Birthdays and Charity: A Social Media Case Study

Recently one of our own, Paull Young, turned his birthday into a social media experiment to raise money for charity:water a group working to provide clean water in Ethiopia.

The purpose of this experiment was not only to raise money for a good cause, but also to gauge the amount of leverage Paull could exert over his social network.

Why is this experiment important?

One of our biggest challenge in social media consulting and marketing is connecting conversation and relationships to action and ROI. The more we work to understand what types of relationships have the most potential for action, the better we can prove our impact.

Paull’s Method:

Tracking: By using Paull was able to track the number and sources of clicks to his charity page.
Communication: Paull used his Facebook status to make his friends aware of charity efforts when they came to his profile page to wish him happy birthday. Secondly, he used Twitter, on his birthday and the days following his birthday, to talk about the charity, his efforts and to spur greater action.

What were Paull’s Results?

Paull raised $1,240 for clean water in Ethiopia in the month of September. By looking at the statistics provided by Paull was able to track how many people clicked on his link and where each of them came from.
Paull got:

  • 101 clicks from Twitter
  • 39 clicks from Facebook30 clicks from his blog

He received:

  • $530 from his blog
  • $325 from his personal contacts (i.e. people not on Twitter or Facebook)
  • $302 from his Twitter friends
  • $10 from a friend on Facebook (curiously, he met this person on Twitter)

If you do the math you can calculate the dollar amount Paull received per click:

  • On his blog each click was worth $17.66
  • On Twitter each click was worth (almost) $3
  • On Facebook each click represented $0.25

Paull’s Takeaways

The greatest action comes from the people that you have the best relationships with.  These are people that you have relationships with in the real word, co-workers and close friends.

Although Facebook has a much great potential for visibility it has weaker relationships: 77 people left Paull a Facebook wall comments saying happy birthday, 39 of them clicked through to his charity page and only 1 donated.

Twitter allowed for a more active visibility.  On Facebook he could only change his status. Twitter allowed him to create a constant reminder updating his tweets nearly 20 times to remind people of the opportunity.

A bigger network = bigger results – Pete Cashmore of Mashable joined Paull in his charity efforts and was able to raise more than three times Paull’s amount.

For a more in depth look at Paull’s case study check out his blog posts. Importantly, you can support his efforts until the end of this month by visiting his page and making a donation.

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