Have you ever wondered where all the ad revenue goes for all those amazing YouTube videos of our speakers at past cons? Meet Rob, our videographer. Not only does he volunteer his services to us each year for free (even though his butt gets really numb) he edits, posts, and manages every single one of our talks in record speed.
For the past two years, Hambone Production’s YouTube channel has been monetized with ads. While we all may get a bit annoyed by these ads, some very good things have come as a result of the revenue that these ads generate. The funds have been invested in a wide variety of causes, most of those not being traditional 501(c)(3) causes, which is done in an attempt to maximize impact.
At first, all of the funds went to fund micro loans through the amazing website, Kiva.org. The Skepticon family went through and solely chose projects that were headed by women around the world. Most of those involved giving a loan to women in poverty who were attempting to start a business. Approximately $700 USD was donated to Kiva.org, and as soon as those loans were paid back, the funds were re-invested and continues to be today.
One of the things that I am most proud of is that we were able to fund all operating costs for an HIV testing facility in Nairobi, Kenya for an entire calender year with just $1000. Part of that donation was used to help purchase a small building so that the people running it could stop paying their previous rental costs. The ad revenue from Greta Christina and David Fitzgerald’s talks alone made this donation possible because of the high amount of views that they received through continual Reddit re-postings of the videos.
For the next donation, I decided to use it locally since the last one was for people in Kenya. There is a young woman, who almost everyone in Springfield has met, that was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago. Over the course of battling her illness, she accumulated a large amount of medical bills and I made a $500 donation to her on behalf of Skepticon and the entire Atheist community.
My next donation project is something that I am extremely passionate about. I call it the, “Get Off the Couch Campaign”. Essentially I am challenging college aged people to stop watching Netflix and playing video games and to start developing a new productive hobby, i.e. learning how to play a new musical instrument or learning how to paint. I am still fleshing out the details of this campaign, but I have already donated an accordion and a bass guitar to people who have promised to put forth the effort to learn how to play it within one year. I try to only spend $50-75 per recipient and will only present them with the supplies once they have demonstrated to me that they are serious about it. On top of accepting donations of instruments, I have also received offers from musical instructors that are volunteering their time to teach the recipients how to play. I am using this as a community building tool so that we can all better our lives together through teaching and learning together. I can vouch for the accordion donation that he is actively learning how to play and it seems to be a very positive thing in his life.
You hear that? Each and every dollar raised via these online advertisements is given to charity. Now you can feel good about that Skepticon video binge watching you did instead of doing that really important thing with the stuff!
The Skepticon Team