If you have been following our progress the last few months, you will know that we have been working feverishly to organize our 5th Annual Kids Are Heroes Day to be held at the Francis Scott Key Mall in Frederick, Maryland on October 27th. This is a celebration of the children from our website as we invite all of them to attend. Sadly we cannot afford to cover their travel expenses, so only the ones who can afford to attend make the trip. Since Disney star Allisyn Ashley Arm agreed to be our headliner we have attracted more heroes and more people who are interested in coming. Like any other non-profit, we must come up with a way to pay for all of this. Thankfully we have had some good support from our fans via our Donor Walls, but not enough to cover the event. This is the part where I must travel outside of my comfort zone; the part where I have to go out and approach local businesses. So I “took one for the team” and did solicit 15 local businesses over a period of time with marginal success. I did receive lots of encouragement from them however. Everyone loved what we were doing, but the economy has hit our local businesses as hard as it has hit everyone else and most of them respectfully declined.
“You are doing it the right way,” they said. “You must talk to people face to face. You can’t do this through social media.” Despite the fact that our tail was between our legs we didn’t give up. It became a challenge to us to prove the folks wrong who said it couldn’t be done through social media. We thought that surely some company would see the value in what we were doing and how we would promote them. So we wrote a blog post about what sponsors could expect. Despite the fact that our event is local, it attracts people from all over the world. After all, our heroes (49 at last count) are coming from 3 countries and 11 states in the US. We have a significant global following that we would respectfully share with our “Official Sponsor”. The challenge would be to send out the link enough times so people could see it but not too many times as to annoy our regular fans.
Then it happened. After sending a link to that blog post out via Twitter, we received a tweet from someone asking “Would you consider an overseas sponsor?” After confirming who it was I said “Why not?” and the talks were underway. We Skyped the next week and by that Friday we had the $3000.00, the price of being an “Official Sponsor”, in our account.
When I asked Jamie Tosh, owner of Kibooku.com, what he hoped to gain from this relationship he simply stated that “I wouldn’t say it’s all for gain. We think what you do is great and we are happy to be in the position to sponsor your event. If it gets us any recognition over there at all then that’s a plus for us. At the end of the day it benefits us to be attached to you.” He went on to say, “I think what you’re doing is fantastic. I think that your daughter to come up with the idea and how far you’ve got with it is absolutely amazing.”
Jamie is the founder of Kibooku, a safer social networking site for kids aged 6-13. The company is based out of Arbroath, Scotland, some 3500 miles away from Frederick, Maryland in the USA. They have only launched their site about three months ago and already have hundreds of subscribers. It is clear that their efforts fit perfectly with our demographic. But what I like about them even more is that I see similarities between Jamie’s journey and ours. Jamie has twin girls in the 7th grade. One of them, unbeknownst to him, was being cyber-bullied on a chat site by a classmate. After dealing with the school and the other child’s parents, Jamie decided to look for a safer environment for his kids to participate in while they are online. He searched for sites and didn’t find anything that satisfied him, so he decided to create one himself. Now what I think is very cool about this story is that Jamie is not a computer techie who can just do this at will. He is a former architect who now owns his own construction company. He admits he doesn’t even have his own Facebook account. But he had the passion to protect his twins and went about creating a safe environment for kids. He believes his is the only social networking site for kids (including those hosted in the US) that makes sure an adult is involved by forcing the adult to pay a minimal annual fee via credit card (for tracing purposes) and by shutting down the child’s account if the adult does not physically monitor the child’s activity on a regular basis.
So as it turns out I don’t think I could be happier about our relationship. A non-profit cannot necessarily afford to choose where the money comes from, so we are thrilled that it came from someone with similar experiences to us. And we honestly do hope that we can help raise visibility for his company in the US and around the world. Now if I could just understand him when we converse then that’ll be the icing on the cake. :-)