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Chris Noble
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Thanks for starting the conversation, Beth. You know where I stand ;) And thanks for the suggestion. I'm going to write up a mini-case study of what works (and what needs to be fixed) in Vote-for-me campaigns.
My post just went up and I saw Ben's - agreed, the Xprize is a great example. Also agreed that tweaking, not scrapping is what's required. Thanks for posing the question, Beth.
Let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Blowing up online contests, or scrapping *any* single tactic of cause-related marketing isn't going to help the nonprofit community. First, disclosure: (as you know, Beth) I’ve got a direct stake in not scrapping the system. My company runs cause-marketing campaigns under the agency name StudioGood. We ran a piece of the Pepsi Refresh campaign, and we’ve run hundreds of cause-marketing contests, giveaways, dollar matches, auctions, etc. Our core business is in creating and executing these cause/brand partnerships. Our team was the digital agency behind much of Twestival 2010. Obvious bias noted, I agree we need better, clearer rules, systems that restrict the ability to cheat, and better guidance/direction of funds. I’ll also add that our core advice to companies trying cause marketing for the first time is to pick one thing they care about and go after it hard. But this whole arena is pretty new – not cause marketing, but doing it through social media – and I think we need to keep experimenting. Scrapping what we have or carping about what’s not perfect are academic, not practical, views. Let’s praise Pepsi for not spending $20 million on a Superbowl ad, and for trying to do something good with it. And let’s coach them forward on how to do it better next time, or fix it in the middle of a campaign if it’s broken. (Bonin showed earlier today their responsiveness and willingness to do just that) I think these contests are a viable cause marketing tactic and that the dollars do more good than they would as a pure ad spend. Can they be made better? Sure. Are they doing some good now? I think so. Does anyone on the comment stream disagree? There are a lot of smart, committed, and passionate people who follow your lead Beth. Rather than encouraging them to try and dismantle the system, we should be challenging them to help improve what exists.
Great post Beth. I think it's unlikely that these things will go away for three reasons: -1) contests, sweepstakes and other promotions have been around since advertising began. 2) merging charitable pursuits with your marketing campaigns is a proven way to do well and do good for corporations. 3) Social media makes it easier than ever for supporters to engage on behalf of their causes. So these sort of contests are with us for quite a while. They do need to evolve though, better transparency and more control in the hands of the crowd are needed, as you and others have stated. What I'd like to see in the next evolution are contests that are driven by more than just "click and go" behavior. Suppose competitions in the future are weighted by level of engagement. Not just votes, but hours volunteered, dollars raised, other metrics that show an active support base and also drive the NPO's goals whether they win the competition or not. That was one of my favorite things about the Case Foundation's Giving Challenge - every competitor moved forward on their funding and awareness goals. That's not true for most of the other challenges out there - even the one's our company has run. ... See More I'd like to see this change in the future, and to help change it, of course. Competitions which help activate the donor and supporter base will always be useful to the NPO, and to any supporting Brand. Thanks again Beth, for watching...and talking...about the cutting edge of social media / social good. And Happy Holidays! best, Chris
Beth (and Tom and Seth): For me the key issue is less about resistance (or not) to change, and more about the staggering untapped opportunity that NPO’s have online. in 2008 $6 billion was raised for charity online in the US. BUT that number only represents about 5% of total US giving. It’s the room for growth that makes adopting new tools so compelling. Anyhow, This topic has clearly struck a chord with the non-profit and social media crowd. Any chance we can encourage you three to come to Vegas for blogworld and discuss it together on a panel session? We’re running the first Cause / Activism track this year on Oct 15th (17th also an option). Attendance should be over 4,000 this year with an audience, and last year the 2,000 attendees had a media reach to 100 million readers. Would love to be sharing stories of what’s working for non-profits online and challenging them to do more. I can be reached at noble (at) kompolt (dot) com best, Chris Noble CEO Kompolt