can't give money, everyone has a network. Who do they know who can help or may have a personal reason for wanting to help.Think outside the box - Company matching? Company posting through corporate social media? School teams? Company teams? School events or matching? Think outside the box!
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