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Online Creators Decreasing Worldsuck

The very first Project for Awesome was organized in 2007, and has been held annually on Dec 17 - 18 every year since. During Project for Awesome, thousands of people post videos about and advocating for charities that decrease the overall level of world suck. As a community, we promote these videos and raise money for the charities. In 2012, the community raised over $400,000 and ten charities were granted $40,500 each. Legally speaking, the Project for Awesome is a project of the Foundation to Decrease World Suck, Inc. a Montana based 501(c)3 charitable organization (more info below).

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I watch the livestream?

It will be live at http://youtube.com/vlogbrothers on December 17th and 18th. We will be using a Google+ Hangout, which will allow us to welcome special guests to help host. Follow @realjohngreen and @hankgreen on Twitter for updates on the Livestream when we get closer to the date.

How can I get my video featured on the livestream?

There’s no magical formula to getting your video featured, since if we featured them all, we’d be streaming for several years. However, you can increase your chances by following these guidelines:

  1. Submit your video to the Project for Awesome website when submissions go live on the 17th. This assures that your video can be discovered at all!
  2. Have a bright and engaging thumbnail. Even if your account isn’t enabled to use the custom thumbnail, be sure to film in a well-lit place and not a shadowy basement. Scroll to the bottom of this page for more video-making tips.
  3. Talk about a charity that’s important to you! We try to avoid duplication of featured videos about a single charity, so if you can share a unique story or experience with a lesser known charity, your video is more likely to be selected.
  4. Keep it clean. There will be young kids watching the Livestream and the videos we feature, so stay away from any NSFW content.
  5. In the end, don’t be too upset if your video isn’t featured. Send it to your friends and family and also to the charity you advocated for, and take pride in the fact that you’re participating in a fun and worthwhile service project.

How do I use the thumbnail?

It would be awesome if all of the P4A videos had the same or similar thumbnails. You can download the thumbnail here, and edit it if you have software that can edit PSDs (Photoshop files). If your account is enabled for custom thumbnails, go to your video manager and click on Edit. Then click on custom thumbnail and upload!

How do you raise money?

In all of the ways. Some products sold on dftba.com that feature the Nerdfighter logo have a portion of proceeds donated, including the Evil Baby Orphanage card game. There are also a number of fairly large anonymous donors who are… anonymous. But our biggest source of revenue is the individual donor. If you donate through our IndieGoGo campaign page, you can get some pretty sweet perks.

What percentage of the money raised goes to charity?

100%, less the cost of perk manufacturing, shipping, Indiegogos fees, and merchant (credit card) fees. Everything will be packed and shipped by volunteers, and no one is paid even a single penny for any work related to the Project for Awesome or the Foundation to Decrease World Suck.

Are my donations tax deductible?


Who decides who gets the money?

You do! Or, well, actually we do, because of the weirdness of contest law. Here’s how it works:

  1. People upload videos promoting charities to YouTube and submit them to the Project for Awesome website.
  2. People vote on which videos they think are the best.
  3. The charities promoted in the top ten videos split all of the money we raise over the year. This is, however, subject to the approval of the board of directors of the Foundation to Decrease World Suck, partly because contest law is complex and partly to prevent a trolling group from coming in and hijacking the vote. If you want to know all the dirty details, you can read them below.

What is the Foundation to Decrease World Suck?

The Foundation to Decrease World Suck was informally created in 2007, and became a real entity in November 2011, when it was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in the State of Montana. The IRS designated the Foundation a 501(c)3 charity on January 23, 2013. The FTDWS is 100% volunteer operated and exists solely for the purpose of fundraising for the benefit of other non-profit organizations. The majority of fundraising is transacted through and during the annual Project for Awesome. The board members for the Foundation to Decrease World Suck are John Green, Hank Green, Mike Green, Michael Gardner, Benny Fine, and Valerie Barr.

The Foundation to Decrease Worldsuck can only donate money to non-profit organizations that are 501(c)3 or foreign equivalent classified charities. Unfortunately, we cannot support any general project or individual; it has to be an actual designated charity.

But I have school / work on the 17th/18th!

We go all day and night, so just show up whenever you can. I’m not going to encourage you to call in sick, but there are worse reasons to miss a day.

I’m going to be in the Arctic wilderness with no internet. Can I upload my video before/after the 17th/18th?

You will only be able to submit your video to this site during the 48-hour period over December 17th and 18th, but if you’re unable to do that and can’t get a friend to help you out, there’s always a place for more philanthropic videos on YouTube. It’s your video and your channel, so feel free to upload whenever you’re able.

I don’t have a DSLR / I’ve never made a video before / I don’t want to show my face on the internet.

You don’t need a fancy camera to make a good video. Use whatever you have, even if it’s a webcam or a phone. If you’re uncomfortable showing your face, make a video showing only your hands or using only text. So long as you promote a charity you believe in, it counts as a P4A video!

What if the charity I want to promote is national / global / local / small / huge / the same charity everyone else does / the same charity I did last year?

That’s all fine! Of course, many people promote the same charities because they’re so great. And any size charity is eligible and will benefit from your promotion and possibly getting a portion of the money we raise. For us to donate to it, however, the organization must be a registered non-profit organization.

Why don't I just donate to the charity I want to donate to?

Please do! Our biggest goal is to get people excited about giving their money and lending their time and talent to non-profits.

Why are the Indiegogo and projectforawesome.com funding goals different?

Not all fundraising elements of the Project for Awesome occur on Indiegogo. The Foundation to Decrease World Suck fundraises through the year and begins the P4A with some money in the bank. The Foundation has also been generously supported by an anonymous donor who is matching the first $125k raised. The fundraising goal on projectforawesome.com is our true Project for Awesome goal, while the goal on Indiegogo is just the amount that we are hoping to raise through perk donations.

How do I get my digital perk? When will I get my physical perk? How do I tell you my twitter name / t-shirt size? Etc.

We will send out all perks AFTER the campaign is complete on December 21st, including digital downloads. Perks take a varying amount of time to prepare and send out, so we will update you in the coming weeks. If we need to collect information from you to fulfill your perk (such as your twitter username, name for George Watsky's haiku, t-shirt size, etc), we will contact you AFTER the campaign is complete on December 21st.

How does the money get distributed?

However the charity wants. We get in contact with the selected organizations and either arrange a check payment or bank transfer. In the past, Project for Awesome funds have gone to many organizations, including Kiva, Save the Children, The Harry Potter Alliance, Partners in Health, and water.org.

What's up with the "contest entry" perks on Indiegogo?

Please check out our contest rules here.

Video-Making Tips

  1. Try not to make your video too long. People are going to be watching a ton of videos on the 17th, and they don’t want to sit through a rambly, unedited vlog for ten minutes. Keep your video short and to the point so that people will watch the whole thing and learn all about your cause. A good length to aim for is 2 - 4 minutes, unless you have such compelling content that it just needs to be longer.
  2. Try not to spend too much time explaining what the Project for Awesome is. Most people watching your video will already know, so just put an explanation in the description as well as a link to www.projectforawesome.com, and people who stumble across your video can click through to this website to learn all about it.
  3. Similarly, try not to spend too much time promoting your own channel in your video. One or two sentences is fine to explain the type of videos you usually make if they’re different from what you’re doing for your P4A video, but much more than that and it just looks like you’re using the Project to help promote yourself, which isn’t what this is all about.
  4. Long gone are the days when putting an image in the exact middle of your video would always be the thumbnail. If you can’t upload your own custom thumbnail, consider putting the logo for the P4A in the corner of your whole video so that no matter what thumbnail YouTube’s algorithms choose, the logo is always there.
  5. We can’t feature your video if we can’t find it! Put Project for Awesome 2013 or P4A 2013 in the title of your video as well as phrases like “Project for Awesome 2013” and “P4A2013” in the tags. Be sure to also submit your video to this P4A website on December 17th so we can browse through them all in one place.

Special thanks to:

Jenna Nope, Valerie Barr, Katherine Green, Laura Chernikoff, Nerdfighteria, DFTBA Records, and The Foundation to Decrease World Suck

Still have questions? Send us an email at [email protected] and we’ll get back to you soon.

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History of the P4A

The Project for Awesome began in December 2007. Towards the end of John and Hank Green’s Brotherhood 2.0 Project, they had the idea to do a community-building project that would help charities so they schemed to “take over” the YouTube charts by encouraging other video creators on the site to all make videos about their favorite charities using the same thumbnail and upload on the same day.

At the time, the YouTube Browse page was a popular place to see the best videos of the day, so John and Hank encouraged their viewers to comment-spam on every Project for Awesome video to get them to rise to the top of the daily charts.

Since 2007, YouTube’s algorithms have changed and the Browse page is gone, but the yearly liveshow which encourages comment-spamming continues partly out of tradition and partly to help videos by lesser-known YouTubers become more popular in search results.

The Project for Awesome raises money every year for the Foundation to Decrease Worldsuck, with the money then being distributed to the top-voted videos from the website. In 2012 alone, the P4A raised $483,296 and viewers left 724,167 comments.