Campaigns Provide a Focus and a Fulcrum

Yesterday, I Tweeted that it might be a cool idea for associations to sponsor an annual "How to ____ Week," a week dedicated to sharing tips via blog posts, e-magazines, video clips, and podcasts that respond to common concerns and questions of members.  Members always value receiving insights from their peers and this could be a fun way to aggregate and share a lot of content in a short time period.

Principled Innovation founder Jeff DeCagna Tweeted back asking, "wouldn't it be better to crowdsource this kind of basic support so it can be a continuous flow instead of just one week?"  It's a great question.  I'd say the answer is yes and no.

Yes, because we of course want to be sharing relevant how to information on a continuous basis.

No, because without a focal point such crowdsourced efforts often languish and wither away.  I don't get up most days thinking of what I can contribute to ASAE's Associapedia and I doubt I'm unusual in that regard.  But if ASAE set a goal of getting 1000 new entries during a one-week period, I most certainly might make time to add some of my own.

Just because Breast Cancer Awareness Month is in October doesn't mean people stop caring, but it's a smaller group of people who acting on their concern.  The month rallies the larger community, focus attention in a meaningful way, and hopefully, retain some of the participants' interest in contributing after the month ends.

And even the most dedicated NPR supporters generally don't think about making a contribution outside of a Pledge Drive.  And within those drives daily and hourly goals are set to help entice members of the listener crowd to make their contribution.

The crowd is busy.  Always.  Sure, a percentage of any crowd or community will be deeply committed to a cause or effort on an ongoing basis.  But if we want the attention and the participation of the masses, a short campaign can provide a focal point for their contributions and be a fulcrum for greater results.  And perhaps over time, these episodic campaigns will help institutionalize such broad awareness and action for their cause that they no longer will be necessary.