Nonprofit Social Media
Have you heard about Panera Cares community cafes? These are wonderful non-profit versions of Panera sandwich shops. They were created to raise awareness of—and actually relieve—food insecurity.
Everything in a Panera Cares café is just the same as in a “regular” Panera except for the menu, which has suggested donations instead of hard-and-fast prices. The idea is that you donate what you can afford for your meal. Those who can pay the suggested donations (or more) support the café and allow it to feed the hungry for free—or for an hour of volunteer work.
Other than its moving website, Panera Cares’ social media presence has been scanty. I’ve been troubled by this because I’d love this great non-profit to get more buzz. I also think Panera deserves plenty of credit for creating such an innovative way to fight hunger.
As it turns out, Panera did get a blast of online love recently. But the story was about a caring Panera location, rather than a Panera Cares cafe.
It happened like this: New Hampshire resident Brandon Cook posted a story about his dying grandmother’s craving for Panera clam chowder, which is made only on Fridays. It wasn’t a Friday when Cook called his local Panera with the request, but the manager made his grandmother a special batch of her favorite soup anyway. She sent over a box of cookies as well. It was a small gesture of kindness more typical of a small business than a huge, corporate chain.
And what do you know, Brandon Cook’s post has generated more than 815,000 “likes” on Facebook and a heap of press recognition.
I love this story. As a social media expert, I also see a few lessons we can all take from it. . .
Even if you don’t always watch social media, it’s always watching you
I’m sure the manager of that Nashua, NH Panera wasn’t thinking about getting praise on Facebook when she made that extra pot of clam chowder. But the fact is, deeds good and bad can go public at any time. Hopefully that provides added incentive for individuals and companies to be good citizens. It should also remind businesses to keep social media strategies always at the ready so they can manage both good and bad PR.
Going viral is like winning the lottery
A lot of stars have to align for super-buzz to happen. While Panera got lucky this time, hoping to go viral is not a good social media strategy. Instead, you have to use social media (preferably entertaining and innovative social media) to put out your message.
If you don’t toot your own horn, nobody else is going to do it for you. My mother always used to tell me this. As the Panera/Facebook story shows, that’s less true these days, but horn-tooting should still be a crucial part of every business’s strategy. These days, social media is the smartest and most economical way to do it. I for one, hope that Panera Cares increases its online presence so it can get more credit for its philanthropy, and so more people will learn about and visit the Panera Cares cafes. There’s one in Dearborn, Michigan and I will definitely make a point of eating there the next time I’m in the area.
Do you know of any other non-profits that could step up their social media game?
- Volunteer at a metro-Detroit organization, like Summer in the City, Focus Hope, or Forgotten Harvest or do a project like writing letters to soldiers. A finalist is randomly chosen from each volunteer day.
- Drive around wielding a Friendship Circle car magnet. If you’re seen by a contest spotter, you could become that day’s finalist.
- Write a story of friendship in response to a particular question. Again, a finalist will be randomly chosen from among the entries.
Today is World Autism Awareness Day. That means for the next twenty-four hours, buildings and monuments around the world will be bathed in blue light. Among the places “lighting it up blue” are the Empire State Building, the Paris Stock Exchange, The Sydney Opera House . . . and the historic Peabody Mansion in Birmingham, Michigan, which is the home of Brogan & Partners.
I’m so proud that our firm will be a part of this amazing day, when so many people will be focusing on autism. Maybe the blue lights will inspire more people to volunteer on behalf of those with autism. Or to donate money for autism research. Maybe those who live with autism on a daily basis will choose this day to reach out and educate others about the disorder.
Photo by Mike Lord
There are so many ways to learn and help. The blue lights are there to remind us that autism is all around us. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism’s prevalence has now risen to one in 88 children. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t have a personal connection to this disorder.
That's why we are supporting Michigan's Lt. Governor, Brian Calley, in his effort to implement autism insurance reform in Michigan--to make sure that the 15,000 people living with autism in Michigan get the treatment they need to live a bright and productive future.
That’s why I (as well as Brogan & Partners) am a longtime supporter of Friendship Circle of Michigan, which provides services to kids with special needs, including those with autism.
It’s why I contribute to Camp Kids All Together, which helps autistic kids go to an inclusive day camp along with children of all abilities.
And it’s why my husband, Jon, has just joined the board of The Bear Hug Foundation, which helps kids with special needs go to overnight camp.
As many of you know, we bathe the Peabody Mansion in a pink glow every October to observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is the first time we’ve shined our light on a new issue. I hope it gets people talking. I hope it prompts a flood of donations.
And I hope it means that some day, that one in 88 statistic will be a distant memory.
As one of the digital thought leaders at Brogan & Partners, I was excited to attend this year's SXSW conference and see where the future of digital design was heading. Often, I feel like the "usability police" and for years I have been making sure our web sites, rich media and social media designs where intuitive so the user knows where to click and what they'll get. But with Touch UI gaining momentum, it begs the question: Is Touch UI the Click UI killer? After all, video killed the radio star...
During my week of Interactive sessions at SXSW, I realized that the focus of conventional Click UI was pretty much obsolete. If anything, it was only mentioned in passing. And I also didn't hear the word "usability" mentioned at all. It was all about the touch or gesture experience.
I joke that my kids don't know what a mouse is, but it's true. Their first experience and exposure to computers were a laptop, iPhone, and iPad. None of these devices uses a mouse or has to be clicked. We do have desktop computers around, but it's avoided because there's a feeling of entrapment compare to our mobile devices. Our expectations of how we experience the web has gone way beyond just the conventional and intuitive navigations.
Whether we believe conventional Click UI is a passing phase or not, it is paramount to consider the visual interface as part of the brand. As designers, we'll need to build an easy and memorable experience for our users. And to stay on top of our competitors, those experiences will need to be unique. This is what Nike Myers described in his "The Visual Interface Is Now Your Brand" session at SXSW. Where do you think the user interface is heading?
Here's a little taste of things to come when the visual is the interface.
A week ago, we all sat down to groaning Thanksgiving feasts. Then it was on to Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. I even found a site, moderntribe.com that invented Shop Jewish Sunday. It all culminated in the Visine-inducing Cyber Monday.
Now many of us, awash in beribboned packages, have a consumer hangover. That’s why the newspaper ad I spotted the other day came at the perfect time.
The ad urges us to “redefine Christmas” by giving to charities instead of giving stuff. I think that’s a great message. While sometimes a material gift is just the thing for a holiday or occasion, whenever I see a “no gifts” note on an invitation, I happily make a donation to my favorite charity—the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure--instead.
But what if you don’t have an automatic go-to charity.
That’s where social media comes in.
With a quick Google, I found some excellent charity clearinghouses, including:
- Just Give, which created the Redefine Christmas ad.
- Charity Navigator with lots of great functions including a complete rating on charities.
- Network for Good offers charity gift cards.
- Charity Watch helps you check out organizations and insure that your online donation is safe.
Crowdrise, one of my personal favorites, just offered a 48 hour promotion where 1 out of every 3 donations were free. This allowed users of crowdrise an opportunity to give their favority charity a donation and get the money right back.
And if these sprawling databases are too much for you? Check out your friend's Facebook pages for their favorite charities. That’s how I found out about Kiva through which one can make microloans to business owners in need, as well as Heifer International which gives families in developing nations livestock and training to improve their health and finances.
Or go to a favorite business’s website. Subaru, for instance, is “Sharing the Love” through the holiday season by donating $250 to one of five charities for every new car sold.
Online networks are a great way to find cool stuff to buy. But they’re also the perfect medium for giving back. To me, that’s the essence of what social media is all about.
Social media is changing the world and it’s proving itself time and again that its powers can be used for more good than evil. Exhibit A: the Bread Art Project. It’s a really simple concept with hugely impactful results. With the help of Facebook, Twitter and the like, this project has gone from an unknown to a social media sensation.
The Grain Foods Foundation along with Food Network favorite Ted Allen (host of Chopped) are joining forces with Feeding America to provide a whopping one million pounds of food for those who need it the most. And the numbers are staggering. Hunger impacts 48 million Americans, 17 million of which are children. Most of us can’t imagine what it would be like to not be able to feed ourselves or our families.
And now, social media is being used to help feed the hungry, simply by making pieces of digital bread art. Never fancied yourself an artist? All you have to do is upload a picture of yourself, friends, pets, or any image that is important to you. If you’re a regular Picasso, you can even create your own design and the application will generate a personalized piece of bread art just for you. For every slice of bread art, the Grain Food Foundation will donate a $1 to Feeding America. They have already raised over $21,000 for the project and it continues to grow. Bet you never thought a digital piece of bread could be so much fun or could give back to such a great cause. What are some of your favorite causes social media has impacted?
I even tried out my art skills with a picture of me and some of my girls from Brogan & Partners. If I ever wondered what my face would look like toasted to a piece of bread…I just got my answer.
For generations there has been an endless debate of who rules the world, men or women. During the sixties, James Brown stated his opinion with “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”. In Beyonce’s new song “Run the World” she sings, “Who run the world? Girls, girls”. The debate will continue. But in the world of social media, we have a definitive gender winner. It’s women who rule. Sure, men created most of our social platforms but it is women who are maintaining and growing them.
According to Read Write Web, a study done by an online company rapleaf.com revealed that on most social network platforms “women outnumber men by a considerable amount. On Facebook, the 18-24 age group is the largest, with 1,685,029 women in that age group compared to 977,753 men.”
Why are women the largest contributors to social media? According to Jessica Faye Carter, an award-winning author and owner of Nette Media, it is simply because as mothers, we like to share information, educate others as well as develop new trends.
As expert multi-taskers, women like how easily they can share information with family and hundreds of “friends” simply with a click of a button. And as the leading household purchasing decision-maker, they use social media to share information about products, services, time-saving tips and money-saving offers.
Men want to rule the world. Women want to save the world. So it’s no wonder so many women are using social media to make social change. Whether raising awareness for lead paint or money for the breast cancer 3-day, women are using these social tools to build a better world for all of us.
Who do you think will rule the social media world in the future?
It’s been a crazy past two weeks. Tornadoes ravaged the south, record-breaking flooding in the mid-west, a Royal Wedding last Friday, and Bin Laden’s death on Sunday. The media has been in overdrive.
But for the average American consumer, this weekend is all about moms. While #mothersday will be trending on Sunday, companies have used Facebook and Twitter to offer deals, market brands, and keep social advocacy up – all in the name of moms.
Some brands used discounts such as free shipping or discount rates to entice consumers to buy gifts for mom online. Others used promotions from bloggers in the community.
Amazon offered free 1-Day shipping in the U.S. on jewelry and watches on Facebook, while Amazon Kindle offered a free gift card for purchasing a Kindle on Twitter. Using this tactic of free shipping/gift cards can lead to customer satisfaction and loyalty, which can lead to more consumer sales later.
Walmart promoted their Build a Basket Beauty Center on their Facebook by using a recommendation written by a mommy blogger. A blogger’s endorsement of a product or service gives it more authority and trust.
Living Social even marketed directly to moms by providing a Living Social Beauty Package. Marketing to moms bypasses targeting the kids and/or husbands.
Other brands used a sweepstakes to pull in more ‘likes’ and increase their brand presence on Facebook.
@Target held a sweepstakes to win products from Giada De Laurentiis for mom. The link takes you to their Facebook page which lets you enter the sweepstakes, after you like them first. This tactic increases fanbase.
Kohl’s has a brag about mom contest, where if your picture is picked, you are featured for a week, with the contest stopping on Mother’s Day. The ultimate reward is $500 Kohl’s gift card.
Social Advocacy for Moms
At least one group used a Mother’s Day gift as a way to help fund a social cause.
The Breast Cancer Awareness page is offering Mother’s Day specials to help fund mammograms. Non-profits can increase funds by using creative, nontraditional tactics to fundraise.
Did you cash in on any deals for Mother’s Day?
What is the product? Hope. During the holidays, the Portugal Red Cross opened a retail store in one of the busiest malls in Portugal, with the idea to sell tangible donations of hope.
What a brilliant non-profit marketing and fundraising idea. Leo Burnett Lisbon developed the campaign that helped the Red Cross climb into the top ten for sales at the mall. Here is a brief snapshot of what they did.
The Red Cross has now opened additional stores in Spain and Portugal but will sell Stories of Hope this time. Books being sold have titles such as, The Children who learned to Smile, The Engineer Who was a Super Hero and The Girl who Forgot to Cry. The books are completely blank inside other than a marker and a note that reads “You can help make each book a happy ending by donating to the Red Cross.”
I hope that the Red Cross continues to raise money in this new venture, and that it soon makes it to the States. What do you think? Would you be more willing to donate if you were actually able to “shop” for your donation?
Through my work in organ donation healthcare marketing over many years, I have learned that organ donation is a topic that people either don't want to think about - or one that is near and dear to their hearts. I fall into the latter category. You can't hear the life-changing stories from organ recipients and families of organ donors and ever be the same. Which is why I'm so excited about the opportunity to use social media tools to extend the Donor Drive 2010 message for our long-time client, The Gift of Life Michigan.
Part of the problem with getting people to sign up has been getting them to take the time to register online (btw, just signing your driver's license is not enough!). Hence, this quick-read, yet multi-functional microsite is designed to make it VERY simple. The widget allows you to sign up right there. You can share the widget via Facebook and Twitter. Email messages can be sent to family and friends letting them know you've just registered and encouraging them to follow suit. You can see the total count of registered donors, even by county. Compelling recipient and family donor video testimonials and opportunity to share your own organ donation story provide the emotional connection to seal the deal.
It's only been a couple of weeks and already over 5000 widget impressions and over 125 widget installs. Help share the gift of life. Sign up on the widget below and share the widget.
And know that you've made a difference. Just one donor can save or improve the lives of 50 people. And there are thousands in Michigan just waiting for your help.
Let us know your thoughts on this social media strategy and any other successful cause social media strategies you've used.