When we originally heard about Yelp Helps: Hop to It! through the Young Non-profit Professionals, we had no idea what to expect. The concept sounded epic. Yelp and One Brick Boston pairing Boston’s best craft beer with some of Boston’s best volunteer-driven nonprofits? Benefiting Arts at the Armory in Somerville? Free?! Yes, please.
We just had a few challenges…
- Black Cat Rescue is supported by a very small team of volunteers. VERY small. Plus, we all have full-time jobs, rely heavily on public transportation and have cats to save! Staffing a table for up to eight hours would be quite a task.
- We don’t have a shelter. We don’t have a main office. People cannot come and visit our kitties for socializing play time. Our primary volunteer opportunity is fostering, which is a (completely worthwhile) commitment for people. Recruiting at a tabling event wouldn’t be easy.
- The table had to be interactive. But, we couldn’t bring cats. How do you get people to visit a table instead of a beer tap without kittens?!
Still, we decided to take the plunge…
The best thing about a boot strap group of volunteers is that we’re always up for a challenge…or two….or three. Luckily, we were partnered with rock star Rori from Baxter Brewing and she kicked butt. Seriously, we couldn’t have asked for a better table buddy. Check out the signs they posted!
And since we couldn’t bring the kittens to the people, we decided to bring the people to the kittens! An amazing fellow animal advocate created the cutest video ever earlier this year promoting the adoption of black cats. Yelp Helps: Hop to It! hooked us up with an outlet, Chris sent us the video file and we ran the kitten cuteness on loop throughout the event. It was a hit! People where mesmerized from across the room by these ninja cuddlers.
The event was a HUGE success!
20 local beers + 20 local volunteering opportunities + 800 Yelpers = A tasting/expo hybrid the world has never seen. Several attendees filled out Black Cat Rescue foster applications on the spot. We spoke with a few people who are itching to volunteer for marketing campaigns. And best of all, we won the $435 door prize with all of our supporters blowing up the Yelp Boston twitter feed! That’s right. There was a popularity contest and our kitties won. A BIG thank you goes out to Yelp Boston, OneBrick, Baxter Brewing and our network of supporters.
Oh yeah, and we gave away black cat Webkinz. It was pretty awesome.