PJ Hagerty is a co-organiser of Prompt. Travis Foundation is providing an new organisational home for Prompt so it may continue its important work.
A Growing community
A little over two years ago, this team began a journey to end the stigma of mental health in tech. Spurred on by Eamon Leonard, we started out as a part of the Engine Yard Community Team. We found a few speakers and started getting them to the events best suited to some real talk about issues surrounding mental health and the technology community.
We were lucky. Things went better than expected. When those original speakers took the stage, a group made up of Greg Baugues, John Dalton, and Ed Finkler, people responded. They made it okay to talk with people and share that sometimes, everything is not okay, sometimes, you need to reach out for help to make yourself better.
Some might say it went a little too well.
After Engine Yard
For more than a year, Engine Yard acted as our sole benefactor. As more events were interested in having Prompt speakers, we added more speakers with a greater diversity of backgrounds and issues. It was more than one company was willing to handle.
For a while, we pulled back. We needed to find new support, but we weren’t sure how. This isn’t easy to pitch as there is no way to track Return On Investment for people responding to mental health talks. Add to that the fact that we didn’t have a way to handle money even if we had sponsors and the three co-coordinators were spinning plates.
A chance meeting at a get together between Prompt Co-Cordinator, Noah Slater and Anika Lindnter of the Travis Foundation started us on a new road. We had a place to keep things organized and to keep money should it start coming in. Now we just needed the money part.
Where IndieGoGo Came In
After looking at a lot of different options, the team at Prompt decided we would try crowd funding. We’d seen it work successfully for other projects, why not for us?
We took a look at the various things available and landed at IndieGoGo. They offered the flexibilty we needed and the ability to run things the way we felt made sense for our project.
I put together a video showing some of our speakers and explaining what it is we do. Looking at the books, we thought doubling the previous budget of $10,000US was a good goal. We made it live and hoped for the best. It was time to start letting people know.
FundClub to the Rescue
At the beginning we saw people donating at a trickle. A few per day as we tweeted, emailed, cajoled, and mentioned it to anyone anywhere who was willing to give us a sympathetic ear.
After about a week we received an email from Ashe Dryden of AlterConf and Shanley Kane at Model, View, Culture (MVC for short). These two scions of community activism introduced us to MVC’s and AlterConf’s joint venture, Fund Club. This is a club of MVC subscribers and AlterConf attendees/followers along with other interested parties who are notified by Ashe and Shanley about causes worth supporting.
We couldn’t have been more surprised at the upsurge. The Fund Club folks boosted us to the tune of nearly $8,000 USD. We were ecstatic - we were going to be able to do this, to bring our speakers back to stages all over the world. Thanks is not enough for what Ashe and Shanley helped us accomplish.
We Didn’t Quite Make It
One of the cool parts of IndieGoGo is their flexible funding option. With this, we could collect funds even if we fell a bit short of our $20,000US goal. We would be able to provide our speakers’ services and people had interest.
Sadly, we missed the mark, but still managed to raise nearly $14,000US to our cause. This means Prompt is back in action and we’ll be able to get people were they need to be, in front of people who need to hear more about Mental Health in Tech.
So Much Thanks
If you contributed, whether it was $1, $2, or much much larger, our hearts are bursting with gratitude. You are helping to make this happen and helping to end the idea that someone who works in tech must suffer alone.
If you missed the opportunity, or your organization might want to get involved, there is still a chance. Contact us firstname.lastname@example.org and we will work with you to make it happen!
If you are an event organizer and are interested in having one of our speakers at your event, please do not hesitate to email us.
Back on the Stage
We want to bring people together everywhere, to share what we’ve experienced and what we’ve learned. We want to make the tech community a better, more mentally healthy place to be. Let’s do this together.