How the Hive Society Used Twitter to Land Big Artist Donations

This small Houston non-profit harnessed social media to attract Harvey relief from SZA, Kehlani and more.

By Nandi Howard September 27, 2017

Looking to help After the Hurricane, Houston-based Hive Society shot off a tweet heard 'round the music world:

Don't know where to donate? Send to The Hive Society, 501(c)(3),” read the tweet. The goal was to help the city they knew best. What they didn’t know was how 44 retweets would snowball into an endless number of relief supplies that would find their way to Beaumont, Port Arthur, and surrounding Houston shelters.

“We felt like it was our responsibility to get out there and help the people in our community that we know,” said Adrian Edmonds, the current president of the Hive Society, a non-profit organization that encourages philanthropy through music, culture, and creative arts.

Originally a hip-hop blog started in 2008, the Hive Society was able to make connections with a number of artists who have gone on to have successful careers. When it transitioned to a non-profit in 2014, the company transformed its digital platform to focus on artists who promote their mission. Now, the Hive Society throws different events in the city like hosting the charity portion for Drake’s HAW (Houston Appreciation Week) or hosting the Houston Food Bank’s largest single day shift, Houston Cares, which is set for this Saturday, Sept. 30.

Based on their connections across the entertainment industry, the Hive Society was able to pull in resources from near and far. After their main headquarters was underwater, Edmonds asked his father if they could use his house to set up shop. Before he could even make an official flyer for items that the shelters needed, he received a call from his friend who does PR in New York that Nasty Gal, Boohoo, Aces, and Urban Decay were sending a load of boxes. Edmonds began receiving more phone calls because of his social media outreach and word of mouth. It went from four companies pledging to help to 20 or 30 companies ready to send supplies. Following the huge response after the first few days in, Edmonds called his team together and their graphic designer made flyers to call for supplies like baby food, bedding, clothing, personal hygiene, and more.

Edmonds explains what followed as "overwhelming.” He made a quick call to warn his dad that someone pretty famous—R&B star Kehlani—had retweeted his address to her 58,000 followers. Donations became to swarm in, and the Hive Society moved from Edmonds dad’s house to the Warehouse Live, where the celebrity contributions piled up. Bun B, Trae tha Truth, Chamillionaire, and Adrian Peterson were a few Edmonds named that came to Warehouse Live to sort and help distribute supplies to shelters. With the help of a post on Instagram from Kehlani and now the attention of local Houston artist helping out, out-of-state celebrities started phoning Edmonds.

He received a phone call from the artist SZA, who he had met in Austin while she was lost looking for pizza after a festival. SZA remembered the logo and pledged to help. While she is currently on tour, she has been broadcasting The Hive Society's needs via social media and making each tour stop a drop-off point for Harvey relief supplies. This includes her sold out show scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 3 at none other than Houston's own Warehouse Live.

Now, the Hive Society continues to help and search for families and shelters in need. The company’s latest contribution to Harvey victims will be their Houston Cares event at the Houston Food Bank this Saturday, September 30, where volunteers will be entered to win tickets to sold out concerts by SZA, Tyler, the Creator and more. Information on how to volunteer can be found here.

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