4 Elements of the Blue Key Campaign's Success

Photo by Muffet
12.12.2011By

Photo by Muffet

Have you heard of the Blue Key Campaign?

This national campaign, led by USA for UNHCR, is spreading the word about the 40 million refugees in the world, but allows its supporters to take part in the effort to make a change. One of the ways supporters can show their support is by purchasing a $5 blue key.

Here are four elements of their success.

1. Strategize Outreach

Shonali Burke, the Blue Key Campaign’s digital and social media strategist, said they first figured out the best way to reach out to online influencers.

“We reached [out] to a combination of known ‘influencers’ in the nonprofit world as well as those who might not have very large followings, but who are extremely active and engaged with their communities,” she said.

“So rather than focusing solely on influencers, we were looking to bring ambassadors on board. And that is really what is making the digital outreach work.”

TIP: This is a great example that proves the need to have a strategy to launch a campaign; the Blue Key team did their research beforehand, and identified the people they wanted to talk about the campaign. It’s helpful to have these relationships ready at hand, but if you’re starting from scratch, identify the thought leaders in your area of interest and start talking to them. The conversation can start with a simple, “Hello.”

2. Build a Real Social Community

We’ve all heard several times that thank-yous and recognition goes a long way to developing a relationship with your donors. It also works that way when you bring a group of bloggers together to help with your cause.

The Blue Key Campaign has its group of blogger Champions that were given a paintbrush for this portrait in the making. The Champions suggest their ideas so they’re given the chance to make it their own. One of their ideas led to the hugely successful Tweetathon this past June.

The first Tweetathon sold over half of that week’s blue keys, and brought a 169% increase in website traffic and an engagement of 258 people (with 1,523 Tweets) using the #bluekey hashtag. Talk about viral exposure!

From then on, a community other than the blogger Champions began growing around the #bluekey hashtag, giving people a chance to express their stories and personal ties to the cause. This is an essential element in creating a genuine online community around a cause.

TIP: Allow your “champions” and community members to have some say and take ownership in what your nonprofit does; be the community manager, not the community boss. This is the best way to engage your supporters for the long haul, and create a strong community that will propel your cause forward.

3. Give a Takeaway

Tweetups were an important element in creating a strong Blue Key community. There can be plenty of reasons as to why someone may sign up to support a cause online, but the Tweetups give them the opportunity to create a personal bond.

“This is a critical takeaway for nonprofits,” Shonali said. “At the end of the day, people supporting your nonprofit want to know who is behind the organization, who else supports it. So the more we can integrate online and offline outreach, the more it works.”

And everyone is able to get a Blue Key pin or keychain to strut their support for a cause they feel passionate about. Having something in your hand that could serve as a sort of medal is a good way to reward your supporters.

TIP: People are bombarded with causes asking them for something, so to be different and stand out from the noise, give something back to them. Whether it’s a get-together or a token of gratitude, if you give them something special that has them in mind, they’ll surely appreciate you.

4. Keep a Close Eye on Things

All of your efforts go to waste without a good metrics system intact. The Blue Key team is watching its campaign from many different angles and taking the time to learn from the data.

“We set up several sets of tracking URLs via Google Analytics’ URL builder, and it’s very interesting to see how activity from our Champions, be it on blog posts, Twitter, and Facebook affects traffic to the site,” she said. “It tells us what’s working and what’s not, and what we should be doing more of.”

In addition, one of the Champions created a Blue Key widget counter to keep track of their progress towards 6,000 blue keys sold by the end of this year.

“It’s already the second-highest driver of traffic to the site, which we know because of the tracking URL we embedded into it,” Shonali said. “So as much as possible, nonprofits should use tools like these to inform themselves and improve their strategies.”

TIP: Take advantage of the great analytics tools out there and explore the different reporting mechanisms to see what you can learn about your campaign. But also get creative in other ways you can drive traffic to your website.

Lessons Learned

I always find it most educational to read the stories of how other successful fundraising campaigns did it. I still very much like blog posts with tips and ideas, don’t get me wrong, but there’s nothing like seeing exactly how a successful campaign made it to the top. We can all learn lessons from them.

What did you like most about the #bluekey campaign?

P.S. Special thanks to Rachael Seda and Shonali for giving me the info needed to write this post!

P.P.S. They are having a Tweetathon today so be sure to catch the action on the hashtag!