31 Dec

The end of the world came and went on December 21, 2012.  The end of the world also did not happen on December 31, 1999.  I am not up on my apocalypse dates, but I am sure there are many other end-of-the-world scenarios that we have lived through and many more prophesized.  One man, Joe Oakland, decided to turn the most recent apocalypse on its head and create a “Givepocalypse” instead.  I asked Joe a few questions just before the “Givepocalypse”.


Why are you doing the Givepocalypse?

About a year ago, while watching T.V., I had noticed the ridiculous amount of End of the World/Apocalypse programming on the Discovery Channel, History Channel, Science Channel, etc. I thought, “With all of these organizations trying to capitalize on the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse, why is nobody trying to actually do some good around it?”  Somebody should do something good around this idea- why not me?

Then something occurred to me that I had seen in an episode of the NBC show, Parks and Recreation.  In this show, one of the greatest characters of all-time, Ron Swanson, explained how he made a killing selling hand-carved wooden flutes to a group of Pawnee residents that predicted the apocalypse a few times every year. They would spend the night preparing for the apocalypse by playing these flutes in a park.

Predictably, the apocalypse never came, but Ron still was able to grift his ill-gotten flute money. Then I had a thought that made me laugh; if I could bring the two ideas together and organize people to donate to charity on the day before the apocalypse (instead of buying flutes) I could really do some good – and maybe give people a chuckle, too. The Givepocalypse was born.

After shelving the idea for a few months, revisiting it, and finding it basically unworkable, with too many moving parts in the concept of the organization I thought I would need to pull it off, I re-shelved the idea (maybe permanently this time).  But on November 26th, 2012, while feeling a little guilty about letting my Givepocalypse idea die on the vine, I thought “maybe I am completely overthinking this idea,” so I scrapped all of my previous ideas, and looked at the Givepocalypse anew.  I had the answer almost immediately – become an advocacy group for giving, plain and simple.

Here is the concept we have stuck to: On December 20th, 2012, the Givepocalypse, donate at least $5 to ANY charity that you support.  This was clean, simple, and doable – except that there were only 25 days until December 20th and nothing had been done besides registering email accounts and the Givepocalypse URL.

This difficulty turned into opportunity when I realized what an amazing achievement it would be to pull of any level of success in such a short period of time.  I created the concept of a “sprint-charity,” which, if I was writing the Dictionary definition, I would describe as: a charitable endeavor with a life-cycle that spans less than three months from concept development, to completion of the charitable goals or charter. Further, I would create my own blog on Tumblr called “Behind the Curtain: Making a Sprint-charity,” where I would chronicle my experiences with this new concept daily, and hopefully inspire others to chase their crazy ideas to create good as well.

Our mission was simple: Create the Givepocalypse sprint-charity drive, work extremely hard, and see how far we can get!

Finally, one of the cleverest parts of the Givepocalypse (if I do say so myself!) is the idea of giving to ANY charity that you support.  By giving to the charity that you already support, you are already motivated to follow through and actually make sure you donate on the Givepocalypse.  All we are asking you to do is make an extra donation of at least $5 on the Givepocalypse

So, how did it go?

In just 25 days from creation to the Givepocalypse and only $39 invested in its creation the co-founders Joe and Candice Oakland made a significant impact.

The following statistics are just those that were confirmed through the pledge forms and Facebook event.  The actual numbers may be higher since people may have been inspired to donate without making an official pledge.

  • 302 Pledges from Awesome People
  • At least $1510 in Donations Pledged to Organizations (though the estimate of actual donations is $6000 or higher)
  • 82 Organizations Supported – See these organizations listed the Pledge & Donate Page and keep supporting them!
  • 21 States reached including Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Connecticut, Virginia, Massachusetts, Ohio, Arizona, Maryland, Oklahoma, Oregon, Missouri, New Hampshire, Kansas, and Hawaii
  • 6 Countries reached including the United States, Morocco, Costa Rica, Iraq, Sweden, and El Salvador

Do you see another Givepocalypse in the future?

For now, this was a one time event, but if we feel that there is more room from growth, and the idea of a day dedicated to giving, pure and simple, is an idea that people would like to get behind, we may look to do something like this again.  Rest assured though, if there is another apocalypse predicted, we will be there to do some REAL good before the “end.”

You can watch for updates on the Givepocalypse website,, and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.


Leave a comment

Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Philanthropy


Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: