Dynamic Seattleite: Rockstar Philanthropist, Ryan Hodgson

Trendsetting and trailblazing — this local nonprofit supporter created a new way to give to the organizations you love most.

Ryan Hodgson, founder of Team Up for Nonprofits. Photo by Jason Tang.

Profiled recently by the Huffington Post as one of “39 Inspiring Men,” native Aussie Ryan Hodgson, 38, is raising money for charities one concert at a time. His brainchild, Team Up for Nonprofits, provides younger crowds a more enticing way to donate to their favorite nonprofit organizations. Originally from Perth, in Western Australia, the Team Up founder moved to the United States about four years ago, and lives in Seattle with his wife and young daughter.

When Hodgson first moved to the States, he managed both corporate and nonprofit events and attended many charity auctions. He felt that he was not able to make much of an impact at the auctions because he could not afford to buy most of the items auctioned off, and he noticed that this type of fundraising just wasn’t much fun for the younger attendees in general. Hodgson decided that he wanted to create a capacity-building nonprofit to supply funds and awareness to other nonprofits while also providing an entertaining avenue for young business professionals to really feel like they were making a difference.

Motivated by his desire to help nonprofits, as well as his perceived need for new fundraising tactics, Team Up for Nonprofts was born in January 2010. “I love being a part of music events,” Hodgson says. “I believe in the power of music and the people who make it, and I’m definitely inspired by the way they share their talents to support their community through Team Up.”

Team Up for Nonprofit’s mission is “to build capacity for nonprofit organizations by cultivating a new generation of engaged supporters through the power of music and social media.” So far, Team Up has produced 12 music benefits, called Gigs4Good, many of which were sold-out shows. Hodgson also uses social media to highlight the nonprofits that Team Up partners with by providing the organizations training and by hosting online social media events such as #tweetmob on Twitter.

Hodgson is optimistic about the future of Team Up. Initially, he held the title of “founder and president” of the organization. Wanting to focus more on his role as founder and free up some time for his family, Hodgson recently stepped down as president at which time the Team Up board (of which he is still a member) appointed Kristy Graves as president, who he says is doing a “fantastic job.” Team Up also now contracts out its music booking to Kevin Sur, who is the “genius booker” behind the Doe Bay Festival and the Columbia City Theater. Hodgson sees Team Up’s next step as evolving from an all-volunteer organization to one with a paid part-time staff member, and eventually growing to the point where Team Up can produce tours and larger events such as a music festival.

Team Up produces Gigs4Good benefits approximately every two months with the last show of each year supporting Team Up’s efforts in the following year. Hodgson suggests that you visit Team Up’s website to get the most up-to-date information on the Gigs4Good program and to sign up to their email list to receive event announcements and offers.

In addition to managing Team Up, Hodgson also recently created #SeaSocialMen, which is a group of men who work in the social media space who not only get together monthly to connect, but soon also will begin raising funds for charities. As if he didn’t have enough on his plate already, Hodgson began working full-time a few months ago for Spring Creek Group, a social media agency based in Seattle. He also picked up running not long ago, and recently completed three half marathon distance runs in four weeks.