The little boy with the big art

Guest blog post from Be Good Be Social Edinburgh speaker Ed Henderson.

My name is Ed Henderson, you may know me better as the Dad from Jack Draws Anything. I build websites for a living and back in March 2011, I quite innocently helped my 6 year old son Jack Henderson with a little idea. He had decided to draw pictures in exchange for donations to the Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh (a place himself, his wee brother Toby and most especially his little brother Noah regularly attended). His intention was to draw for friends & family and try to raise £100.

Seven months later, Jack has raised almost £31,000 for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation, drawn over 500 pictures, published a book, appeared all over the media and most recently won Child of the Year at the Bighearted Scotland Awards 2011.

From Day 1, news of my son Jack and his idea VERY quickly spread. And by very, I mean quicker than anything I had EVER been involved with, even campaigns with BIG marketing budgets! Jack raised his £100 in under four hours and by the end of Day 2 he had almost £2000 worth of donations. Things got so busy, we had to close picture requests after only two weeks and in that time he had amassed over £10,000 and 530 picture requests from all over the world.

Traditional news got involved very early on with Jack making it into most national newspapers and appearing on STV, Reporting Scotland, CBBC Newsround, Fern Britton (Channel 4), Live on Gabby Logan (Channel 5), BBC Breakfast, BBC News 24 and Russell Howard’s Good News and these proved to be very instrumental in getting Jack’s story out there.

Where the real magic happened was in the world of Social Networking. When I built his initial site, I had used Posterous (it was quick and simple to get up and running AND his site still uses the same template now as it did at the start). Posterous is able to autopost through to Twitter and Facebook and allows scheduled posts, something we required. I have also dabbled with email newsletters thanks to Campaign Monitor and appearing in B3TA (twice) has also really helped.

All of the donations were handled by Justgiving which itself is heavily integrated with social media. Posterous and Justgiving very kindly also helped to promote Jack’s cause through their own social media channels. Invaluable.

Quite early on, Jack managed to secure himself a book deal. This all came about because of Facebook. One of Jack’s pictures was posted onto the wall of a sharp eyed Sara O’Connor — Senior Editorial Manager at Hodder Children’s Publishing and she was very keen to put together a book of Jack’s story containing a big chunk of his pictures. This was published on 6 October 2011 and helps to further raise funds for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation. (And it’s the the perfect stocking stuffer for this Christmas.)

Jack Draws Anything - The Book

Over time we have used mainly Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, (with a little Google+ and Linkedin thrown in) to really drive Jack’s accidental campaign forward. The Facebook page is now really the hub of Jack draws anything as it allows interaction on many different levels. At the last count, there has been over 4,000,000 interactions’s on Jack’s Facebook page and over 300,000 visitors to his website. Jack has almost 7000 fans on Facebook and this incredible number grows daily as people continue to hear about Jack.

As recognition, our project was included in the .net Magazines short-list of 10 for Social Campaign of the Year. An absolutely amazing achievement for a Dad, a Mum, a kid and a Macbook. Following intense voting and almost having to run another Social Media campaign to progress past the public vote, we knocked out The Dark Knight (Batman), Ken & Barbie and The Muppets amongst others to make the final 3 (winner announced November 24 2011).

What next for Jack and his family? I’ll be honest, absolutely no idea. This whole thing was a glorious accident, we didn’t set out to do all this. We have been taking each day as it comes for 7 months now and each day brings a new highlight, donation and opportunity. Hopefully we can carry on for a wee bit longer, do a little bit more good then fade back into normal life. Ha ha.

Come see me expand on all of this at Be Good Be Social Edinburgh on 3rd November.

Leave A Comment