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Inviting the Geeks to Support Your Cause Marketing

Wired magazine’s website has an intriguing story about the ways fanboys and girls of Dr. Who, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and others actively support charities. But how might your cause tap the support of these self-described geeks?

Chapters of the 501st Legion, whose members dress as characters from Star Wars for events, donate their honorarium for their appearances to charities.

The Harry Potter Alliance does work for children’s hospitals.

Wordbuilders, an organization started and maintained by fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss, has raised $1.7 million for Heifer International over the last four years.

Current Dr. Who star Matt Smith made an appearance in character on the UK’s Red Nose Day telethon.

So how do seek and utilize the support of the geeks for your cause?

Here’s three suggestions:
  1. If you don’t already speak the language of the target group, try immersion. A colleague hated NASCAR until her fundraising job at a children’s hospital in Tennessee forced to learn more about it. She went to the races, but more than that started following a couple of the drivers. Before long she was not only conversant, but a fan.
  2. Ask your target group first to volunteer. If you thought a chapter of the 501st Legion could be an interesting ally, figure out a cool role for them in an upcoming event and ask them to appear. Studies show that on average volunteers are far more generous donors of money than non-volunteers.
  3. Let them take the reins. You let golfers organize their own tourneys for your cause, why not let geeks roll their own too? The show Serenity, from director Joss Whedon, spawned a screening in 2006 for fans that has become an annual event and has raised more than $800,000 for several charities. 

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