How Arnold Won Over the Internet for Charity

Arnold Schwarzenegger has won over the Internet in the name of charity. On Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 Arnold hosted his second Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Reddit. He wrote:

I'm not here to promote a movie or anything today, but I am raising money for After-School All-Stars. When you guys help provide these kids with health and leadership education, I will match your donations (I'm asking you to make me spend my money). You'll earn the chance to fly to LA from anywhere in the world to ride a tank and crush things together. We'll spend a whole afternoon so we can also work out (on the tank), smoke cigars (on the tank), and whatever else. Go here to enter link!

Watch Arnold prank Gold’s Gym members to help raise money for charity.

On the same day, a hilarious video of him pranking people in Gold’s Gym was posted on YouTube (see right).

The Campaign

Arnold used the fundraising website Omaze.com to raise money for After-School All-Stars. His campaign, called Ride in a Tank with Arnold Schwarzenegger, allows anyone to win an afternoon with him for a $10 donation. Omaze, similar to Kickstarter, offers more rewards for additional donations.

Why It Matters

Arnold engaged donors through social media, including potential donors, who previous to the campaign, knew nothing about After-School All-Stars. With the correct channels—Reddit and YouTube—he was able to reach millennials and even those who tend to support charities but with minimal personal effort, aptly named slacktivsts. Slacktivists shared his AMA, YouTube video and Omaze campaign, generating more traffic for the campaign.

Soon, there was so much social buzz, the campaign became a trending topic on Facebook and Twitter.

Preview of T-shirt based on Arnold’s Gold Gym prank video.

One Reddit user posted (sic): “If Gold’s made a shirt with Arnolds face saying “This is Gold’s Gym, not a baby gym!”, I’d buy 20 for After School Programs :).

Shortly after, a different user submitted a link to a preview Booster page. (Booster.com is a website that raises money and support with custom T-shirts.) While this has not been blessed by Arnold, Gold’s Gym or After-School All-Stars (yet), the Reddit community may decide to embrace it and purchase enough shirts to complete the donation.

Your Next Steps

While your organization may not have ties with a celebrity that offers the cultural clout of an Arnold Schwarzenegger, you should think about the celebrities within your organization itself.

  • Identify local celebrities that have connections with your organization.
  • Ask them to help spread the word of your campaign on social media.
  • Have them host an open-forum Q&A, post a video supporting your cause or announce a donation drive.
    • Host your campaign on a crowdsourcing website  like Kickstarter or Omaze.
    • Consider pairing the effort with a T-shirt campaign through Booster.com.
  • Have your local celebrity do something outside the norm. In exchange for a donation, a donor can:
    • Watch the local celebrity perform humiliating activities.
    • Spend time with the local celebrity.
    • Receive a hand-written message or custom video from the local celebrity.
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