Creativity in Public Relations » charity http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal Creativity, marketing, great ideas, smart thinking, public relations, insights, inspirations, innovations and more. (Formerly known as Ryan's View) Wed, 05 Aug 2009 00:52:54 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 Smarties Colors For A Cause Charity Campaign http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/23/smarties-colors-for-a-cause-charity-campaign/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/23/smarties-colors-for-a-cause-charity-campaign/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2009 00:23:46 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=626 Yes, I’m a big fan of Smarties – I used to eat them all the time and lick them and stick them on my face to make colored circles on my nose and cheeks (you know you did it too).  Those little candies have just launched a new campaign called “Colors For A Cause” that makes it fun and easy for people to help Smarties decide where to direct donations to some great organisations doing their part to help the world.

When you visit the campaign site you first see six Smarties candies (in six different colors) spinning around, each representing specific causes like the environment, arts, sports, health, humanitarian and animal protection.  By clicking on a Smartie you learn more about each specific cause area, including easy ways you can help make a difference (like building a bird feeder to help animals or playing frisbee to help with your health) along with some interesting facts (like the worlds fastest tennis serve was 249 kms and the artist who designed the Rolling Stones lip logo was only paid 50 pounds).

Next up, the fun part, telling Smarties where you’d like it to donate the 10 cents donation it is making on your behalf.  There are two ways you can decide how to donate – one is an easy one, simply click on the interactive big Smartie and allocate specific percentages to each cause (it takes a bit to get used to how it works but keep trying), 100% could go to animal protection or you could divide a percentage equally to each cause.  If you aren’t sure, there is a 10-question quiz that offers you some multiple choices and uses your answers to get a sense of the kind of person that you are and suggests a specific percentage breakdown to each cause.

Once you’ve made your donation choices there’s an easy way to invite your friends to help make a donation with a Facebook application.  The Colors For A Cause Facebook app (you’ll need to accept it to check it out) has a nice visual overview of where the money thus far has been directed by visitors – today the leader is the environment – and shows how much you have donated (you can come back every day to vote during the campaign perioid) as well as how much your friends have donated (based on them seeing the campaign in your Facebook feed).  And the page also includes a runny tally of how much Smarties will be donating based on people who have participated – with the total just clearing $20,000 – showing how quickly 10 cents can add up.  And there’s also a Colors For A Cause store where you can buy hoodies or t-shirts or posters to raise even more funds.

What can we learn?  For one thing, everyone loves to help the world, and this campaign provides a natural “feel good” vibe to it.  I know it’s only 10 cents per visit but those ten cents can add up quickly and by being able to visit the site every day during the multi-week campaign you can help drive the totals up.  It’s sort of like a virtual water fountain, the ones that people throw coins in that are collected for charity.  I also like the easy way to integrate with Facebook and to see how much money you and your friends have contributed.  And the content and easy way to browse through different causes and also learn what you can do to help (beyond making a donation) is also a great way to keep the authentic voice high for this effort.

How can we make it better?  Not sure what’s being done off-line (as the campaign is taking place in Canada and I’m in Australia) but would love to see some giant Smarties costumed people out and about where the youth are playing this Summer in Canada – handing out smarties and directing people to the website.  It also would be nice for people to be able to add a “why I’m supporting a specific cause” to make it more personal and to feel like their voice could motivate others.  And I’m also a big believer that people like to see their name – so some type of scrolling leaderboard of people’s first name and last initial could have been nice too.  And just saw that the Facebook feed about the campaign shows up but there isn’t a link that someone could click on to get to the campaign to participate.

All in all, I love it, it works on so many levels and positions Smarties as a brand in touch with the interests of its young fans and has a lot of fun in the process.  Now, go vote, the campaign is over in 2 weeks!

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CEOs Sleep Outside Overnight For Charity http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/19/ceos-sleep-outside-overnight-for-charity/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/19/ceos-sleep-outside-overnight-for-charity/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2009 01:26:43 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=628 Last night it was cold (7 Celsius; 44 Fahrenheit) and rainy in Sydney.  And last night more than 200 CEOs from some of the city’s biggest companies felt it more than the rest of us, participating in the annual “CEO Sleep Out” – raising funds and awareness of the more than 20,000 people in Sydney who are homeless each night (part of the more than 100,000 homeless people nationwide, a third of those are children and nearly half are women).

The event was hosted by St. Vincent De Paul Society, and takes a head-on approach to raise awareness of the homeless issue by inviting CEOs to see what their life is like for just one night.  It’s easy for anyone to write a check, it’s quite another to experience a cause firsthand and in turn, probably become a vocal ambassador to help even more. The CEOs were able to bring their own warm clothes, a sleeping bag and a pillow, but were only provided a piece of cardboard and were fed soup, bread and tea/coffee for dinner and porridge and an apple for breakfast.

CEOs either volunteered on their own or were nominated by co-workers from the campaign website which made sending a “you should participate” email.  Once a CEO agreed to participate they set-up a profile on the website and then invited colleagues, friends and family to sponsor their night out with a donation on the site.  And donate they did – the campaign has already raised more than $500,000 and with the CEOs returning to their jobs today that number may go higher as people are inspired by the stories they are no doubt hearing today.

I spoke with Andrew Littleproud, the APAC Regional Director of McAfee (an H&K client) who participated in the event last night to share his thoughts on the experience.  Here’s what he shared:

“The whole event was an incredible eye-opener.  Throughout the event there were different people sharing their own storeis of either being homeless now or once homeless.  The reality of homeless people couldn’t be farther from what the perception is – 80% of people are women or kids or families and not only sleeping outside but sleeping in cars, staying with friends and family.  Some of the speakers had lots jobs last year and talked about being homeless with kids.  Once you lose your address its hard to apply for welfare or health benefits.  And when you try to apply for a job without an address you can see how the downward spiral can start.  You start losing your feeling of security, how you are perceived in the community and other psychological issues.  We all talked about how we had friends in countries all over the world making donations and hearing about the event, and some talking about the event being covered by the media as well, so it was great to know this event was reaching other places who also have a homeless issue.  I tried to start sleeping at 11PM but obvioulsy it was cold and there were a lot of people snoring and getting up in the middle of the night and then getting up early – the whole experience really brought the issue home.”

The numbers speak for themselves – $50 can provide a homeless person with a bed, a meal and a fresh change of clothes for one night.  Double that and you can help fund the Vinnies Night Patrol vans that deliver food and hot drinks to homeless people across Sydney.  A donation of $500 will help a homeless person complete a life skills course to help them get back on their feet.

The campaign works on so many levels.  First up, the experience.  Its one thing to tell a story about a homeless person, it’s quite another to sleep outside on the street. Second, the word-of-mouth that occurred last night via people at the event using Twitter to in-person conversations happening at businesses all over Sydney today, raising awareness of this important cause.  Third, the visuals from the event, showing some of Australia’s most powerful business people sleeping outside.   And finally, how the event itself made it very easy to ask someone to donate – how could you say no to someone who is going to be doing all of the work, sleeping outside, in the cold (and in the rain).

Growing for only 8 people 4 years ago to 60 last year and now more than 200 this year, its great to see a campaign so worthy making such an impact.  Now, next up, this concept needs to “go global.”  It’s an easy event to replicate and one that would only help to raise awareness of this incredible issue.  And know that Sydney was the home to the first “Earth Hour” and the legendary “Movember” campaign, I’m hoping that CEO SleepOut will become the next big Aussie innovation to go global.

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