Help Haiti

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Event
Event: Help Haiti
Participants:
Date(s): January - February 2010
Type: auction
Fandom: multifandom
URL: help-haiti.livejournal.com
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Help Haiti was a Livejournal-based multifandom charity auction organized to raise funds for disaster relief efforts in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.[1]

Origins

Livejournal user heidi8 created the Help Haiti account on January 13, 2010, after a massive earthquake had struck Haiti the day prior. In their first post, Heidi8 created a five-question poll to solicit public dialogue on the auction structure and to identify interest from potential participants.[2] Notably, most respondents indicated that they had no preference on the timeline of the auction.

While there were a total of one hundred and forty-five respondents to the poll, only twenty-six people responded to the question about how they themselves might participate in the auction; possible responses to this question included "donate fanfic/art/vid/graphics" and "pimp the auction." Respondents were split on how the recipient charities should be selected, with equal numbers in favor of identifying a set list of organizations or allowing the winning bidder to select any organization they wished.

In the comments on this initial post, other fans offered their advice, input, and appreciation for the idea. Multiple people expressed the value of identifying a set list of supported charities for the auction. Heidi8 mentioned Sweet Charity's model of confirming winning bidders' donations as a viable way of running the auction. Many people described the types of fanworks and fannish services they would offer for auction.

A group of LiveJournal users joined heidi8 as auction organizers (referred to as "Comm Mods"), providing technical support and organizational oversight for the auction.

Auction

A wide variety of fanworks and fannish services were eligible for Help Haiti. In the "Artistry" category, participants (referred to as "offerors" by the auction organizers) were invited to offer "fanart, original art, tattoo designs, tarot card designs, prints, something you've already created, cartoons, sculpture or 3-D art, art for the winning bidder's fic, an art critique, a fanvid, jewelry or photography."[3] In the "Graphics" category, "icon sets, mood theme sets, journal or blog layouts, computer wallpapers, phone wallpapers" were eligible for inclusion.[4] In the "Audio Things" category, participants could offer "podfics, audio editing services, original music, filks, fanmixes."[5] In the "Words" category, participants could offer "fanfic, original fiction, a printed book or printed fanfic, beta reading services, podficcing services, non-fanfic editing services or the like."[6] There was also a "Food" category for homemade or local treats,[7] and a category for "Something Interesting," which included auctions for a range of miscellaneous items and services (including material fancrafts and tarot card readings).[8]

Each individual offeror posted a comment on the designated page for their category, and bidding took place in the comments of each page. Offerors promoted their auctions on their personal LiveJournals, but also on other platforms. For example, Youtube user ciaimpala posted a video advertising their fanfic and fanvid auctions. On FanFiction.net, dracosoftie posted a Harry Potter drabble to plug their fanfic auction and to raise awareness about Help Haiti; in the story, Harry returns home to find Draco organizing relief packages for Haiti.

Bidding continued through approximately noon on January 20, 2010 (EST), and offerors were able to post new items for auction through that morning. By the end of the first day of the auction, over one hundred items had been offered.[9]

At the end of the auction, the auction organizers began notifying the winning bidders in the comments of each auction. Auction offerors were encouraged to notify the winning bidders of their auctions to make the process more efficient.[10] Winning bidders had until approximately 7am EST on February 5, 2010 to submit proof of their donation. Donations could be directed to one of the designated Help Haiti charities, or to an organization of the auction offeror's choice,

The following charities were supported in the auction:[11]

  • UNICEF
  • DirectRelief
  • Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres
  • Partners In Health
  • Portlight Strategies
  • Red Cross/Red Crescent
  • Disasters Emergency Committee
  • OXFAM America/OXFAM UK
  • MercyCorps
  • American Friends Service Committee
  • The Clinton Foundation
  • Canadian International Development Agency
  • Heifer International
  • Shelterbox
  • Red Magen David
  • Yéle Haiti
  • Donations made by purchasing the Help Haiti virtual gift sold by LiveJournal, as well as donations made at Starbucks in North America, were also eligible.

Winning bidders were required to submit proof of their donation(s) electronically, by forwarding an emailed receipt, screen cap, scan, or photo. In a post on auction closing procedures, the auction organizers outlined four different ways for winning bidders to confirm their donation(s):[12]

a. If you don't wish your offerer to have access to any of the unblanked information on your confirmation (eg. initials, part of RL name, etc.), please confirm to the Comm Mods.

b. if you wish to pay for multiple bids with one donation, please confirm to the Comm Mods AND the Offerers if you're comfortable confirming to them,

c. if you're donating to a charity approved by your Offerer but not on the Comm Mods' list, please only confirm to the Offerer,

d. if you're confirming a single payment that covers a single winning bid, and are comfortable with your Offerer seeing all non-blanked info on the confirmation, please confirm to the Offerer.

Lightning Rounds

In addition to the main auction, Help Haiti also ran two "lightning round" auctions. Participants were able to immediately "purchase" an offeror's item in a "buy it now"-style auction. Items on offer were largely drabbles, ficlets, or sketches. Offerors confirmed their recipients' donation(s) directly. The first lightning round ran from January 13 - January 22, 2010, during which time offerors could continually post lightning round auctions and bidding was open continuously.[13] Offerors in the first lightning round were expected to fulfill their offering by January 22. The first lightning round raised almost $7000.[14]

The second lightning round ("Lightning Round II: V-Gift Boogaloo") ran from January 28 - January 30, 2010.[15] It was timed to take advantage of LiveJournal's pledge to donate all proceeds from virtual gift purchases during this period to CARE and UNICEF. Once again, offerors were responsible for confirming the donation(s) of their recipient(s).

Results

Over 3000 auctions were offered as part of the main auction.[16] On February 5, 2010, heidi8 published auction default procedures for offerors whose winning bidders had not submitted donation proof by the deadline; at this point, 85% of pledged donations had been confirmed, leaving an estimated $10,000 in outstanding donations.[17] On March 11, 2010, the organizers posted procedures for winning bidders whose offerors had defaulted or failed to communicate.[18] Over the next few months, the organizers continued to work on connecting pinch hitters with the winning bidders of defaulted auctions.[19]

While the final tally of confirmed donations is unclear, Help Haiti did raise over $100,000 in confirmed donations.[20]

On February 27, 2010, the organizers of Help Haiti announced that they would not launch another full-scale auction that month, as had been previously discussed.[21]

Example Fanworks

On January 14, 2010, Waldo set up a parent collection on Archive of Our Own for fanworks created for the Help Haiti auction. As of March 11, 2018, one hundred and fifty-five fanworks are included in the collection.

A compilation LiveJournal was also published at helped-haiti.livejournal.com, and offerors and winning bidders posted links to their fulfilled auction items in the comments. While most of the comments linked to fanfiction, other types of fanworks were also mentioned, such as fanart, fanmixes, and miscellaneous items (including Buffy-based shortbread cookies).[22]

Creative Commons License

On September 18, 2014, heidi8 published information about Help Haiti's Creative Commons license, encouraging noncommercial use of the Help Haiti policies and procedures to support other fan-driven projects.[23]

References

  1. What should we do? Posted on January 13, 2010. Retrieved on March 13, 2018.
  2. What should we do? Posted on January 13, 2010. Retrieved on March 13, 2018.
  3. Offering Artistry Posted on January 13, 2010. Retrieved on March 13, 2018.
  4. Offering Graphics Posted on January 13, 2010. Retrieved on March 13, 2018.
  5. Offering Audio Things Posted on January 13, 2010. Retrieved on March 13, 2018.
  6. Offering Words Posted on January 13, 2010. Retrieved on March 13, 2018.
  7. Offering Food Posted on January 13, 2010. Retrieved on March 13, 2018.
  8. Offering Something Interesting Posted on January 13, 2010. Retrieved on March 13, 2018.
  9. Icons, updates, info, etc. Posted on January 13, 2010. Retrieved on March 13, 2018.
  10. Auction Closing Procedures - PLEASE READ Posted on January 19, 2010. Retrieved on March 13, 2018.
  11. If you don't want to wait to donate, you can help now Posted on January 13, 2010. Updated on January 19, 2010. Retrieved on March 13, 2018.
  12. Auction Closing Procedures - PLEASE READ Posted on January 19, 2010. Retrieved on March 13, 2018.
  13. Lightning Round Posted on January 13, 2010. Retrieved on March 11, 2018.
  14. Lightning Round II: V-Gift Boogaloo Posted on January 28, 2010. Retrieved on March 13, 2018.
  15. Lightning Round II: V-Gift Boogaloo Posted on January 28, 2010. Retrieved on March 13, 2018.
  16. Where are we now? Posted on January 21, 2010. Retrieved on March 11, 2018.
  17. New V-Gifts & Defaults Posted on February 5, 2010. Retrieved on March 13, 2018.
  18. Defaulting Offerors Posted on March 11, 2010. Retrieved on March 13, 2018.
  19. Update Posted on May 7, 2010. Retrieved on March 13, 2018.
  20. New V-Gifts & Defaults Posted on February 5, 2010. Retrieved on March 13, 2018.
  21. February ends tomorrow Posted on February 27, 2010. Retrieved on March 13, 2018.
  22. "Gift: Character Cookies," bookishwench's comment on the helped_haiti LiveJournal. Posted on March 20, 2010. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  23. Creative Commons License Posted on September 18, 2014. Retribed on March 13, 2018.
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