Guest post from our friends at Koch Communications in Oklahoma City
Set bold goals
In his freshman year at Oklahoma Christian University, Ryan Groves learned about the vast global water crisis. With just a club at his college campus, Ryan and his friends set a huge goal: to end the global water crisis in their lifetime.
Summed up in a few numbers, Ryan says, “80 percent of all disease comes from unclean water. It’s responsible for the deaths of about 4,000 children each day, and roughly 1 billion people still lack access to clean water. With all that being said, it takes less than $1 to give someone clean water for an entire year.”
The small college club Ryan and his friends created becamethe global non-profit organization named Wishing Well.The grouphas been active for over 7 years, giving clean water to thousands of people worldwide. In the last year, they’ve seen college students provide clean water to over 40,000 people. So how did they make such large strides toward their bold goal? First, they built relationships.
Begin with relationships
A message that is disseminated over social media means very little if there is no personal relationship backing it up. In his talk at Confluence Conference 2013, Ryan illustrated with code theory how a message is transmitted and translated through personal context to an audience, and how relationships are a way to instantly and extensively communicate a message to a person.
Instead of running the campaign from your office with a laptop, get out in the street and start building relationships. One successful initiative that helped Wishing Well build a strong core community involved simply talking with people. The Wishing Well group started doing “20/20” meetings, where 20 students would meet one-on-one with 20 of their friends to share about the global water crisis and the need they were trying to meet. The 20/20 meetings caught on, and soon students were doing these meetings all over the country, spreading awareness person to person.
“You want to talk about influencing the digital world? Influence the people who make it!” – Ryan Groves
A similar non-profit, Charity:Water had amazing success with an integrated digital campaign that used one-on-one experiences to tell stories, educate and spread awareness.
Charity:Water developed a campaign called $10k on 10/1 with the goal of raising $10,000 in one day. They sponsored multiple 30-minute Google Hangout sessions with featured thought leaders, life coaches and speakers. For a fee, the public could purchase a “seat” in the Hangout and have a first-person conversation with the thought leaders with all proceeds applying to their fundraising goal.
In addition to having a large team tweet and post about the issue and the solution all day, the team also kept the public interested by streaming a live video feed from their office so their audience could look in on the happenings of the Charity:Water campaign. With these strategies combined, they communicated with a large audience, and they succeeded in their goal of raising $10k on 10/1.
Start with your own community
Another group of students who participated in the Wishing Well program for 7 years at Abilene Christian University had plateaued at about 150 followers on Twitter. They wanted a strategy to grow their following so the students came to Wishing Well for advice. Wishing Well decided to offer the group an incentive: For every 100 followers the group accrued, Wishing Well would match $100 toward their next water well build.
The Abilene student team came up with a plan to present an emotional campaign during a weekly chapel service on campus. The call to action from there was made to the students that, for every 100 followers they got, the non-profit they were working with would match $100 toward their next well.
That passionate group of core students who sharedabout Wishing Well with their friends during the chapel service and their work onlineresulted in 900 new Twitter followers in the first 3 hours. By the end of the night, the student team accrued over 1200 new followers and not random followers incentivized by a special offer; these were local, relevant followers who were the exact community the students were trying to reach.
Don’t just drop and run
One of the most important things to remember in a ministry or non-profit is that helping someone is not a one-time event. In a water charity, workers need to stick around and teach locals how to drill and fix wells. If they built a well for people and went home, the well would eventually break, leaving people in the bad situation they were in to begin with.
In ministry, the focus is not just to minister to people one day a week, but also to establish meaningful, helpful, lasting relationships that not only feed a person’s body, but can nourish a person’s soul. Continuing conversations with your audience all week long will establish you as a point of assistance for those in need and as a caring, thoughtful organization that faithfully serves the public.
“We are not in the business of projects, we’re in the business of people” – Ryan Groves
Make it fun
Who didn’t enjoy seeing their friends, teachers and bosses dump a cold bucket of water on their head? During the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the ALS Association raised over $100 million compared to a previous year’s total of $2.7 million. The campaign did well for two reasons. The first is that it was fun. People called out one of theirfriends in the fashion of an old chain letter, and in most cases, they also presented a brave video of themselves taking the challenge atthe end. Secondly, people were prompted verbally, person-to-person, to give to the charity. This campaign not only raised more money than ever before, itraised awareness about the issue exponentially.
“The campaign has made an incredible impact, adding over 100,000 new donors to association’s cause as well as unprecedented visibility for the debilitating disease. “ – http://www.postano.com/blog/14-best-social-media-campaigns-of-2014
When the budget is a challenge, use your gifts
When raising money to build water wells, Ryan Groves, his friends and supporters came together and put on art shows, concerts, poetry slams, bake sales and more to raise money and awareness for their cause. Ryan likes to say how Wishing Well “uses creativity to change the world”.
The team also implemented water walks, where they walked vast distances to spread awareness of the water crisis and experienced the act of walking for water that millions take on every day. The water walks caught on, and in in the next 9 months, 13 different college campuses were doing it. Students across the country who had heard about the crisis, were spreading awareness and fundraising in their own cities and campuses.
Seek to inspire action
UNICEF points out in a large blunt headline that social media “likes” don’t solve problems. This post reads, “Like us on Facebook and we will vaccinate zero children against polio.” It goes on to explain, “We have nothing against likes, but vaccines cost money”.
At the end of the day, the goal of a non-profit or ministry is to inspire action in the hearts of their audience. Through building personal relationships in your own community and by making it fun, action in your organization might be one simple step away.
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge – http://www.postano.com/blog/14-best-social-media-campaigns-of-2014
Article provided by Koch Communications