Meir Panim, an organization that runs a network of soup kitchens in Israel, recently ran a promotional campaign called SMS for Lunch, which garnered great attention at the 2007 Cannes Lions international advertising festival. It's a participatory campaign that allows individuals to experience the good-feeling reward of charitable giving as instant gratification. As described at the social advertising site, Houtlust:
The idea was to set up a 'meeting' with one child, and provide an immediate feedback to the action (your donation). A unique platform, integrating web and mobile technologies, enabled such meeting: A boy is seen, facing an empty plate, looking like waiting for something to happen. The copy invites you to donate, through SMS. The moment the system receives your SMS - the banner changes immediately: the plate fills and the boy smiles. Each sms covers the cost of one meal.
One of the great challenges in the world of philanthropy and charitable giving today is the donors' uncertainty about the ultimate recipient and result of their donation. SMS for Lunch addresses this challenge by successfully integrating mobile and Web technologies into the giving process. In addition to the quick return of this kind of digital campaign, Meir Panim also engages armies of volunteers on the ground to run their soup kitchens (out of which they serve 11,000 meals per day), and much like the langar we featured earlier this year, those volunteers also have the opportunity -- in a hands-on, personal circumstance -- to see immediate results from the time and energy they give. You can see a short video about the campaign here.
"One of the great challenges in the world of philanthropy and charitable giving today is the donors' uncertainty about the ultimate recipient and result of their donation. SMS for Lunch addresses this challenge by successfully integrating mobile and Web technologies into the giving process."
Uh?! How does this dismisses the "the donors' uncertainty about the ultimate recipient and result of their donation." ?!? One must be really naive to go for such a crude thing. Charity organizations should be certified and audited to re-ensure donors, this is pure marketing! (The audition and certification should be free and done by respectable institutions. How much money isn't given and ends up on the wrong hands?)
This creeps me way, way out.
I think that marketing is half the problem though. I know that many people I talk to bag charities like Oxfam or the Red Cross because they don't feel the money gets where it's needed, but having nothing to do with any facts. So while I agree the best way to make people feel more comfortable giving is by transparency and accountability with audits and certification, there is a marketing problem that has to be overcome as well. Also, interaction is good, I'm guessing people are more likely to give if there is some sort of response back - a direct, immediate one like this is pretty clever.
maybe I was a bit harsh in the first post but if someone is suspicious about something it doesn't speaks much of it's intelligence to be re-assured by this (in my perspective). in a world where at any moment you have people asking you for money you tend to shut down. in that way, yes, it is a marketing problem: how to get people to connect to the human side of what you're asking from them. which leads to the other side: if people connect and get involved, if they feel betrayed (if the thing they have contributing don't quite work the way they are supposed too) how to solve for that? So, the add is a great way to make people connect to the "cause" but I don't think it works in the doubt dismissal perspective.