How YOU can ignite social change

, Friday, June 28th, 2013

fires-sm5Calling all social good thought leaders, influencers, change makers, teachers, shit stirrers, idealists, creators, and other enlightened humans.

We need YOU.

How often have you wondered, “Given all the innovation in the air at the South by Southwest interactive festival in Austin every spring, why aren’t there more people talking about authentic social change in the world?” Too often, right? (Of course, right.) Sadly, given the shift to broader content categories and the reduced number of speaking slots available, many of the non profit tech (nptech) community’s voices were left out of the conversation at sxsw 2013.

It’s time to change all that. Our challenge this year is remarkably simple: We’re going to beat the system – together.

For those unfamiliar with that system – how content is selected for SxSW – let me introduce to you to your new BFF – the Panel Picker. During July, hopeful speakers submit proposals for panels, solo presentations, workshops, through a relatively straightforward online interface. In August, all ideas are posted and the online community has 3 weeks to vote on which proposals they want to see at the show in March. In addition, SxSW Advisory Boards and staff play a role in the decision-making. and the first batch of selected sessions are announced mid October.

Now it’s your turn. It’s time to show SxSW how sexy it is to change the world. Let’s DO this.

Step one: Think Big
Between July 1 and July 26th, bombard the SxSW panel picker with as many of your earth shaking and world changing session ideas as possible. Cross-pollinate the issues facing our passionate community with those outside of it to raise eyebrows and create unexpected results. Positioning the world’s biggest stories through the lens of social change will help us reach a much wider audience. We can’t keep all the good stuff to ourselves. It’s nice to share.

Step two: Make new friends
Recruit the boldest, smartest, and real-est people to speak on these sessions, and mix up NPtechies with folks doing totally different work outside our sector. Imagine what new insight could come from (for example) a developer, a non-profit executive and a musician debating social change? Work your networks to involve interesting people you admire and reach across the for profit/non profit aisle to create diverse mashups of voices that will engage, delight and excite the SxSW audience.

Step three: Eat our own dogfood
Once the panel picker opens for public voting on August 19th, work together to develop engaging promotional campaigns that will get our ideas into the general public’s consciousness. Blog, tweet, tumbl, vlog, interpretive dance – whatever it takes. If only the usual suspects in the NPtech community vote for our sessions, we’ll never reach the broader audience that needs to experience our brilliance. Getting the attention of SxSW staff and the advisory board is even more important, so pull out all the stops to turn your session into a “must see” experience.

So, are you in or are you out?

Have questions? Need another pair of eyes on your submission? Just want a high five? Tweet @BrianReich or @Naieve for dose of inspiration or share your ideas with the #goodforsxsw hashtag.

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