The Social Observer

The Social Media Marketing Blog by SNHU Students

Nonprofit Does Not Mean Non-Viral

Awareness is the most popular tool for any nonprofit organization and going viral boots perception. What are the first social marketing campaigns that come to mind when you think of superb awareness efforts? The first three that come to my mind are: The ALS Ice Bucket ChallengeMovember, and Love Has No Labels.

Image Credit Pixbay

The next question you may ask is, what makes these campaigns go viral? Well, the answer is simple. They all share the following traits.

  • Fun and express positivity
  • Easy for the public to share and participate
  • Unexpected and refreshing
  • Emotional
  • Community involvement is present
  • Rely on people liking to support good causes

The Price of Going Viral

NPOs like to spend little or no money when raising awareness to allow more money to be utilized for the cause at hand. There is a magnitude of engagement tactics that are free or of little cost.

User-generated content is the holy grail of engagement because when fans upload content it does not cost the organization anything. Think of it as free advertising like when Clarion University got free publicity because Adam Levine wore a branded t-shirt. As people upload and share content with your cause’s hashtag and company mentions, engagement rises – which can be more dollars for your NPO.

Raw Data

Looking at the raw data from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and Movember it is easy to see that the formula works! UGC + Engagement = $$$

Viral Symbiosis

The Love Has No Labels campaign is a different beast to examine because it is not headed by a simple NPO. It is headed by The Ad Council and numerous companies participate. This is a powerful notion that NPO marketers can use as a learning experience. Similar to this initiative, viral content is often a dish best served at parties!

I don’t mean spreading the common cold around at a gathering; I am referring to creating partnerships between powerful brands to spread enthusiasm and add credibility to your organization’s big new movement. Here are two questions that will help you get started on creating a partnership.

  1. Which for-profit companies share your vision and can enhance your vision by donating money? Often these companies can enjoy a tax write off for helping NPOs and these companies reap the societal benefits of goodwill.
  2. What other NPO’s have similar campaigns that can create a symbiotic relationship? Think about bees and flowers – the bees need the flowers in order to feed on their pollen while the flowers need the bees for cross-pollination and fertilization.

Thus, I present you with this simple idea; find a bee that needs a flower. Find an amusement park to sell your ice cream. Discover a mall with just enough space for your kiosk. Partner with a pet store to promote your animal shelter. Ok, I think you get my point.

Image Credit: Pixbay

Recipe for Success

When NPOs study the viral campaigns of the past, a few things can be learned. We now know the formula for turning engagement into cold hard cash. Likewise, the recipe for viral content is a basic one: emotion + community + a good cause = a viral campaign. But, just like my Grandma and her delicious cinnamon rolls, no one ever hands out the entire recipe.

Image Credit: Myself

So, it is up to you, the NPO marketer to take this simple recipe and add your own spice. Do not settle for those pre-packaged cinnamon rolls that they have in every grocery store. Get your hands sticky, play with the ingredients, create something magical, something epic, something that is so yummy that even the for-profit companies want to take a bite.

Featured Image Credit: Pixbay

Category: Blogging, Social Media Marketing 201