Video | Hanging up our capes … for now

Subtitled: Super-Heroes can’t do math

Ta-dah! Here’s the final Super-Heroes video. (Though honestly, since we paid good money for those costumes we can’t promise you won’t see a cape again somewhere.)

Episode 8 sees Dr. Apathy vanquished at last: He melts away as Captain Collaboration reports the results of our June causes.com fund-raising campaign. And now, you will see us demonstrate Integrity Man’s advice about being transparent and owning up to our mistakes. The Captain’s math is wrong! The preliminary number he announces in this video is actually off  by $340. Our final tally: $11,554 after the  match from a generous donor. We’re pretty happy with that.

In the continuous learning spirit of The Professor, there have been some lively discussions  at the national office about the pros and cons, opportunities and pitfalls of online fund-raising. (Aside to newbies: Public Allies operates in many different cities, but the “national staff” works out of an office in Milwaukee, Wisc.) The discussions tend to center around these kinds of questions:

What’s the appropriate amount to ask for given the kinds of people active in our social network community?

What results can we expect given the number of people who are members of the Public Allies Causes.com page?

What do they want to hear from us when we ask them to become involved?

What might inspire someone to help recruit people to the cause?

When do we cross the line from enthusiastic to really annoying?

There are certainly a lot of resources out there to help us explore these questions. We also had the great fortune of a very supportive friend on the Causes.com staff to help us navigate some areas. One thing’s for sure: We learned a lot from our month-long Super-Heroes journey. And in most cases, it was all about putting hunches to the test.

For instance, we knew that by launching this effort in an intensely busy month for our organization, we were effectively cutting off the amount of support we could expect from our own colleagues in the field. That eliminated one of our best assets, and the kind of networks-supporting-networks principle that drives an online campaign. But meet people where they are, and you can get still grab their attention — busy or not. When we announced that we’d match each graduation-congratulation message on Facebook with a $5 donation, people really came out. It was something they cared about, and it was easy. We also increased our Facebook membership by 20%. Next time, we’ll integrate that kind of idea into our plans more effectively.

Does anyone out there have experiences to share about building online networks, mobilizing volunteers through social media, raising money, what have you? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

To see all the Super-Heroes videos, visit our YouTube channel.

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