Austin Browncoats: From Fan Group to Nonprofit

SXSW Description

Austin Browncoats is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization located in Austin, Texas. We started as a small fan group, but, in 2007, changed paths and became a non-profit organization. We are often asked about this journey, from fan-group to non-profit and how we: created our identity, transitioned from fun to business (and fun!) and maintained the integrity of the original group, while allowing it to adapt for business needs. We want to share our unique take of raising money for charity, while still maintaining close ties to our fan group community. We will show individuals how to make the most of their grassroots, street team marketing, as well as social networking. We have an entire team who costumes for charity who will be at our panel, as live models, for photography. We will also demonstrate how an effective use of conventions and genre-fan events can lead to a very generous donor pool. We will also talk about the best way to find a dedicated team of volunteers who are willing to work 20+ hours a week, for free, in order to make the world a better place!

Initial Thoughts

Browncoats unite! Can’t help it – I may have slightly geeked out in this session. Love me some fellow Browncoats. I honestly wasn’t quite sure to expect from this one, but I came away with A LOT of information that I needed for my own almost-nonprofit group. Plus, we talked about geeky things and I won a “Joss Whedon is my god” shirt, so all was good.

Key Takeaways

  • Austin Browncoats was originally JUST a Firefly fan group.
  • Other than social media, how do you do fundraising? They made Jayne hats during a convention and people donated them for charity. Do unconventional things to raise money – be creative!
  • “If they have Firefly, they will come.” – B.Nelson.
  • How do you market yourself? How do you get in contact with places like the Alamo Drafthouse and not have them just close the door on you? How do you gain credentials?
  • Charities need two things: fundraising and a volunteer force.
  • Anybody has a skill that can be put to good use. If you want to do good, you can.
  • Galaxy Highland here in ATX loves working with nonprofits!
  • Be a storyteller – be a wordsmith – make connections.
  • KNOW the people you ask for help from and know THEIR audience too.
  • Post on groups that are relevant to you.
  • Contact local radion and tv shows – the news!
  • ACT like you’re bigger and better and have amazing credentials – people will love your confidence and be more willing to help.

Twitter Highlights

Unfortunately, internet went out for this session, so no tweets.

Design Coyote


Date & Location

Monday, March 13, 2012
Austin Convention Center
Theme: Better Tomorrow

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