Last Thursday night, a congregation of CEO’s all marched into Etihad Stadium to brave the annual St Vincent de Paul CEO Sleepout event. The CEO Sleepout is known as a fundraising event that brings together CEO’s from all around the nation to experience living homeless first hand. This year – the CEO Sleepout Victorian event brought together 150 CEO’s to ‘Rise to the Challenge’. All that they were allowed to bring was warm clothing and one sleeping bag.
Upon arrival, CEO’s were welcomed with a friendly smile and were handed their cardboard box bed for the night. Mind you, these were just flat sheets of cardboard where CEO’s had to make the most out of to shield them from the cold. Attendees roamed around the vicinity only to find the warmest spot, where tips were handed out to either stay away from setting up their beds next to toilet doors or exit doors to avoid Melbourne’s notorious midnight chills.
Alongside all of the cardboard beds and rugged up CEO’s, The Geek Team were present on the night to encourage CEO’s to share their experience on Facebook and Twitter.
The Geek Team comprised a mixture of Sputnik Agency’s creative minds, suits and simply passionate people who want give their time to support a good cause. Myself being a part of the Geek Team on the night, we were briefed on three goals:
1) To support and assist CEO’s in spreading awareness through the use of social media platforms (Basically getting them to Tweet and Facebook their night away)
2) Get #CEOSleepout trending as No.1
3) Wear bright orange shirts that make us resemble security in High-Vis vests (spot the difference in the last photo)
Overall, the night proved to be a success when we received a tweet from Mission Control letting us know that #CEOSleepout was trending at #1 in Australia.
The excitement that spread through the veins beneath our bright orange T-shirts was beyond what we would have expected – we, as a team, managed to help generate the most talked about topic in Australia on Twitter – and all for a great cause. It was a joy to see that our efforts through social media managed to raise an additional $500,000 throughout the course of the event.
The common factor here is that we all know that social media is a great way to share news and updates to a network of thousands all through one click of a button. But I think the overall lesson is that through that one click of a button, we are also able to help, to save lives and put others off the streets.
As being 1 out of 7 of the Geek Team, I’ve learnt that there is true value in utilising social media – and it’s not just about telling the world what I am doing today or to share a funny photo. But the true value lies in when we see an opportunity to use it to help others, and I mean really help those whose lives depend on a simple helping hand.
Tweets and Facebook updates sharing your daily thoughts are one thing. And Tweets and Facebook updates helping those in need are another.
It’s about noticing and opportunity and then using our social skills as part of the solution.
So for the next CEO Sleepout in 2013 – Do you dare Rise to the Challenge?