February 9, 2011

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.

4 comments:

Scott Briscoe said...

Thanks for the idea Jeffrey. I like shooting big, but 1,000 would triple the size of it. I might start out at an Associapedia week seeking 100 new entries -- maybe early this summer. And, oh yes, I'll be knocking on your email door!

As for your message writ large -- it's interesting you use NPR as an example. I think it's a good example showing that the approach is successful, and it's a good example of how limiting it is. No one likes the pledge drive. I sure wish they didn't have to do it, and I'm sure they feel the same way. The person who comes up with the alternative will have something special.

Jeffrey Cufaude said...

Scott: Great point about the pledge drives. I think it annoys some (including me) because it interrupts our routine without our being able to do anything about it.

I think other campaigns are more opt-in and thus less intrusive or bothersome, but we still have to make sure they are seen as a welcome diversion.

Syed said...

Jeffery,

How do you suggest on mobilizing the crowd then ? Like an email blast or something.?
Regards,

Syd Irfan

Lead Consultant

Association Manager™
http://www.associationmanagement-software.com/

Jeffrey Cufaude said...

Syd:

I think a campaign requires a multi-faceted outreach approach of which an email blast might be a component. Think about how a successful fundraising campaign operates: it includes a mix of invitations to contribute via all media (mail, email, text, etc) couple with in-person calls for action and individual solicitations.

Ultimately if we want to mobilize a crowd we have to think about (1) what is it that members of this crowd care about, (2) what messages can I send to connect that caring to opportunities with our campaign, and (3) in what forums will these messages best get the attention of those in the crowd.