If you haven’t looked at OCHA’s campaign for World Humanitarian Day, you really should. There are a lot of things to like. Where last year OCHA used Thunderclap to spread one message to as many people as possible, this year they tried to have more impact and to also involve the audience more.
For World Humanitarian Day 2013 OCHA is asking their supporters on Twitter to complete the sentence “The World Needs More ____” with something that they feel strongly about. If they choose one of a number of pre-selected words and the hashtag #theWorldNeedsMore, then corporate donors will give 1 USD per tweet to a pool that will be used to fund humanitarian projects.
The “word marketplace” includes words like #shelter, #education and #food but also #smiles #hope, #good and much more. It’s a really nice selection of words and everybody should be able to find something. Of course you can also use your own words, but then there won’t be a donation.
Unfortunately, it is not clear from the website how exactly the money will be dispersed to NGOs and UN agencies, but this campaign is not about the money anyhow. Nevertheless, I think it’s nice to see that OCHA is not falling into the trap to suggest that tweets/likes by themselves can make a tangible difference and instead emphasizes that awareness (the tweeting) needs to lead to offline action (donations) to have an impact.
Making supporters part of the story
However, the main reason I like the campaign is, that it makes the audience think. Instead of just asking their supporters to retweet/share something – which doesn’t involve a lot of thought – supporters are asked to decide how they would like to complete the sentence and that means they engage with the message and the campaign much more. Instead or repeating a pre-fabricated text, supporters are making the message personal which makes it more memorable for themselves and will probably resonate more strongly with their own network.
The way the campaign is designed, i.e. with space to complete, also makes it easier for other humanitarian organizations to take ownership of it. After all, some work in nutrition, while others work in protection and this campaign allows each organization to engage their supporters with the topics that are most important to them.
The campaign will still run for slightly over a month.
The website is http://worldhumanitarianday.org
Update: In the first version of this blog post, the amount of money that would be donated per tweet was not mentioned. Thanks, @OCHA, for clarifying!