By Luke Cuthbertson

SitePoint Bushfire Appeal Wrap-up

By Luke Cuthbertson

5-for-1 logoOver a month has passed since we launched our best book deal ever to help raise money for the Australian Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal. For those who don’t recall, we offered five SitePoint PDFs for the price of one, with every penny raised donated to the Red Cross Appeal.

We reported some early figures after day one, but with the checks now safely deposited in the bank and the numbers verified, we can officially announce the final amount that was raised.

And here it is (drumroll please)


I’m sure you’ll agree this is a massive sum, which far exceeded our expectations.

SitePoint is a small team of 30 people, and we’re tremendously proud of what we were able to achieve relative to our size!

We could never have done it alone, and would like to thank every single person who took up the offer and helped to make a real difference to so many people’s lives – at a time when they needed it most.

We’d also like to thank everyone who helped spread the word on this initiative, in particular Darren Rowse from ProBlogger who really helped kick start the campaign.

Countless others in the online community, many of them sites that we might even consider to compete with on a normal day, jumped on board without hesitation. It’s something about the web community that makes us so proud to be a part of the industry we’re in.

Hold up—how did this fundraiser come about?

Allow me, if you will, to take a moment to share with you some behind-the-scenes insight and our experiences with the fundraising initiative.

It all started on Monday the 9th of February. The mood of our office was extremely sober following the most tragic weekend Victoria has ever experienced, when the worst bushfires in Australia’s history raged uncontrollably throughout many parts of the state, destroying farms, homes and lives across the state. Every single member of the SitePoint staff of 30 was in some way impacted by the tragedy. Some staff had spent the weekend fighting flames on their own doorstep, while others were unable to contact friends and family who lived in the heart of the affected area. What was crystal clear to everyone in the office was that we all wanted to do something to help.

Across Victoria, there was such an outpouring of offers for assistance that the Red Cross had to turn people away, and donations of goods were so substantial that the Salvation Army had to lease an additional warehouse just to accommodate it all. But what they really needed was money – so money is what we decided to contribute.

How to raise a huge sum of money in a short amount of time

External CoverageOur initial idea was to auction off a couple of bundles of the entire SitePoint Library with the hope of maybe raising US$5K-10K. However, after some further discussion we agreed that the best plan was to put together a super book deal and donate all the funds. The next question was when to get it started, and the answer was unanimous – right away.

What we witnessed in the following 24 hours was nothing short of amazing. The entire SitePoint crew dropped everything they were working on to do in 24 hours what would normally take 7 days. I’ve never witnessed such grit and determination in a business environment. By late Tuesday afternoon we were ready to go, but what happened next was what really blew us all away.

The power of social media

Twitter BuzzWe had pre-organised some mentions of the campaign on a few sites. Darren Rowse, after hearing about our endeavours, even visited the SitePoint office to help in any way he could. Once the green light was given to release the book offer, Twitter exploded.

The initiative dominated the retweetlist and was firmly entrenched on the retweetradar. The coverage was great – but the response was even better. With the help of Twitter we smashed our US$50,000 target, raising US$75,000 in just the first 24 hours!

 More External CoverageThis was only part of our plan to promote this initiative. For the next three days we continued to spread the word, coverage continued to grow, tweets showed no sign of slowing, and people continued to dig deep into their wallets. By the end of the three days, we had exceeded our humble origins (the $10k auction idea) by an order of magnitude!

Keeping things legit

It was always our intention to have our results checked, and after PricewaterhouseCoopers initially offered and then struggled with other demands on their time, Deloitte stepped up to the plate.

Included below are pictures of the receipts of payments SitePoint made to the Red Cross. One the initial AU$315,000 payment and a second payment made once some delayed transaction came through.

Red Cross Receipt
Red Cross Receipt (click to view a larger version)

2nd Payment Receipt
2nd Payment Receipt (click to view a larger version)

Again, thanks again to everyone who, through your kind support, helped to make this all possible – your contributions went a long way in helping those affected by this tragedy.

  • BoltClock

    Wow! That’s a huge amount indeed! I feel so great being a part of this, and at the same time I’m enjoying the eBooks that I purchased too!

    You’re welcome, SitePoint :D

  • Awesome effort by all! :D

  • Jylan Wynne

    Yes what a great amount of money to raise, it just shows how powerful the web can ben.

  • Well done everyone, thanks for your help :D

    You’ll see just a few of the great tweets we received on @sitepointdotcom’s twitter favourites list.

  • Jarryd

    Wow, that’s amazing. To think PDF books had such an impact haha.

  • axiologicald

    So glad I could help out!! It truly is amazing how powerful a site like twitter can be! Of course it helps with the rep sitepoint has! Congrats and I hope all continues to be well. Oh, and thanks for the books!

  • M

    That really calls for a LOUD drumroll!!! :)

    Sadly for me, I missed this sale! :( If you ever have any kind of sale again, please allow about 5 days so more people can contribute and also take advantage of specials.

  • Anonymous

    According to the calculator that roughly works out to be 10525 bundles sold. That’s a lot of people putting their hands up for the cause. Well done everyone. Well done SitePoint!

  • Sojan80

    Great job! You do realize though now you have set a precedent and next time you’ll want to set your goal for AU$500,000.00 and so on. Perhaps you might even consider making this an annual event?? What do you say?

  • Matthew Bibby

    Amazing, well done! Black Saturday changed things for everyone, especially those directly impacted by the fires.

    On so many occasions peoples generosity bought tears to my eyes . . (I was involved in one of the Red Cross bushfire appeal call centres) . . . people donating furnished houses, the young boy who donated the $300 he had saved up for a laptop and the man who maxed out his $50,000 credit card with a single donation saying “Well what else am I meant to do with this AMEX?”

    I put together a thank you message for all who helped that I would like to share with you:


  • Well done guys. Nice write up too. :)

  • Sweet, good to see Sitepoint still call Australia home ;)

  • Well Done !! My hat off to all those that contributed !

  • Simon Mackie

    Nice work, chaps.

  • RussellB

    I missed that offer – drat

  • That is a great sum. Well done SitePoint!

  • W

    Just wondering if you’ve looked at the sales volume during this period and compared it with your average sales volume (for the month before this and probably 6 months before this). If you also included a well constructed survey for buyers of this sale, it may help (to some extent) to know:
    1. If people would’ve bought as many items as they did (meaning, would they have spent the same amount of money or would they have spent more?) if there was absolutely no discount but all proceeds went to the relief efforts.
    2. If people feel they’d buy more books if they were priced lesser than what they’re now.

    If you’ve done any analysis as mentioned above, please do post it as a separate article (and tweet it please – I follow Sitepoint tweets but not the website or RSS regularly).

    Thanks! :)

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