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Peace, Love, and Potato Salad
By: Jennifer Graber
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Sometimes we post things on the Internet not knowing what will become of them. Initially our post might be a joke; something we put out in cyberland in jest. That was certainly the case for Zack Brown and his starchy Kickstarter plan. Earlier this summer, Brown had a craving for potato salad. However, Brown did not wish to spend his personal money on carrying out his spud dreams, so he set out to fund his quest for potato salad on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter.
Brown’s comical Kickstarter goal was a mere ten dollars. The donations were set to go to, obviously, the essential ingredients for a tasty potato salad. Yet Brown got much more than he ever could have dared to imagine. The final tally for Brown’s Kickstarter was over $55,000. That equates to either the world’s classiest potato salad or a literal ton of the picnic sidekick.
Due to the overwhelming response to Brown’s humorous digital campaign he chose to do something greater with the Kickstarter money. This past weekend Brown held PotatoStock at The Columbus Commons in Columbus, Ohio. PotatoStock was slated to be a benefit concert and community event. The event was scheduled to have live music, beer merchants, food trucks, and plenty of potato salad. PotatoStock was designed to be family friendly and for all ages. The proceeds from PotatoStock will go towards creating a non-profit organization that tackles hunger and homelessness in Central Ohio.
Additionally, Brown has for-profit plans for a portion of the money earned through the Kickstarter campaign. Brown plans to create an “LLC, pay web hosting and buy / rent production equipment to continue making content.” It is his belief that humor makes the world go round, and that humor is a way to spread joy and happiness. Brown’s goal for the LLC is to use it to make humor create a better place in this world. Before anyone flies off the handle about how their money was supposed to be for potato salad and not a business, take note. Brown plans to be transparent with information regarding how much of the money is spent between the for-profit and non-profit.
And to think this all began as a joke. Brown did not intend to use his digital hijinks as a way to make a difference, but that is exactly what happened. He turned something silly into a charitable opportunity. Brown could have easily kept the money and just made potato salad. He could have enjoyed a tasty treat, sent campaign backers their incentives, and called it a day. Instead, he chose to use a digital campaign to do something beyond what was expected.

Why is the digital medium not used more in that regard? People often overlook the philanthropic opportunities that social and digital media posses. We use it to search for the weather, what celebrity wore the latest fashion, or what corporation made the latest mistake. Or we might use social media to complain or boast and so forth. This is a wonderful reminder that the digital platform can make a true difference. We should all take note and seize the opportunity as often as we can.

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About the Author
Jennifer Graber is a Business Development Manager and marketing enthusiast. Her specific interests include branding, consumer behavior, development, integrated marketing communications, and new & social media.
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