So, it's all done. Here's info on where to get your wayward gifts. 

Ok so we've ripped through another #SecretSantaGuelph. How nuts was that? I'm still combing through all the pledges and actual donations so we will see where we actually ended up for Donations this year. 

But here's where you can grab your gifts. I'm going to try to make this easy for people all over town. 

On Thursday December 10th I'll be hanging out at the Green Room above the Bookshelf from 6-8 having dinner and you can come find me to grab or drop off your gift. I have a list of users' gifts but I left that at home. I'll have it up later this afternoon but suffice it to say, if you don't have a gift there's a good chance I have it. Here is a list of places and dates I will be hanging out for you to pick up your gift. YOU HAVE THREE CHANCES.

  • December 10th 6-8pm The Green Room downtown
  • December 12th 10am-12pm The Common downtown
  • December 14th 6-8pm The Starbucks in the Southend by The Movie Theatre out there

After that, I will have the gifts live somewhere downtown for a month or so where you can come and grab them if you have the bandwidth within a month. 

Here's the list of users that I have gifts for. If you are owed a gift and are not on this list get back to me ASAP.

  • @_jaibles
  • @amaris_G
  • @andrewseagram
  • @annievanx
  • @apmcdo
  • @blarkin
  • @caitlovesGuelph
  • @cherylm21
  • @clclyne
  • @courtborealis
  • @crystalwilson
  • @cynthiaCrumb
  • @danstuart
  • @davewhiteside
  • @dougmacmillan
  • @emilyajones1987
  • @faithcameletti
  • @geeksandlattes
  • @guelphmoms+co
  • @hulkinapuddle
  • @jamieprince14
  • @jason_k_shaw
  • @jennschuenberg
  • @jonathanjaques
  • @lloydlongfield
  • @lynnbesocial
  • @macdaddy2
  • @merc_media
  • @michaeln197
  • @mrskchar
  • @natialieP
  • @njgoss
  • @nuanda_29
  • @owengoss
  • @polishem
  • @rafterhours
  • @raystultz
  • @sandraregina
  • @savig12
  • @sharon_lewis
  • @skittlegrrl
  • @sorrellguelph
  • @stacyhare
  • @steven_petric
  • @streetsmart_re
  • @sweet_t_cakes
  • @tania_ander1
  • @tdarisoh
  • @thatgeekonline
  • @thedangillis
  • @thelocalfood
  • @therunningworks
  • @wyndhamvariety

Now, there are a few of you who have pledged to donate and haven't yet done so, please do that. I'll reach out to you in the next little while but if you'd like to avoid that please donate here

I'll have a post about neat stats from twitter for the last month that will be interesting to like two of you but neat nonetheless. 

Everything you need to know and do before Sunday!!

Ok, it's Friday. We have two days left before we meet for the most highly anticipated twitter based secret santa gift exchange localized here in Guelph. You've obviously gone through the following checklist and nailed everything off right? RIGHT?

If you haven't done any of those things, shame on you. 

You can still donate at the door, but we're just going to make you donate online as much as we can so you know, maybe just do that now... 

We will begrudgingly take cash at the door too, but expect a lot of cut eye and shade being throw your way. 

But seriously, that's all you have to do. It's not a lot and you're in, you're having fun, and most importantly you have fed children and families in Guelph by taping on your phone and making jokes on the internet. 

To whet your palette, here is an outline of your menu for the event provided by our gracious hosts The Guelph Concert Theatre

  • spring rolls
  • shrimp purse
  • samosas
  • pot stickers
  • pulled pork sliders
  • and more things apparently!

Prepare your minds, bodies, and souls for the most amazing twitter based hyper-local fundraiser ever had. 

See you nerds on Sunday.

**Edit** If you can't make the party and need to drop your gift off, please be so kind as to leave it at the Dragon downtown before 5pm on Sunday in order to have your gift brought to the event. /edit

Today is the last day to sign up for our gift exchange! 5pm cut off.

Today is the day everyone. Today is the day I cut you deep. Matches will be made tonight and you will be emailed tomorrow with your match. I've put in as many match exclusions as I can remember from just knowing like 90% of you participating but if for some reason you don't want to be matched with someone that you see on THIS LIST which you have of course already followed everyone on, you better let me know by 5pm tonight.

Here is what you have to do right now if you haven't already:

That's it for now folks. Get tweeting like your life depends on it... BECAUSE IT DOES. 

So you wanna bring a friend eh?

Ok, so in the passed years, and also a few requests from this year, people have asked if they could just bring a friend to the event. We didn't really have a mechanism for that sort of thing without participating in our gift exchange due to space limitations. Well guess what, The Guelph Concert Theatre has tons of space and they just so happen to be our wonderful hosts this year. So if you wanted to bring a guest with you and they don't wanna be in the gift exchange or they're not on twitter, you now have an in. Thanks to the nifty online donation tool that the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition has supplied us, we can make this happen. 

If you'd like to bring a guest - Just have them click the donate button above and have them pop in our minimum donation amount or more and BOOM THEY'RE EFFING IN. That's it. 

Maybe get them to buy a tshirt too... but you know whatevs... 

ok, so here's the thing...

If you've participated in #SecretSantaGuelph in the past five years, you by this point would have been bombarded by approximately 5500 tweets talking about our event, or rallying people to join up. That's no joke. I'm usually the asshole behind all of that because it's how we got things done. That's how we raised almost $14k last year. 

Right now we've raised just shy of $10k (19 days in) and we have around 119 people participating in the event. That is amazing. You should pat yourselves on the back. Or butt. Or both. 

but here's the thing. I'm cutting off registration in a week and a half and by the pace of things I think we'll maybe get to match last year's donation level. That's wicked. I think we could crush it though. We need your help. 

Over the years, I'd outright ask twitter users in Guelph to come to our event and i haven't been as prolific with doing that this year. It's not for lack of wanting. Oh no, I was going to slam the shit out of things this year, but here's a little peek into my life for the last 5 weeks. In just over a month, I've had to go to the hospital 3 times for three different members of my family. All of which had to do with moderate to severe head trauma and it's kinda taken me on an adventure in feelings land. And also it's made me lose a little focus this year. And as a result, I'm not sure we're near where we need to be to fulfill the need in our community.

If you know me, I don't ask for help very often. If ever. I like being the guy that delivers on promises of help. Hell, it's what my name literally translates from in Cantonese; to help. 

But here we are and I'm asking you. Please help me feed families in our city. I need you to help me kick this lawnmower, to smack the side of this sony trinitron, to throw gasoline soaked rags on this fire. 

If you're with me on this here's what we need:

  • We need more sponsors. Period. 
  • Give some love to our current sponsors here!
  • We need more participants
  • Hey, maybe buy a tshirt or two
  • Start asking people what they want for #SecretSantaGuelph
  • Start telling people what you want for #SecretSantaGuelph

That's it. It's how this machine works. I know we can do this, but we can only do this together. No hard feelings if you don't, but infinite love if you do. Maybe a little cut eye if you don't. Just kidding. 

Let's get out there and tweet the shit out of this thing. 

 

 

You wanna donate online you say...

Okay folks after a long time we've finally figured out online donations. The link is here and also on the side bar. The wonderful human beings at The Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition have partnered with us this year to help us take care of exactly the same families both of our organizations aim to help. 

We at The Lift Imperative love the crap out of these guys and you should too. Our two organizations are working together to do some really amazing things in our community so stay tuned for that. 

Now all you have to do is click on that button over there and add a note in the window with our hashtag #secretsantaguelph and donate online.

I've got a spreadsheet of what your pledges are and we can cross reference once it's all said and done. If you can't remember what you pledged just dm me, email me, camp out at The Common where I'm usually found and just ask and I'll look it up for you. 

As of right now we are sitting at just under $10k raised because you people are fucking amazing. Thank you for feeding families and children in our community. You're the kind of people that actually give a damn. Thank you for being someone who gives a damn. 

Now get out there and donate, invite your friends to the party, grab a tshirt, and tell everyone what you want for #secretsantaguelph!

 

Well, here's where we are folks. Pat yourselves on the back!

Ok, so it's bee like what two weeks now? I've been a little silent online this year due to work obligations and you know, running a new NPO on top of everything else. But here's the amazing thing. I haven't even been driving this thing as voraciously like in previous years and here's where you are:

  • 110 people have signed up (we only had 160 last year)
  • You've pledged $9140.00!!! And that's only as accurate as it can be because some of you didn't include your donation amount in the google form for whatever reason so it's going to be even more. There were a lot of you
  • We have Seven stellar sponsors (some of which are still submitting their content) that are supporting the kids at Brant
  • The Guelph Concert Theatre is the perfect venue for our event and it has everything we need to run this right

Seriously, you as a community have been stick handling this without me and I couldn't be more impressed. And remember, I'm a Chinese father, disappointment is my wheelhouse. It's like you're all Doctors and Engineers at the same time. 

So what do we have to do now?

  • Find a friend who's never been to one of our events and invite them out. Let's kick the shit out of last year's number
  • If you haven't yet, go grab a tshirt so we can all wear them at the event 
  • Start tweeting out what you'd like to receive from your match - you know, so you can get what you want
  • Give our sponsors a hello and say thanks for feeding families and having fun with us

And that's it so far.

I'm almost ready to drop the donation link online to help ease congestion on the way into our event so keep an eye out for that later this week (think like Wednesday or something)

Thank you for everything you're doing Guelph. Let's keep knocking this out of the park!

Update number 1!

So holy crap you crazy crazy Guelphites. 

Here's what you've done in just a couple of days. 

You've pledged almost $5000. No kidding.

**edit** Over $5000 now. Awesome sauce. 

We are starting off strong. Let's keep the momentum up and bring in as many friendly faces and newcomers as we can. We are always happy to have more sponsors sign on too.

I just wanted to say thanks to Alpine Print Company who is taking care of our shirts this year. Yes we have shirts, you go get it right now. (Read that in a Chinese accent) Graeme has been such an easy guy to work with on this thing. If you've got an idea for a shirt, he's got the will and the way to make it happen. Go to this guy if you need shirts made for the things you do. 

One of the most frequent questions we've been asked every year is whether or not we'll be able to donate online. The answer is yes. Is it ready yet? Not quite, but very soon. Just a few red tape issues to take care of and then blammo, you can donate to your heart's content. But trust me. It gets tricky with this stuff.

I also want to say thank you to the fine folks at PartyTown for lending us the Guelph Concert Theatre this year. For the last two years we've been rubbing our elbows and not having the chance to chat, well now we have to room to do it. Did I also mention they're not only filling the bellies of hungry families in Guelph but they'll be filling yours too? That's right. They'll be catering our event as well. So amazing. Do me a favour and head over to The Western sometime for lunch. You won't be disappointed... or left hungry. Trust me on that one. Let's take care of those taking care of us and visit SecretSantaGuelph Sponsors and show those businesses a little love eh? 

Thanks guys, keep being awesome.

 

And... We're back! #SecretSantaGuelph 2015

So another year has gone by, and we're back at the point where we get to do this crazy and amazing event we call #SecretSantaGuelph. It's the event that proves you netizens actually give a damn about real people and real problems and not just the narcissistic food photographers we're often labeled as. 

Last year we raised $13,435 for our friends in the Brant Avenue Neighbourhood and you know that money went to good use. You fed over 250 kids, you helped 895 families, and you helped take some pretty grown up problems off the proverbial plates of children. You did all of that by going to a party. Not too bad Guelph, not too bad. 

Last year, you raised so much noise on Twitter that we brought our message in front of over 3.3Million users - that's just shy of 1/10 the population of Canada by the way. Almost 2x (200,000) the population of Guelph saw our message each day and 10,000 people clicked on things we told them to every single day of #SecretSantaGuelph. We had 21 corporate sponsors donating to our event last year and we couldn't have done it without them. 

We were only supposed to have 160 join us at the eBar last year and around 250 people came through those doors. When we started this thing, we only had 25 or so people participate. 

So what does all that mean?

It means Your capacity to give a shit about people knows no bounds. It means that You cared about people you have never met before who got dealt a shitty hand and You actually did something about it. It means You're not the kind of person that just averts their eyes, turns the other cheek, or looks down their nose at someone who needs help and you put your money where your mouth is.

So here's the new thing. I've put my money where my mouth is too. 

In order to make sure we're always on the level with your donations, in order to make sure our event is sustainable, in order to do even more good in our community, I've filed as a fully incorporated Non Profit Organization called The Lift Imperative. This action makes sure that we are always honest and upfront with how we handle your money. You will know where it goes like before, you'll know how every penny of it is spent. But now we'll have an audit at the end of the fiscal year to ensure that we weren't just stealing your cash and buying a nice used car. 

That's not all though. We will also be running other projects throughout the year to benefit our community. We've got the 100 Man Mission and the Computer Library of Guelph to run as well. (I'll have more info for this very soon.) I'm not just goofing around anymore. I aim to do some serious good in our city and to do that I've now made this my full time job. This is not just a thing I do in my spare time anymore. 

So yeah, The Lift Imperative is a thing, we have a board of directors, we have bylaws, we have policies and we have active programs running right now. #SecretSantaGuelph is one of them. We've had the luxury in the past to run this event at 100% money in, 100% money out. That's not sustainable and we can't do that anymore. Let's call a duck a duck, in order to keep doing this and in order to start this organization up and run the other programming we're developing we need to run our events and cover overhead for the organization. So this year we are going to direct 15% of the funds raised from #SecretSantaGuelph to The Lift Imperative to keep our lights on, run our programming, and take care of some of the administrative consequences of doing something like this to help more people. I'll have a breakdown of how that gets divvied up as soon as our meeting with the board of directors takes place in the coming weeks. I promise you, we'll be 100% transparent with how all the money shakes out. If you have any questions, you just reach out to me, publicly, dm me, email me, just don't call me. Who talks on the phone nowadays anyway.  I'll answer you. 

Now that all of that business is out of the way, let's talk about this year's event. Cause it's gonna be big. 

I mean, this year will be the biggest yet because it has to be. 

The need is greater and so too is our resolve. But don't worry, we got you covered. 

This year we get to celebrate your awesomeness by having our event in the biggest space possible downtown. Thank you to our biggest supporters this year our home will be at The Guelph Concert Theatre.  It's going to be amazing. They're doing this thing like we always do. You'll get the party of the year, you'll get free food, you'll even have a place to put your coat this year!

Seriously, those Partytown guys are doing us a huge solid. 

So that means we gotta fill that place. Last year we had 160 people participate. Let's cram this place with as many as we can this year. This year, bring someone you didn't see last year and get them to bring someone else too. 

We've already gotten a few sponsors lined up and we need more, if you're hoping to jump on board this crazy ride then just ping me. 

Also... we're making tshirts this year. Stay tuned for that. **edit link is there go buy a million**

If you'd like to sign up, the button's up there. It says "sign the eff up". so do it why don'tcha?

"Don't forget to type in #secretsantaguelph in the message box or else I'll poke you in the eyes with a hot fork"

- Mahatma Ghandi

WHAT TO EXPECT

Secret Santa Guelph 2015:

Dec 6th 6-9 pm at the Guelph Concert Theatre

Secret Santa Guelph is a fundraising gift exchange.


We raise funds to support the Breakfast Program at Brant Avenue Public School and also Food Programs at Brant Avenue Neighbourhood Group.

Here's how it works

To be a part of the Gift Exchange:
- You must be on twitter
- You will be matched with another twitter user participating in the event
- You will follow the entire participant list on twitter (to hide who you've been matched with)
- You will purchase or make a gift for your match without exceeding $15 before tax
- You will wrap your gift and label it with your match's twitter user name - leave your name off
- You will bring your gift to the event venue

Donation:
- Donations will be collected online. Look for that big button up top

The Event:
- Appetizers will be provided for free
- A Specialty Cocktail will be available at the bar at The Guelph Concert Theatre.