Andrew Nunnelly

South by Southwest is a creative summit of unequalled proportion. It brings together minds and ideas from the communities of tech, music, film, and beyond, mashes them all together, and catalyzes new concepts and actions that will reverberate through the following year. And while there’s much to celebrate about the keynotes, panels, and creative expression, there’s a community of less fortunate folks outside of this bubble that can get overlooked.

When we decided to go to SXSW this year, we really wanted to find a way of having a positive impact. And yet we found ourselves coming up with a pretty familiar list of things we could do: sponsoring parties, or hackathons, or cocktails, or firesides chats, or printing a bunch of swag to hand out. As we looked at this list, we felt we’d completely dropped the real meaning of “impact.”  So we decided to think backwards. Why not remove ourselves from the equation altogether and instead focus on making a difference in the Austin community?

But how?

Well, at events like SXSW, swag is everywhere — from T-shirts and water bottles to notebooks and hats. If you can print a logo on something, it’s probably been made into swag. But what do people usually do with it? They either toss it immediately or it gets stuffed into that corner of the closet that will never again see the light of day.

So we wondered: instead of creating more swag, what about trying to collect it?

And that’s exactly what we’re hoping to do! We’re really excited to be partnering with Austin-based Foundation for the Homeless. On Saturday, March 8th, volunteers from their organization will be in the heart of SXSW, collecting shirts, pens, hats, water bottles, notebooks, and more for the homeless and needy families. You won’t be able to miss them.

If you see the Swag Donation Team while you’re in Austin, spread the word with #SwagDonationSXSW and #SXgood. And if you’re not willing to part with your swag, well, they’re also looking for toiletries… perhaps bring some from the hotel?

We’ll see you there — and we hope you’ll join with us in supporting this great cause!