A Tip From HARO’s Playbook: Community Organizers In Need

This is a cross-blog post from Network Solution’s Solutions Are Power website that I guest wrote. Originally posted on SolutionsArePower.com on July 16, 2009.

A while ago, an amazing “movement” was stated by Peter Shankman called Help A Reporter Out. The group’s goal was set to accomplish one mission: to connect reporters with sources. Thanks to the insights of Shankman, the HARO campaign has been recognized by many in the industry as a great success and even was named the People’s Choice Award at The 2nd Annual Open Web Awards last year.

Help a Community Organizer OutWith this much recognition, it’s probably no surprise that folks are going to stand up and take notice at this remarkable case study. And that’s apparently what has just taken place in the San Francisco Bay Area with the creation of HACOO or perhaps known as Help A Community Organizer Out. Taking a tip straight out of Peter Shankman’s playbook, the mastermind behind HACOO is none other than Social Media Club founder, Chris Heuer. Himself a community organizer, often times he finds it difficult to connect with the right people, whether they be volunteers, participants, sponsors or all of the above. HACOO’s goal is to create a simple mailing list that will go out to those participants to make it easier to build that connection.

HACOO is not just a local initiative here in San Francisco. On the contrary. It’s a national and probably even international movement that will get people talking, sharing ideas, collaborating, donating or simply offering whatever help they can. While I personally have not organized an event or meeting or movement of any sizeable significance, I have been to numerous events where I’ve seen emails fly around, messages posted on Facebook, people leaving tweets, all asking the same thing: sign up to attend and that they’re looking for more sponsors. It is my belief that HACOO can help remove that burden – perhaps a quite unnecessary one – from the community organizers so they can work to put together a quality program that will show value to the attendees.

Help a Community Organizer Out - RegisterMake no mistake that this is NOT an event management site. Far from it. It’s a simple mailing list where you first register your name and your interest (are you a sponsor? volunteer? community organizer?) and then when there is an opportunity that presents itself, an email will be sent out to the targeted list and connects you with the requester.

What’s more, if you have an event that you want to share that you need some assistance with, then HACOO also offers you an option to submit that event along with what specific need you need assistance with. As of right now, it is NOT an event calendar so I believe it’s not wise to be emailing your band’s next concert, art sale, student council bake sale, etc to HACOO as it will just be deleted.

According to Heuer, “it is geared towards those Community Organizers who are trying to bring a community together [in real life] at an event, tweetup, meetup, monthly meeting, camp, unconference, conference or other sort of event.”

It’s an amazing initiative and needs more people interested to make it a true success like Shankman’s HARO. So if you’re a community organizer or if you’re looking to volunteer your time or even sponsor a local event happening in your town or city, I encourage you to sign up. It will not cost you anything and there are no obligations once you do. If something is of interest to you and you believe you can make a difference to help affect these events, then do something.

If you’re a community organizer, you can submit your request for support here. For supporters who want to receive the soon-to-be daily emails with these help requests, you can fill out the form here.