Community.

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I’d like to say that I’ve never known the power of community until now, but that’s probably not true. However, all experiences before The Start Experiment have been blocked in my mind thanks to all the awesomeness that’s happened.

Not too long ago a few random acts of kindness lead to the birth of “The Generosity Project” (also known as “#StartJOY”). The project was lead by members of The Start Experiment (read: actual members; not anyone associated with our leader, Jon Acuff). We were challenged as a community to raise $1,000 in 1 week to send a beloved Start Experiment member to the START Conference. The funds would cover 1 conference ticket, 1 hotel room and 1 flight to this super awesome 2-day event in Tennessee. It will have speakers, songwriters and other leaders teaching people how to journey along the road to Awesome.

The kick-off video was put together by our #StartJOY mastermind, Casey Lewis:

After the kick-off, we blew the fundraising out of the water by raising $1,000 in 90 minutes! YES! That happened.

So, with enough the money raised for one person, what were we going to do with the other 9,990 minutes that week? We were challengedΒ  to up the ante to $5,000 to send 5 people to the conference. This Drive for 5 campaign was awesome. It had peaks and valleys of interest so we had to get creative to keep the momentum moving. Start Experiment members donated goods, services and side-hugs (yep) to raise funds. I threw in a Ramsey Package that included books, DVD’s, envelope systems, and other Financial Peace University items. This package was a result of arriving way too early and staying as long as possible at Dave Ramsey LIVE events. I knew that would pay off one day! :)

We blew up social media went crazy with Facebook posts, Tweets, Retweets, quoted Tweets, Instagram photos, and posts on the member-run website, FrankenSTART.

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Even Jon Acuff got in on the action by donating 5-minute phone calls, autographed START books and coveted START bracelets designed by his entrepreneurial daughter, L.E.. That’s just another example of how awesome and down-to-earth Jon is. He gave his time, he gave his product and he shared a little piece of his family so 5 strangers who believed in him could have a shot at their own dreams. :::insert pause to wipe tears:::

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As you saw in the tweets above, we met our goal of $5,000 with just a few hours to spare. We actually went a little over to cover fees associated with using GoFundMe.com. GO TEAM STARTJOY! :)

As for the winners, applications were submitted anonymously and required 100-word answers to only three questions:

  1. Why do you want to attend the Start Conference?
  2. How are you currently hustling on your dream?
  3. How would the Start Conference help you move closer to your dream?

Winners received a ticket to START Conference, flight, hotel stay in Brentwood, Tennessee, and a 30-minute coaching call from Jon Acuff. The only thing they have to worry about is paying for meals. Not a bad prize, don’tcha think??

After deliberating for-ev-errrrr over 95 anonymous applications (JK, it was just a few days…), the winners were finally announced! And guess what…

I’M ONE OF THEM!!! And I’m so excited, I can’t stand it!

BUT, this post is not about me. It’s about the power of COMMUNITY and how over 3,000 people rallied together to send 5 of their own (whom most of them have actually never met in person) to an event that will change their lives.

On a final note, the generosity of this group is crazy contagious. We ended up raising enough money to also cover 4 ticket-only scholarships, and another 15 tickets were donated by the anonymous “StartSanta.” Then, the “StartElves,” not associated with The Generosity Project, privately raised more money to send one final friend.

If you’ve read this far, then THANK YOU for doing so. :) This community is awesome! I pray you’re a part of it or get to experience something like it one day. You will be blessed in ways you never expected. :)

What do you think? Have you been a part of an awesome community such as this? Share your stories below!

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13 thoughts on “Community.

  1. Pingback: START Conference 2013: #alltheAwesomeness | shades of may

  2. Pingback: Notes from START Conference | shades of may

  3. Pingback: My 2013 Year in Review | shades of may

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