social networking

Social-Media Experiment Raises Big Money for Small Charity

foursquare social media fundraising
Written by Paul Steinbrueck

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foursquare social media fundraisingWriting about how the Internet and social media CAN benefit churches and ministries is great and all, but nothing beats a real-world example in which somebody ALREADY HAS made it happen. posted an awesome story about Estrella Rosenberg and how she used location-based social networking site Foursquare to raise $25k and a ton of publicity for Big Love Little Hearts, a nonprofit group that focuses on congenital heart defects.  Here’s how she did it:

On the evening of April 9, a few dozen Big Love Little Hearts volunteers added the following as a “tip” to 600 Foursquare locations: “1 in 100 children are born w/ a heart defect. Pulse-Ox screening saves lives – you can too! Check in with the hashtag #100X100”.

We also embedded a link in the tip to the One Hundred Squared site. We chose what we thought would be the most checked-in locations on a Saturday — airports, Starbucks and Target stores, gyms, etc. — in major cities around the U.S…

I began Foursquaring/Tweeting/Facebooking about #100X100 at 12:01 a.m. on April 10. Big Love Little Hearts supporters followed.

By 7:30 a.m., an angel who was following one of our followers on Twitter (but not us) noticed our hashtag. It turned out that she is an adult with a congenital heart disease who was not diagnosed at birth and who is alive today because she received lifesaving surgery.

Her passion for our work led her to call me and commit to donating $1 for every time someone used the #100X100 hashtag until midnight on April 10.

You can read the full story here.

I’ve got to say straight away, her strategy of promoting her charity on the Foursquare locations of popular places seems a bit spammy to me.  As great as the cause is, I would hardly consider info about it a valid tip for people at airports, post offices, and coffee shops.

Nevertheless, it gives a concrete example of how social media can be used to raise awareness and dollars for a charity.

It also gives some insight into some good social media tactics like:

  • Develop a plan for a campaign (rather than just tweeting/posting links & hoping things will take off)
  • Have definitive start and end dates
  • Get your friends and supporters to help. Get them on board before it starts.
  • Integrate your campaign across multiple platforms (Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook, their website)

What do you think about the idea of using Foursquare to raise money and awareness for charity?  What other tactical lessons can be drawn from this campaign?

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About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.


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