Open Books

I love Open Books. Did you know that Chicago has a low literacy rate of over 50%. I can’t imagine trying to navigate life as an adult, unable to read what I need to, in order to get through my day. Open Books has the most innovative programs to inspire the love of reading and writing in children and adults. And their bookstore is like none other. LOVE!

So when I was approached by Razoo to chair the Chicago efforts for the national give day, Twive and Receive, I said sure! I got to choose the nonprofit that we would be raising money for in Chicago. You may know how I feel about Open Books and its founder, Stacy Ratner. I am not in a position to make substantial donations to the organization. But I can create great momentum to facilitate others giving to this incredible organization.
So here’s the deal. Today, June 14th, is a national competition. Cities all around the country are spending 24 hours fundraising for their chosen organization. The top 3 fundraising cities will receive additional funds of $15,000, $10,000, and $5,000. How I would love for Open Books to be one of those winners!
If you are in Chicago, join us at Open Books for Literacy Olympics, tonight, from 6-9:00 pm. We’ll have silly and nerdy book games, delicious Wow Bao to eat, and loads of fun. It is $15 to come in and $25 to join in the game playing.
Open Books Literacy Olympics

Support the power of books!


If you can’t come, PLEASE go into this site and make your donation to support Open Books. Every gift, no matter the size, will make a difference. So whether you can give $5.00 or $500, please support Open Books.
If literacy and Open Books are not your passion, but you feel connected to me, then do it for me. I can’t even begin to describe what a critical role Stacy Ratner has played for me as I have navigated this journey over the past 3 years.
And if you are on Twitter, the hashtag is #twivereceive.
Thank you! Hope to see you at Open Books tonight and/or your donation in the tally on the Twive and Receive site.

I am not a fundraiser. In reality though, working in the nonprofit sector means everyone is involved in fundraising. So it’s not that I have never worn the fundraising hat. It just isn’t the primary description I inscribe on my shingle. However, social media and the people I have met through those channels seem to be slowly changing that for me.

Gulf fisherman affected by the BP oil spill

Gulf fisherman affected by the BP oil spill

It all started a few years ago when I met my friend Geoff Livingston on Twitter. Not long after we exchanged tweets, he traveled to the Gulf with Citizen Effect. Geoff is a talented photographer who used his camera to document the impact of the BP oil spill on the people of the Gulf. His compelling photographs captivated me every day. After the trip, Geoff and the rest of the Citizen Effect group that traveled together decided to create a national fundraising event with coordinators in each city to benefit Gulf fishermen and their families. I was soon recruited via Twitter to be the Chicago coordinator. It was no easy task to coordinate this national event via the telephone, twitter, and email. But Citizen Effect did just that. We spoke regularly to coordinate, brainstorm, and share ideas. Most of the promotion we did was via Twitter, Facebook, and blog posts. That is how the buzz was created for the trip to the Gulf and how the buzz was created for the national fundraising event. Ultimately, I think what made the entire initiative work was the photos that people shared. Whether it was Geoff’s pictures from the trip itself, or the photos from the night’s events, the pictures made it real.

Join in this national effort

Join in this national effort

And now I am in the midst of getting to work with Geoff once again on a national fundraiser. This time it is with Razoo. On June 14th, cities across the country will join together for a day called Twive and Receive. Each city has a coordinator who chooses a nonprofit to be the day’s beneficiary. I have chosen Open Books to be the recipient nonprofit organization.

Open Books is a nonprofit that promotes literacy

Open Books is a nonprofit that promotes literacy

During these weeks leading up to the event, we are using blog posts, Twitter, Facebook, and the website that Razoo has created for us to promote Twive and Receive. Chicago has a pretty large network of people who are involved in and passionate about social good. One of the challenges for us will be that many people already have their pet causes. I have begun reaching out to high impact individuals who are not already tied to another organization. Their support and outreach via social media, blogs, and announcements at events in Chicago will be critical to our success. Additionally, we will use the network that Open Books has created to promote Twive and Receive to their network. I will also be utilizing my own network on Twitter and Facebook to promote this event.

I encourage you to consider serving as a coordinator for your city. Working with Citizen Effect and now with Twive and Receive, connected me with a whole new community of do-gooders and I learned so many great skills about effective promotion, event creation, and utilizing social media in the nonprofit sector. To this day, I still feel pretty great about the money we raised for Gulf fishermen and their families. And I am thrilled to be able to help do the same for Open Books.