Why Daring in Charity Is Perfect for Social Media

Recently a five-sibling family in Canada who lost their family dog to cancer wanted a puppy. The father agreed – but only if they convinced a million other people to agree with them. So the children turned to Facebook, posting pictures of themselves with a sign that read:

Hi World. We want a puppy!
Our dad said we could get one if we get 1 million likes!
He doesn’t think we can do it! So LIKE this!

Seven hours later, their mission was complete.

Not surprisingly, this was national news, but hardly the first viral sensation of its kind.

A group of Connecticut working moms dared other moms to show their “real” post-pregnancy bellies to protest the paparazzi’s obsession with showing how celebrity moms – like Beyoncé – look flat-bellied in what seems like days after delivery.

What This Means

Dares and competitions tap into people’s inherent need to be competitive, a recipe that can be easily replicated by nonprofits on social media. New research also sheds light on the kind of content that leads users to share: It is usually inspirational or uplifting in tone – just like the puppy appeal and the pregnancy protest “campaigns.”

From a trends perspective, social media has enabled people to challenge consumers or donors to contribute to a solution. Florida State’s Theta Chi chapter, for example, is offering to shave a member’s head for every $150 raised in their fundraiser to support two brothers undergoing cancer treatment.

Your Next Steps

CharityKick is a site devoted to this very purpose: It lets you dare a friend into doing something embarrassing or brave in exchange for a donation to charity.

You might consider daring your supporters to help you achieve a short-term goal, like raising $10,000, and in exchange you’ll make a development staff member wear a cowboy costume to work, broadcasting the effort on YouTube.

The call to action should be easy to execute (e.g., contributing $10) with near real-time posting of the campaign’s progress. As the campaign nears its completion, begin teasing the prize (stand-alone pictures of cowboy hat, etc.).

No matter the prize, your supporters want to be engaged and – because of social media – entertained.


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