We Did It!!

{mosimage} We would like to thank all those that participated in the Transformers Fan Community Charity Drive, organized by Allspark.com and TFwiki.net! As of 1:34 EST this afternoon, we surpassed our goal of $2000 due to an unexpected surge in donations! But don't let that stop you from taking part in this event; we'll be accepting donations until 12:00 Midnight EST. So if you feel left out, make sure you get your donation in!

Click here to read more about this event and/or share your thoughts on this fantastic fan achievement! 

"How a Hasbro Catalog from 1986 is Making a Difference Today"

Late in the evening on Feb. 23 David Willis (aka: Walky), web cartoonist and avid participant on the Allspark.com Transformers fan community, posted a link to an eBay auction for a 1986 Hasbro Toy Fair catalog. This book had never been seen by anyone in the fan community and contains at least several pictures of pre-production toys which underwent design changes before reaching toy shelves that year. For toy collectors, this find is like discovering a printing error on an old baseball card, or uncovering a new Beatles demo track; it's a rare artifact of the history of the hobby. But the asking price of $500 meant fans would most likely never get a better look at what was inside.

Rather than resign themselves to drooling over it from afar, a few fans suggested, "Hey, if we all pitch in five bucks, we could buy the catalog, make high quality scans, and host it on TFwiki.net for everyone to enjoy!" Some thought it was a joke; what are the odds of getting around a hundred fans online to actually lay the money down for a community effort like this? Internet history suggests the odds are not good, but nevertheless, by the morning of Feb. 24, over thirty fans had raised their hands saying they'd be interested. The idea seemed more and more worth exploring.

What happened next was incredible enough, despite just being a precursor for what was to come. Galen Rafferty (aka: Galenraff), one of Allspark.com's moderators and whose profession is collaborative activities, quickly detailed a process whereby serious fans could put their money where their mouths were. Using his Paypal account to collect donations both great and small (the suggested minimum was $5), Rafferty was stunned to discover that in a matter of 4 hours there was enough money in the coffer to place a strong bid on the catalog. The seller accepted the $380 offer, and this outpouring of community support for a collective benefit proved a huge success and at a considerable discount.

From there, things only turned amazing! In the enviable position of trying to figure out what to do with a) extra donations and b) fans still turning up on the site expressing an interest in being a part of the effort, the group quickly decided that donations should continue in order to benefit a charitable cause. The Hasbro Children's Hospital (HCH) was an immediate and appropriate choice not only because it's Hasbro's Transformers toys and catalog which sparked the effort, but because it offered a wonderful opportunity for the now mostly grown-up fans to give back to children in need.

The goal was to raise at least as much money as for the catalog, but with a much loftier cause fans only became more energized. That goal was shattered in less than 12 hours with twice that amount being raised! A new goal was created: raise $1000 to become a Benefactor Sponsor at the "Game of Life Gala," the largest charity event at HCH which is being held on Mar. 6 in Providence, RI. By doing this, not only would HCH still get the full amount of the donations, but also two lucky local fans could personally attend the event. This goal also was demolished in mere hours!

By Feb. 26, $1300 has been raised for HCH from contributions by over 100 Transformers fans! HCH has recognized and thanked the fans for their efforts via the Twitter feed @hasbrochildrens, even as fans continue to push the cause on the various fan websites, podcasts, blogs, and even their own personal Facebook pages. Transformers fans may be known for hemming and hawing about whether any particular $5 toy is worth spending their hard-earned money on, but aren't thinking twice about donating at least that (and much more, in quite a few cases) for this worthy cause. And for a group who has in the past, several times in fact, argued about how many color schemes a toy jet "deserves" to be released in, there has been nothing but agreement all along that this charity deserves their green!

The new goal is to raise $2000 by the end of the day Sunday, Feb. 28. But it's the best goal in the world because even if it isn't met, three successive other goals have already been achieved and no matter what, HCH will get a heartfelt donation from devoted fans. From collectively buying an old toy catalog for everyone's enjoyment to now raising thousands of dollars for the Hasbro Children's Hospital, this whole effort has been driven by an undeniable sense of cooperation. Whatever goals are set, and whether or not they're achieved, when the spirit of cooperation motivates a community, everyone wins!

Anyone wishing to contribute can find all the details at Allspark.com.