I was a part of a Save the Children fundraising campaign called Make the World Better with a Sweater. The campaign centered around a contest to win a holiday party with me in the hometown of the winner. Fans could enter to win by donating $5 on Prizeo and increase their chances by posting a photo on instagram in a holiday sweater. As inspired by the Ice Bucket Challenge, the intention was to get fans to circulate the contest online and go viral.
Advantages and affordances:
The advantages afforded to this project were in in the strength of my fanbase as well as the network of Save the Children and Prizeo. This campaign could be assured to get at least a certain degree of exposure. The more people were exposed to the contest, the more people were expected to make a donation and enter.
The Right People:
Prizeo had a history of successful fundraising campaigns and Save the Children was a well-regarded charity. I have a large following on social media, and the demographic we were targeting used social media actively. This demographic, pre-teens who love pop culture, had a history of spending money readily on contests with artists they admire.
To have the project work:
We needed Prizeo to record donations as expected and we needed my posts appear on Youtube and Instagram. Aside from functioning web platforms, we needed people to engage with the contest. We launched the contest with the expectation that news about the contest would spread and people would donate, also necessary components for the project to work.
Fans engaged with the photos online, but the ask to donate to win and the ask to post holiday sweater photos were confusing. The objective to go viral competed with the objective to get donations. We needed to take extra time and effort to clarify our plan and not enough posts went up. Another way we could have clarified the contest is through media coverage but we didn’t prioritize getting that.
Also, I think the creators of the challenge downplayed what the funds would be raised for. Plenty of charity campaigns are successful without divulging much information about the cause, but I think young people want more context now about what they are giving their money to. As Ethan described in his article, New Media, New Civics, there is “an interest—perhaps a need—for participants to see their impact on the issues they’re trying to influence.”
Gage of Success and Needs for Success:
This idea of seeing impact is related to the gage of success. The contest was set to end on a given date. I was never told what the target goal was or how close we came to reaching it. Obviously neither were my fans. For people of my generation, I think the satisfaction isn’t just in winning the contest, but having some tangible information about the impact you made.
The other gage of success is virality. Again, a target level of engagement wasn’t made known to me, but since I followed my instagram feed enough to be familiar with it’s behavior, I could detect whether it was surging from engagement or not.