Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Following @childfund is a worthy cause and case study

Earlier this month, Geoff Livingston wrote on his blog about an awareness campaign for the rebranding of ChildFund International:
Follow @childfund and Help Change Children’s Lives

In his post, Geoff explains...

[t]o celebrate, ChildFund International is giving gifts of agricultural love and hope from the organization’s gift catalog for every 200 Twitter followers @childfund receives.  These efforts will directly benefit children in Gambia, Zambia, Kenya and Ethiopia. There is no cap on on followers, and the offer will continue through July 27. 
Each country has different needs so the gifts vary:
  • Chickens for a school in the Gambia
  • A goat for a family farm in Zambia
  • Mango trees in Kenya
  • Vegetable seeds in Ethiopia
This piqued my interest first for being what appeared to be a good cause and a simple way to help in a tangible way. It is worth noting that the veracity of the campaign was at one point called in to question, but a subsequent post cleared up any confusion.

Campaign as a case study
Another reason this community-building Twitter campaign is interesting is by observing it through the lens of a nonprofit. Nonprofits looking for good examples of other efforts to gain awareness should pay close attention to this one. It is especially important to note how the follow-up post explains the parameters for the campaign:
To be clear: The Twitter campaign isn’t about raising money, either. It’s about raising awareness of the work that ChildFund does for deprived, excluded and vulnerable children in the 31 countries where we work.
I hope you caught that. It's not always about the ask.

Communication efforts for a nonprofit should serve the organization through empowerment of the mission and supporters. As one Twitter friend noted in last Sunday's #blogchat on how nonprofits use social media, nonprofit organizations need to invest in marketing and communications as programmatic. It reinforces mission and builds the development framework.

I look forward to watching this campaign develop and observing best-practices that could scale down to other organizational needs.

In addition to following @Childfund (before July 27), you might also be interested in ChildFund International's Facebook , blogging and YouTube outposts as well.

(Photo credit: ChildFund International)