Google Places with Hotpot blog

Rate for a Cause Wrap-Up

Monday, March 14, 2011 | 12:59 PM

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A short time ago, Google approached us with an idea. They said they admired what we had been doing to raise money for clean water projects in developing countries (i.e. things like our pancake parties and letter-writing campaigns), and that they wanted to help us reach our fundraising goal for the semester.

So for two weeks, Students for Clean Water and Hotpot teamed up to “Rate for a Cause.” The deal: For every rating we gave on Hotpot, Google would give a dollar to our charity: water campaign, up to $40,000. More than 1,100 University of Texas at Austin students and their friends signed up for the campaign and rated and reviewed more than 47,000 places.

During those two weeks, we did everything we could to get the word out. We hosted “rating parties” on campus — students brought their laptops, ate pizza, and talked about their favorite local Austin places with one another and on Hotpot.

We made t-shirts and stickers:

We commissioned members of our organization to go speak to other campus organizations about what was going on:

And all our hard work paid off.

To wrap up the campaign, Google hosted a party for us at Austin’s Bar 96, complete with drinks, food, Google schwag, and music. Students showed up in big numbers to hear how much we raised. Drumroll please …


That’s right, we reached our goal! Overall, it was an incredible display of the power of a small group of passionate people looking to make a positive difference in our world. The past two weeks have felt like a dream, and I can’t fully express in words my gratitude to Google, those who signed up to rate for a cause, and those who supported us along the way!

Posted by Blake Mankin, President of Students for Clean Water at UT Austin