I was struck this weekend by a beautiful metro car ad featuring the Partners in Preservation campaign to support 24 historical places in the DC metro area. My interest was naturally piqued by the combination of historic sites (I love history, worked for a museum) and social media engagement (I may or may not be completely in love with Twitter). This campaign has it all for me, the user.
According to the sign and responsively designed website (perfect for my mobile viewing as I continued to my metro station destination), I can engage via social media, on the website, and by visiting the sites and submitting photos of them in order to help my favorite site compete for and win preservation grants. Oh, and there’s a sweepstakes in it for me, the user, as well. Brilliant!
Here’s what I love about this campaign:
- Marketing – Historic sites are supported when visitors engage with them and about them on social media. While the user is motivated by this competition, you are also doing excellent work helping to spread the word about these great historic sites. Your act of digital advocacy just told all your followers about a great space in the DC metro area, and now a few more people know about it and will visit, compared with before the campaign launched. Historic sites have chronically small budgets and few staff, so they really appreciate the free marketing you provide for them. Plus it’s User Generated Content coming from you, the visitor, so people are more likely to trust it.
- Fundraising – And if the free advertising wasn’t good enough for these sites, how fantastic is it that there are some preservation grants waiting for the winners? This funding opportunity incentivizes the sites and staff to get engaged on social media, while incentivizing those of us highly competitive people to vote for and engage with their favorite sites. You as a user are doing a philanthropic deed and it’s not even costing you anything. Great, right?
- Online Engagement – In addition to the above two points, I am simply thrilled to see this kind of online campaign. When funding partners and good causes can come together, connecting various places to support, online and outreach tools, and incentives, something beautiful can come of it. I look at this campaign as a model for other organizations to investigate. One voice may not be enough, but many voices with powerful allies can help your organization make an impact. This campaign is yet another indicator that advocacy, education, and fundraising will continue to shift to online platforms, so if you are not already on social media and considering digital outreach strategies, now is definitely the time.
I’m wondering if some government agencies aren’t perhaps piloting projects like this as a way to crowd source recommendations for where grants could be best used. Perhaps this is the kind of campaign that may help government engage citizens online? It’s an interesting idea. Anyone have thoughts on this?