Meet Danny Brown & The 12for12K Challenge

The 12for12k ChallengeIf you thought corporate brands were the only ones diving into the world of social media, you’re wrong. Non-profits are leveraging the social media landscape  as well to optimize their communication efforts, raise funds and maximize awareness for their cause.

In fact, if you’re active within the Twitter community, you may have seen several of your followers with a 12for12k Challenge border surrounding their avatar. The 12for12k Challenge is the combination of social media and fund-raising.

The concept is simple:

  • 12 months of the year
  • 12 charities, a different charity each month
  • $12,000 per charity

To learn more about the 12for12k Challenge, I reached out to founder, Danny Brown, for an informal interview.

1. Tell us about the concept behind “The 12for12K Challenge” (i.e. how you came up with the idea, what prompted you, etc.).

The idea was simply to try and help as many good causes as possible in 2009. For anyone that visits my blog, they’ll see a list of charities I support. I wanted to take this further and help organizations that are great causes but may be suffering from either awareness, support or funds.

The prompt was from reading newspapers and speaking to non-profit friends, about how traditional fund-raising is being hit hard by both the economy and the cost of getting your cause into the open. It’s clear that social media can offer solutions to both these issues, and that’s when the idea started taking shape.

2. How did you (or supporters) spread the word about 12for12K?

We’ve used a variety of tools and mediums to raise awareness for what we’re trying to achieve, and the charities themselves. Twitter has been hugely effective for us, particularly with the use of the 12for12k Twitter avatar. This leads to people questioning Twitter users sporting the avatar what 12for12k is all about, and that leads to conversation. Which is still the best way to promote anything.

We also have a 12for12k Facebook group, the main 12for12k site with blog, the 12for12k promo video, and we’ve recently set up a blogger program for bloggers to get directly involved with 12for12k.

We’ve also held fun events like a Tweetathon, a virtual pajama party and live tweetups, and this month we’re looking at holding a virtual 12for12k karaoke – more details on that soon!

3. What charities have 12for12K supported and what was the outcome (i.e. hit target donation $12K, maximized awareness surrounding the cause, etc.)?

January was WarChild; February was Stop the Silence; March was Share Our Strength; April was; and this month is Hospice of Peel. As far as donations go, we have only broke the $12,000 barrier once (for the March charity) while the others we have raised on average around $5,000.

Obviously we’d love to hit the $12,000 and we will continue to look into ways to make this happen, but I think we’re hugely happy at the support we’re receiving so far. Plus, it’s been a matter of raising awareness about 12for12k, and I feel we’re reaching that now. We have a huge announcement to make for June and November should also be an exciting time as we combine with a great organization.

I know the charities we’ve supported so far have experienced a lot of new people visiting their sites and wanting to find out more, following our partnership. That’s all we ever wished for, so on that front, I think we can be really pleased.

4. Tell us about this month’s 12for12K charity project Hospice of Peel (i.e. how was the charity chosen).

The Hospice of Peel charity is a perfect example of the way the whole 12for12k thing works. We’ve never wanted to be in the mindset of, “Here are our 12 charities – give us your money!”. Instead, we want to involve our supporters as much as possible. So we ask for recommendations of charities we could possibly support.

This is what happened with this month’s charity. Daniel Patricio is a young guy in Toronto doing some amazing things through social media, and is an active supporter and volunteer for the hospice. We’re already connected on Twitter, and Daniel asked us if we could look at Hospice of Peel. It seemed a perfect fit for our ethos, and they do amazing work, so it made it an easy organization to support. 

5. How can our readers help support “The 12for12K Challenge”?

There are a number of ways. Obviously the first is by donating to each month’s chosen charity – you can find out about Hospice of Peel and how to donate here.

We know times are tough, so if you can’t afford to donate, but you still wish to support and have a blog, you can  use our blog badges to display on your blog. These link directly to 12for12k and help raise more awareness.

And, of course, just let your friends, family and colleagues know about us and what we’re trying to do. The more we can make people aware, the more we can help a given month’s charity.

6. How can non-profits get involved?

First, make sure you meet our criteria. We want to make sure we help each charity as much as possible, so we have four guidelines:

  • No more than 10% admin cost
  • Accounts must be available to public on request
  • Need to have a plan for sustainable change in place, and not just offer a quick-fix solution through donations
  • Need to accept Paypal

If that’s you, then we’d love to consider you. Just email and let us know a bit about you, and we’ll definitely look.

More About Danny Brown
Danny Brown provides business branding and social media consultancy services to the consumer and commercial markets, from small start-ups to Fortune 500 businesses.

About the Author


  • Danny Brown May 6, 2009 at 6:24 am

    Hey Stephanie (now I see why your blog title works so well!!) 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing 12for12k with your readers. I’m really grateful for the chance to let people learn a bit more about us, and I just wanted to say thank you to you and our great supporters for being here with us.



  • Rachel Kay May 6, 2009 at 7:49 am

    Stephanie this is a great post – Danny has created such an amazing, multi-faceted program with 12for12k and your interview sums up perfectly all the great work he has done for a number of deserving charities. Your post will certainly help provide even more recognition for the effort!

  • JD Lasica May 6, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Terrific Q&A (and nice piece of citizen journalism), Stephanie. And terrific fund-raising idea, Danny, leveraging the power of social media and people’s goodwill.

  • James A Woods May 7, 2009 at 6:33 am

    Thanks for this great post. As a supporter of 12for12k I understand the importance of posts like this one in getting the word out about the power of social media to change lives.

    I also think your “Meet Stephanie” slide show is cool. I’m going to stick around and check out your site.

    • Stephanie Gulley May 9, 2009 at 10:25 am

      Hi James,

      Thanks for stopping by and supporting 12for12k. So far, we’ve collected 2% of our target goal for Hospice of Peel. We still have a couple weeks left in the month so spreading the word is going to be top priority to help us meet our goal. 🙂

      I’m glad you like the “Meet Stephanie” slide show. It was inspired by the “Meet Henry” on

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