We’ve all been in the position of wanting to help a cause, but simply not knowing where to start. Citizen Effect, one of our standout nonprofit partners, is making a difference by smoothing the road from good intentions to real-world results. The group empowers what it calls “Citizen Philanthropists”—everyday folks with a charitable goal, but not the experience or means to put it into action. Citizen Effect provides promotional support and helps these Philanthropists turn their already-existing social networks into powerful fundraising drivers, even for causes across the globe. They understand keenly that a well-run event in one city can improve lives in another. The group even helps users choose the cause itself, matching a vague desire to help with projects that really need it. They’re all about connecting—something we love here at Eventbrite.

Of course, to support all these great fundraisers with such rich resources, Citizen Effect also needs to raise some funds for itself. And so they’ve come up with one of the more enticing ideas we’ve heard in awhile. Brackets with Benefits, which opened to entrants this morning, is a March Madness bracket contest with a twist. The $10 entry fee will go towards this very noble NPO. In other words, it’s a way to have your annual pick ’em fun, for just a few bucks, while supporting a cause a bit greater than your co-worker’s wallet.


But Final Four fans aren’t very likely to replace their traditional brackets if there’s no payoff at the end—that’s a big part of the excitement. So the Citizen Effecters have come up with a creative package of prizes that are serious enough to draw people into the pool, including shoes and Flip cameras, plus an Asus Nextbook for the winner. They were careful to tailor these prizes to the college students and office workers in their target demographic. There will even be a side raffle for those willing to put up a special $250 donation at signup. The winner will get a pitch session with top execs at TomorrowVentures—a gift with real value for a Silicon Valley type.

Promotion—and proliferation

The Citizen Effect team are also doing all they can with social media. That means not only using Facebook (just signing up for an account doesn’t count…), but using it well. Realizing that the schools in the tournament have rabid supporters circling their Facebook team pages, Citizen Effect plans to fan those pages and promote with e-fliers—making their presence known right where it will be noticed by the most interested readers.

A party

At Eventbrite, we love the way Citizen Effect really harnesses the power of live events for their causes. And the Citizen Effect crew plan to supplement the bracket contest with a Final Four viewing party. Entry will be free, but once inside partygoers will be able to participate in a raffle. Citizen Effect T-shirts will be in the prize pool, along with several larger prizes. It’s the oldest trick in the book, and still one of the best: A prize can be a promotional tool, too.

Actually, parties

Did we say party? We should have said parties. Though the official viewing bash will be in D.C., Citizen Effect will be encouraging bracket participants to set up their own events, whether that means sharing cold drinks at someone’s house or putting on something more substantial. And they’re eager to coach anyone who wants some tips. It’s all about getting together, and it’s all about a good cause.

Our recently featured Wii for Haiti event was powered by Citizen Effect, and we’ll be running some other great stories soon!

Join Citizen Effect and other great NPOs—sign up for Eventbrite for Causes today!