Everyone who seeks to mobilize support for a non-profit should be taking notes on what Invisible Children has accomplished. And I think we can learn a lot from the video.
Most of us will barely pause to watch a 3 minutes “cause” video. But this morning, with my bowl of cereal, I sat (with 21 million others) watching a THIRTY minute video.
The rapid spread of the video seemed to have far surpassed even Invisible Children’s lofty hopes (I saw one IC’er tweet that they were hoping for 500,000 shares on Twitter).
- Fast Company called it the Making of a Viral Masterpiece and a public relations coup
- Celebs/Twitter Royalty like Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Perez Hilton, Justin Bieber, Ryan Seacrest and others watched the video and retweeted it.
- They’ve reached more people in 24 hours than the last 9 years of crisscrossing the globe showing videos on college campuses (Though you’d have to guess that all that crisscrossing gave them the foundation and good will, and brand recognition to create such a massive groundswell. Makes you wonder what would have happened if they were a brand new org just starting with this KONY2012 gameplan. Would it have taken off like it has without the hard work of many years?)
A few takeaways (as I process what we can learn for our own organization):
- While many bemoan slacktivism (taking easy, social actions in support of a cause), I think this Invisible Children coup gave a glimpse of how it can be harnessed and channeled for good (and see this article – Slactivism Causes Engagement)
- Video is powerful
- College students love causes (and slacktivism!). Though I do follow a disproportionate amount of college students on Twitter it seems like the majority of the Retweets came from this generation.
- Invisible Children had a VERY well thought through gameplan. It wasn’t just a video. And the video didn’t just cast vision for their cause. They give really clear next steps (and more vision!) for how YOU can get involved.
- They targeted key gatekeepers who could help accelerate the spread of their idea (and make it super easy for their devoted followers to pester those gatekeepers until they give in)
- Be ready for pushback
- In this new age of instant media exposure, it seems that pushback is soon to follow
- The PR battle is won or lost quickly on the internets
- Almost immediately on the heels of all the good PR, many started retweeting this Visible Children article that is strongly anti-Invisible Children
- [update – Fast Company has a good summary of the backlash]
- Cru experienced this, this past summer. I think we could learn a thing or two from how Invisible Children responded in less than 24 hours to these unfavorable reports:
- Invisible Children has an entire section of their website dedicated to critiques
It’s obvious that explicitly Christian non-profits can’t replicate everything a secular (though Christian-based) organization like Invisible Children does.
But I wonder:
- Would a group like the Travelling Team (who, much like Invisible Children, travels across the U.S. mobilizing college students) would benefit from putting more resources toward a social media/video strategy?
- Should Cru be investing more money in video/social media?
- Who are the gatekeepers we should be seeking out who can quickly help ideas spread (and how can we help our already-devoted followers win them over)?
- How can we help channel college students’ natural passion for world-changing?
What are your takeaways?