Impromptu survey of YOU: What would you rather do right now? A) Watch a depressing video B) Clean your bathrooms C) Read [another] 5- paragraph email appeal from a cause D) Be pleasantly surprised by something that makes you happy, possibly even giggle, AND empowers you to do good and share joy. <sarcasm> Tough one, right? </sarcasm> Today I’ll share videos, apps, a campaign, and more to inspire you to consider dialing up the fun-factor in your cause marketing communications and partnership activations. But first, let’s watch a very short cute-animal video to get you in the mood to “give it all you got” when it comes to fun.
Let’s face it. Basically everyone you meet is stressed out, under pressure…and craving fun. As non-profit professionals you have serious, heart-wrenching problems to solve in this world. It’s true. And, as cause marketers you are looking for great ways to work with your partners to engage large audiences to support your mission in a meaningful and shareable way. So…what if you made it FUN for those large audiences to learn about and support your very serious, important cause?
What could that look like in real life?
FOR STARTERS, HERE ARE A FEW EXAMPLES OF ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE MAKING FUN A PRIORITY IN THEIR SOCIAL IMPACT STRATEGIES
Let’s kick off the fun with a little eye-candy. The hilarious Your Man Reminder App by Rethink Breast Cancer makes it, um, very appealing to learn how to reduce breast cancer risk. Speaking as a representative of the target audience: THIS WAS EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE. MORE PLEASE! 😉
The Rainforest Alliance’s “Follow The Frog” video is brilliant. It received the 2013 Do Gooder Video Award, so clearly I’m not the only one who thinks so. It is fun to watch, fun to share, and it clearly drives home the impact-action steps. This is a great example of being memorable by being entertaining as opposed to using the “fear of impending doom”-angle we are quite used to from sustainability communications. Refreshing I think.
This recent study came to similar conclusions about the potential of fun for good: “Can We Play Our Way To A More Sustainable Future? – Research Findings from the Eco Action Games Events”
This Pathfinders International video “No Joke. Choice Matters.”, which I found on Kivi Leroux Miller’s blog, uses a fun skit-like approach to cleverly showcase important access-to-care issues and motivate action. Well done. I loved the mocking doctor.
Taking it to another level, HopeLab combines fun and science to create proven results for children with cancer. As a scientist and game enthusiast, Pam Omidyar began to wonder if giving young cancer patients a chance to blast their cancer in a video game might actually improve their health. In 2001, she founded HopeLab to develop and test this concept. Turns out she was right. Based on HopeLab’s first product, Re-Mission, the largest randomized, controlled study of a video game intervention ever conducted demonstrated that specially designed technology can be both fun and effective in driving positive health behavior (published in the medical journal Pediatrics). HopeLab’s latest offering, Re-Mission 2 is a collection of online games that help young people with cancer fight their disease. Both scientific studies and qualitative user research conducted on the original Re-Mission informed the design of each Re-Mission 2 game. Each game puts players inside the human body to defeat cancer, using weapons like chemotherapy, antibiotics and the body’s natural defenses. The games are designed to motivate players to stick to their treatments by boosting self-efficacy and positive emotions and by shifting attitudes about chemotherapy.
DoSomething.org and H&R Block Dollars & Sense were honored with a 2014 GOLD Halo Award from the Cause Marketing Forum for Best Social Media Campaign: Craziest Thing I Did to Save Money. The organizations worked together to create a cause marketing partnership through three hilarious, yet informative initiatives using an interactive Facebook experience, SMS-text message game, and a series of three workshops. These three channels strategically ensured that all young people had access to financial education wherever they were. One of the fun elements was a video series with top sketch comedians with tips to save money.
Hopefully by now you are getting the gist that FUN is a serious opportunity when it comes to social impact. I’ll leave you with some powerful words from Randy Pausch from his famous Last Lecture:
“Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.”
At this time I will temporarily step off my soap box of FUN and suggest you step on your own. As for those of you that like to ease into new concepts, perhaps you will enjoy starting with a few of these simple moves to limber up: The Downward-Facing Budget and other nonprofit yoga poses. Namaste.