Mashable COO Adam Hirsch has been pouring energy into the Summer of Social Good campaign since he began organizing it in January 2009 and since it launched on June 1st. In just four days this unique online fundraising effort – built around the velocity and reach of social media – culminates with the Social Good Conference in NYC on Friday Aug. 28th. Tickets are still available, BTW, and 100 percent of sales go towards the four charities benefiting from the campaign.
The four causes are Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong, Humane Society of the U.S., Oxfam America and World Wildlife Fund’s Climate Campaign. They were chosen, according to Adam, because they represent a range of issues and, most importantly, each already had a social media team in place – essential for a coordinated online fundraising effort. The two sponsors of the campaign and conference are social media heavyweight Zappos and MailChimp.
As of today (see above), just under US $30,000 has been raised. Not bad, when you consider that the average gift is $20. On the other hand, that only represents about 1,500 donors. C’mon guys. You can do better than that. And it’s not too late.
I’ve been watching the campaign with considerable interest because I played a tiny part in helping Mashable launch an umbrella project called Social Media for Social Good (I donated the domain name.) I’ve met Adam and he was kind enough to respond promptly to my request for a quick Q & A via email. But his answers are short and don’t reveal in detail the multi-faceted and coordinated nature of the campaign, including leverage provided by corporate sponsors and partners, the mix of online and offline tactics and the use of YouTube.
I’m hoping he and the rest of the Mashable team will report on what specific strategies worked the best once the dust settles. For now, take a good look at the donation page and you’ll see: an embeddable donation widget (displayed above), a list of suggested Tweets once you’ve donated, an About page and a link to a Twitter stream featuring the hashtag #socialgood. Simplifying and streamlining the information *explaining* the campaign has clearly been a challenge.
DW: Briefly, what is the Summer of Social Good?
AH: The Summer of Social Good is Mashable’s first hosting effort in the non-profit space to raise charitable donations through the power of social media. The goal is to use the power of “Social Influence” via Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, blogs and other online media to raise an unprecedented amount for our fund benefiting The Humane Society, Livestrong, Oxfam America and WWF from June 1st until August 28th, 2009.
DW: Will there be a Fall and Winter of Social Good?
AH: Ha! Mashable will continue to support other organizations efforts throughout the coming year, but we will not be hosting our own fundraising project for a bit.
DW: Has the fundraising response met your expectations?
AH: The response has been fantastic and we are amazed and thrilled at the outreach and support from our community and our community’s communities.
DW: I know you’ve been using every form of social media to promote the campaign; what lessons have you learned? What is most effective – and least effective – and why?
AH: We’ve learned lots of lessons, but the most important lesson on being effective is that everyone who donates or participates likes to have some sort of recognition for it. The least effective is not participating back.
DW: What have you done offline?
AH: We took the campaign on the road (aka #Hyatt4Good) with live Tweetup events in six cities, sponsored by Hyatt.
DW: Why is Mashable involved in “social good”?
AH: It’s a personal passion of our staff (including founder Pete Cashmore and managing editor Sharon Feder) and thus a part of Mashable.