7.09.2012

Interview with Shaun King of HopeMob.org: "Put Aside Differences to Make a Difference in the World"

(Blogger’s Note: I first connected with Shaun King on Twitter during the Haiti earthquake. Both of us were involved in ways to assist our suffering people. Since then, he has continued to forge awesome global initiatives, raising millions of dollars to help others. His latest project is HopeMob. This is our one-on-one interview!)


Brother Jesse: When and what motivated you to launch this initiative?
Shaun King: The inspiration for HopeMob came from so many places Jesse.  Primarily though, meeting the needs of two types of people pushed me to where I just had to step up and create this.
After so many years of serving and helping people privately and publicly, I started receiving so many emails and phone calls from people with desperate needs that just didn't know where to turn - ranging from single moms that found themselves homeless to international aid workers serving in the developing world.  These folk, by the time they reached me, had normally already tried everything and everybody else.  I was their last straw.
The thing is, they didn't really know the right people in the right places that could make a difference for them and they hoped I could make something happen for them.  
The second group of people that started contacting me regularly were people that had grown to trust me over the years and wanted my advice on how they could best use their time, their resources, or their influence for charity.  Ranging from people wanting to know where they could volunteer, to celebrities wanting to know who to trust with their influence, to people just wanting to make sure their charitable dollars meant something; this group of people just wanted to maximize their impact in the world.
Eventually, I decided to start matching group A up with group B and when it worked, it was magical.  For the first time, many donors were able to see the immediate impact of their generosity and the people that needed the help were brought hope in surprising ways.  For over 3 years I brought these two groups of people together informally and what I learned was that these two groups of people rarely share the same social graph or share the same cell phone contacts.
So, I decided to launch HopeMob to put people with desperate needs and people with the means to help them together, in the same network, at the same table and it's working in amazing ways!
Brother Jesse: Why the name Hope Mob?
Shaun King: The name HopeMob is really a play on the idea of Flash Mobs that bring together strangers in a coordinated way to do surprising dances in unexpected places. Instead of getting strangers to dance together, we get them to be generous together and to bring people with needs hope.  When a flash mob is dancing, nobody cares about race, religion, or economics - we want to do the same thing with HopeMob - just have people put aside their differences to make a difference in the world.

Brother Jesse: What is the ultimate aim of Hope Mob?
Shaun King: Ultimately, the aim of HopeMob is to tell stories of need that nobody else is telling so that we can meet needs that nobody else is meeting.  It's dreamy, but we want HopeMob to become the largest community of generosity in the world.
Brother Jesse: Since its launching, what has the overall response been from people across the globe?
Shaun King: The response around the globe has been amazing. HopeMob has donors and fans from all 50 states and over 40 countries.  In our first two months, we've successfully funded/supported 18 stories from all over the world! Here they are http://hopemob.org/stories/completed
Brother Jesse: What can people do to be a part of Hope Mob and contribute toward its goals?
Shaun King: We have many ways that people can participate....
1. Before people become donors, we encourage them to become members @ http://HopeMob.org to really kick the tires to learn what we're all about.
2. We also encourage our members to submit stories of need about people and charities that they love and trust. These stories can be about themselves or others and our team will help them tell their story to the world.
3. We always need generous donors.  We give 100% of what we raise on our platform directly to the stories we tell so we completely rely on donors to open up their hearts to the stories we tell.
Brother Jesse: Thank you and keep up the great work!