Interview: 238,000 Reasons to be Proud
Whether it is supporting One Direction as a whole, or the members as individual solo artists, the 1D fandom can be a formidable force. Steve Aoki, who collaborated with Louis Tomlinson on 'Just Hold On' recently compared the fandom to an "army of bees" after experiencing their power first hand-during promotion for the single. However, the strength of this army is not limited to promotion of the band's music.
One Direction are well known for their charitable work, raising awareness and much needed funds for charities and causes close their hearts. This generosity extends beyond the band and is mirrored in the fandom itself with fund raising activities and charity drives receiving widespread support.
Started in 2013 to raise money for Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice in honor of Louis' 22nd birthday, the largest fandom based charity group is 1D Fans Give. Since then, the team has has supported 16 different charities and raised an astonishing $238,000, including more than $117,000 for Louis' charities.
Louis is an ardent supporter of both the Eden Dora Trust and Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice and 1D Fans Give has raised $57,583 and $48,348 respectively for these charities. In addition, the team raised over $11,000 for Bloodwise in honor of Louis' late mother, Johannah Deakin.
We spent some time with the team behind 1D Fans Give, who gave us an insight into the work they do and the immense support received from the amazing One Direction fandom.
What is the main objective of 1D Fans Give?
The main objective is to harness the power of fans to raise money for worthy causes. 1D fans are some of the most active and motivated fans out there so it makes sense to use that energy to help people.
You use Just Giving for most of your activities, how does it work?
Charities sign up with Just Giving and then fundraisers (like us) can raise money for those charities by starting a fundraising page. We share the link to the fundraising page, people can donate to the charity via that link, and the charities directly receive those donations via Just Giving. It provides an easy way for charities to raise money (and fundraisers to raise money for charities) because Just Giving handles the collecting/processing of donations.
Aside from Just Giving, what are the other mechanisms you use to raise money?
One of our big methods is our bracelets. We have people submit designs for bracelets, vote on the "winning" designs, and then have those designs made into bracelets to raise money. We did a 1D fan art book where artists contributed art and we made and sold a book to raise money. We've also done auctions for custom bears and other items. Artists and crafters also make and sell jewelry and handmade quilts to raise money, too.
How do you select the charities to raise money for?
We usually ask for feedback from fans on who we should raise money for each year. We try to pick charities that the guys have supported before or whose mission aligns with the guys' interests. For example, Louis has supported the Eden Dora Trust in the past, so it was an easy decision to raise money for them.
How much money have you raised in total across all charity drives and separately for Louis’ charity drives?
$238,496 raised for all our drives (for all the guys including Zayn, plus our special general drives for LGBTQ+ causes and in honor of Girl Almighty). We've raised $117,574 for Louis' drives (including approx. $11,000+ for Bloodwise in honor of Jay), which is almost HALF of our total amount raised for all the drives!
How do you promote the activities across social media and other forms of media?
We use twitter a lot to spread the word. Fans also tweet from their accounts too to help us publicize the drives. We try to work with some media sites who do articles about our drives as well. Articles about our drives have been featured on sites like MTV, Yahoo, and Teen Vogue. Harry also gave us a shout-out in the 1D Annual.
What are your current/upcoming charity drives for Louis?
We're raising money for Eden Dora Trust again. They've been wonderful to work with and are so appreciative of the fans who raise money and spread awareness about the charity.
What do you and the team enjoy most about running 1D Fans Give?
I like helping raise money for charity. It's very rewarding and probably one of the things I'm most proud of - that we've helped raise so much and helped so many people. I also like coming up with creative, new ways to raise money. It's harder than you'd think!
Anything else you’d like to add?
Our charity drives and 1D Fans Give started BECAUSE of Louis. Someone suggested we raise money for his birthday that first year and it's just grown and grown from there. Louis' fans are so supportive of him and every year, our charity drive in honor of Louis' birthday performs the best out of all the drives because his fans are so devoted and want to give back and honor him. It's amazing how one person can create such a movement. I'm so proud of what we've done and it's because Louis sets such a good example of how to give back. I encourage everyone to get involved with any of the charity drives because it just feels good to help others.
To donate to Louis' 26th Birthday Fund Raiser for The Eden Dora Trust visit the Just Giving page here.