Harry Potter Alliance Featured in the New York TimesCharity
Perhaps the most effective practitioner of fan-fueled social change is Andrew Slack, the 32-year-old founder of The Harry Potter Alliance and the force behind Imagine Better. Since Slack, who started out as a comedian, founded the Harry Potter Alliance, he has motivated Potterphiles to send five cargo planes with $123,000 worth of relief supplies to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, donate more than 88,000 books across the world, raise awareness about net neutrality and genocide and make forays into politics — taking on Maine’s 2009 ballot initiative that sought to repeal same sex marriage.
The Maine campaign, called “Wrock 4 Equality,” featured a “wizard rock” concert followed by a day where local fans canvassed while those watching via livestream phone banked. The lobbying day was cast as a “House Cup Competition,” in Harry Potter parlance, where participants could earn points for their preferred House at Hogwarts. The group made over 3,500 cold calls in one day.
The Harry Potter Alliance has a $175,000 annual operating budget, but they leverage it in big ways: volunteers in over 90 chapters around the world have engaged an active membership of about 100,000 within a larger network of 1 million. Slack thinks of himself and his team as community organizers on the Internet: “The Harry Potter online fandom is the community that we are organizing. We’ve always gone to them.”
You can read the rest of the article here, and once you finish you should spread the word! Email it, Tweet it, post it to Facebook - however you care to get the word out! The Imagine Better project is an important campaign and we should feel proud that it was born out of fandom.