There's been a movement of late from members of our industry to try and give something back to those less fortunate. People are running marathons to raise funds for worthy causes and several charity events have been held before search conferences on both coasts over the past 18 months.
Our industry affords us a pretty good living -- the people are friendly and helpful for the most part -- and the work is interesting. We should have no problems digging into our pockets occasionally to give to charity. Yet I've been involved with most of the recent charity parties and have seen people walk away from paying $50 for four hours of open bar. They expect freebies.
The new IM Charity parties were begun by Greg Niland of Good ROI, as an extension of the Internet Marketers of New York. I feel lucky to be part of this group that meets once a month for dinner to network and have some fun conversation.
Niland brought us together. When he decided to organize a charity event before SES two years ago, the guys from Best of the Web -- also members of IMNY -- were happy to jump in as his first corporate sponsor of the inaugural event (and every other one since).
The events are a great opportunity for people new to our industry to meet some of the more prominent players in a more relaxed atmosphere. I hate to shill for people to attend, since realistically the value is there, but I suppose some need convincing.
Where else can you have a friendly conversation with people like Michael Gray, Chris Winfield, Brent Csutoras, Todd Malicoat, Avi Wilensky, Jim Boykin, and search notables from Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft? Plus you get an open bar for four hours. Hell, in New York you'll spend much more than $50 sitting at the Hilton bar for four hours.
In case you haven't noticed, most of the big parties have gone away and are being replaced by invitation-only events. If you want access to them, maybe attending the charity events and getting to know the people who throw the limited events would be a smart move.
I get the invites, but have yet to miss a charity event when the scheduling conflicts with an exclusive dinner. I like this part of how our industry is growing. You don't have to be rich to give to charity, just a generous soul.
To sign up for the event next Monday during SMX in New York, you can go to the IM Charity Party site, or pay at the door. Boykin and Jon Kelly are arranging this one, so it should be a lot of fun.
Chris Boggs Fires Back
I'm mad at Jim Boykin. No, not because he trains ninjas that sometimes end up building links for our competitors, but rather because the last time I was in New York City for IM-NY meeting, he swooped in and "stole" the check, preventing me from paying for once. That's pure evil. On a related note: I'm looking for a sponsor to fly me into New York on a private jet just for the party, since I unfortunately will miss SMX.
The non-philanthropic reason to attend the event is the networking, as Frank points out. The key is to be pushy, yet friendly. I've been at a few too many of these things where I stand talking and catching up with old friends, because people are often too shy to butt into conversations. I guess I've been fortunate not to suffer from this type of constrained social behavior tendency, not that there's anything wrong with that. If you're going to be a wallflower, still contribute the $40 via PayPal and catch up on some work instead.
I'd like to see more formal conference participation with these types of events. Nothing breeds good karma like donating prizes or money to an event that's geared toward your attendees. I know in the past that Danny helped sponsor an event during SES, which was taken all out of whack by a few into a silly soap opera. Maybe Incisive Media should jump in at the last minute and give away some cool stuff? Then Danny will surely up them. (Big smile.)
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