Nonprofit Social Media

The Red Cross boosts sales with a hot new product.


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?

Healthcare marketing - social media boosts organ donor drive.


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.

Social media and nonprofits example #1 - The Breast Cancer 3-Day.



It's only fitting that I start my social media nonprofit blog series with the Breast Cancer 3-Day--an organization that is very close to my heart.  I'm a 3-Day walker and extremely passionate about raising money for Breast Cancer.  I spend a lot of time posting on my personal breast cancer blog about my efforts to raise money and my excitement about the big event.  The Breast Cancer 3-Day made a slam dunk when they contacted me and asked me if I would be an online ambassador.  I happily agreed, accepted my badge with honor and posted a blog about my fundraising efforts right away.  Within hours, my blog traffic shot up and I found they had linked to my blog on their Facebook page.  This inspired me to continue writing creating a win-win scenario.

Facebook fundraising application

The Breast Cancer 3-Day just recently launched a brand new application--I think it's great.  It works really well and posts in my news feed whenever I get a donation giving my friends updates on my fundraising progress.  Just yesterday I got a donation from a Facebook friend who I'm sure saw the post in her news feed.  Great addition to their social media work. Would love to see if they can link the news feed message directly back to my fundraising page.  


Social Networks

The Breast Cancer 3-Day has lots of places for discussion and interaction between walkers, crew and staff.  The 3-Day message boards are very active with posts on everything from personal stories, fundraising, training and what to pack.  There are lots of similar discussions on the Facebook fan page which has over 20,000 fans.  The benefit of the Fan page is the ability to post links to blogs, articles, videos and news stories and they do a great job of that.  There are also lots of active discussions on this page.  There's a small group on LinkedIn which doesn't seem overly active with a little over 300 members.

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The 3-Day Twitter page has close to 3,000 followers with lots of ongoing discussion, links to blogs, retweets and announcements about upcoming events.

YouTube and Flikr

I was glad to see so many videos on the YouTube channel and photos on the Flikr site.  Both provide lots of visuals to really show the experience.  Nothing beats being there, but I have to imagine the videos and photos inspire future walkers and donors.

Final Thoughts

All in all, the Breast Cancer 3-Day is doing a great job facilitating conversations and generating excitement about the events through their supporters.  As the 2009 walks approach, I'm curious to see what 2010 brings and how they will continue to inspire their ambassadors and supporters.  Would love to hear what you think about their efforts.  Post a comment and share your thoughts.

Social media and non-profit blog series.


Last week, I spoke at the Social Media Breakfast in Toledo on social media and nonprofits.  I was particularly excited about this topic because it was the nonprofit world that launched me from traditional advertising into the fun and constantly changing world of social media.  I loved doing research for this talk and seeing how all sorts of nonprofits are engaging with their communities in the social sphere.  Many have made decent entries into the world and some are making baby steps.  Over the next few months, I'll share what these nonprofits are doing in my social media and nonprofit blog series. Here's a short clip from my talk followed by a list of the first 10 nonprofits I will highlight.

Breast Cancer 3-Day

American Cancer Society

United States Humane Society

Susan G. Komen

American Red Cross

Ad Council

Pickens Plan


Nothing but Nets

Autism Speaks

Got any thoughts about others you would like to see, leave me a comment and I'll check them out.

The difference between social marketing, social media marketing, and cause marketing.


I was about to do a blog series on social marketing. But then I realized a lot of people online are confusing it with social media. Social marketing is marketing that builds awareness about a social issue and works to change people’s behaviors or attitudes for the public good. Like wear a condom, don’t smoke, get a mammogram, recycle and save the endangered bats.

With the advent of social media, a lot of people are misusing a phrase that has been around for decades. Social media is conversation between people and consumers and brands through blogs, social networks like Facebook and Twitter etc. Social media marketing uses these interactive social platforms to build their brands and consumer fan base.

While Cause Marketing, is where for-profit corporations team up with non-profit corporations and create a win-win for both to build business and raise money and awareness.

So while social marketing can use social media as a tactic, social media and social marketing refer to two very different things. And while social marketing and cause marketing are similar and both raise awareness, the former is about changing behaviors, the latter is about partnering to raise money for the cause and the corporate partner.

Now that we’ve got that cleared up, I can start my series on my top 20 social marketing creative campaigns. To be continued…

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