What is the primary struggle for a non-profit organization?
With a very limited budget (and a great sense of fun) you can make a HUGE impact on how many people know about your organization. It takes a very creative approach, however - and a modest degree of risk.
Here are a couple prime examples of organizations that have successfully undertaken just such fresh and effective approaches using the power of viral videos. I'm betting these videos have made a huge difference in their pocketbooks.
Case Study #1 - Big Cat Rescuewww.bigcatrescue.org
Big Cat Rescue, a non profit educational sanctuary, is devoted to rescuing and providing a permanent home for exotic (i.e. wild, not domestic) cats who have been abused, abandoned, bred to be pets, retired from performing acts, or saved from being slaughtered for fur coats, and to educating the public about these animals and the issues facing them in captivity and in the wild.
Combine the timely influence of a holiday, like Halloween, and the interesting juxtaposition of huge orange squashes and huge orange cats and you've got a winner. Check out the view count of the video below. Watch the cats play and appreciate another species undergoing a great, simple Adventure of their own.
Big Cats Play With Pumpkins - VIDEO
Look at how many people 'like' Big Cat Rescue on their facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Big-Cat-Rescue-Tampa
What are the key elements that make this video a success?
- A simple concept - kitties'n'punkins
- Catchy editing - no malingering - cut down your footage to the minimum adequate for telling a story
- Good musical score - watch the copyright issues
- A reason to share - we all know how many people send around cute animal emails .....
- An unusual set of circumstances - tons of pumpkins donated and a collecting of awesome critters
I'm willing to go out on a pumpkin adorned limb and say that the success of their videos has been a fundraising bonanza. In fact, if you liked them and support the cause consider sending a little donation their way. Better yet, ask your company to sponsor them.
Can any organization do this?
Yes, with the right approach (hint: it has nothing to do with hiring a PR company). Given a little bit of latitude, your people are the best way forward. Just give them the ball.
The best way I know to kickstart this process in your group is Corporate Explorer Training's Outstanding Performance Art Program. This is a dynamic and creative program that takes people through a a step by step process of how to create extraordinary results - just like Big Cat Rescue has done.
Case Study #2 - Opera Company of Philadelphiawww.operaphila.org
Formed in 1975, the Opera Company of Philadelphia has always been and remains committed to delivering outstanding productions of traditional and new repertoire.Using a great sense of fun and an impressive scale, the Opera Company of Philadelphia has also seized on an intriguing holiday format for a video. It has garnered about a million views a week during the first two weeks it has been online.
With the crowded video market today, that is a noteworthy effort. And I'm sure their organization is reaping the rewards of attracting that much attention.
- Identifying a great location
- Acquiring permission from Macy's to use the location
- Selecting a proven popular song
- Recruiting from other chorus organizations to help out
- NOT making the video overly professional (and thus lifeless - less real, that is)
A giant pipe organ, 650 singers and an unsuspecting public make for a great spectacle - one worth sharing, for certain. Here is the video as an embedded YouTube video.
Here is another video of theirs that most likely showed them the potential of this type of approach. The scale is much more modest - 30 players vs. 650. But the concept remains the same. VERY successful Philadelphia Opera Video Watch this one, too, if you enjoyed the first one.
I love finding little gems like these. They prove my hypothesis that a little fun, Adventure and risk when employed in a positive and creative way can pay huge dividends.
So if you are in Philadelphia, patronize this opera. With photos like this on their site highlighting images from one of their productions, I'm guessing their offerings are as entertaining as their publicity!
So, think this approach has raised their profile? Certainly. Helped them fundraise? Absolutely. There is money in fun. I'd love to help you discover this for yourself!