I have been trying to avoid writing about the Obama campaign on this blog, despite all of its clearly Gen Ye themes, bc well, it's political and I'm fundraising, and I did vent about DM from political campaigns, but with "Obamapalooza" as one blog calls it getting stronger, well it would well I just can't avoid it anymore.
Whether you are an Obama supporter or not, we all have to admit that his campaign really "gets it" on how to get to and mobilize Gen Yers. I found a really great description of his campaign's 'getting it' on MediaPost's Online Spin Blog. Here is just a snipet of what post author Seana Mulcahy had to say:
"So what's the appeal? His message speaks their (Gen Y) language — a bit edgy and sometimes a quip. It's in the right places like YouTube, MySpace and Facebook to name a few. He's also got a seemingly endless group of young people as brand ambassadors seen city by city, town by town — and in my neighborhood, ringing the doorbell.
Whether they know it or not Obama is a high-end brand to this target audience."
(the Obama "brand" logo).
An article in Ad Age goes into much more depth about "What the Obama Campaign Can Teach You About Millinnial Marketing,"and also importantly about why what Obama is doing works so well with Gen Yers when it doesn't work so well for other generations.
While most of us in the nonprofit world are still struggling to grapple the 360 relationship with our donors-figuring out every donor impact across our organizations, be it volunteering, donating, walking, etc, and how we can fit all that info into 1 database that can give us that 360 view of our donors, Mr. Obama's campaign, according to Ad Age, has lept all the way from intergrated CRM (customer relationship management) to the way advanceCMR (customer-managed relationships)-Miriam learned a new term-and that is where most Gen Yers are-on sites that let them manage their relationship with whatever it is they are doing-talking to their friends, posting videos, engaging with a brand, or oh say, lending cash to a good cause (Kiva is the closest example of a CMR-based NGO I can think of).
No wonder he's managed to generate millions on donations (non tax deductible I might note) to his campaign that many fundraisers claim are just impossible to get out of Gen Yers.
What Obama realized, and what I think many in the nonprofit community don't yet, is Gen Yers deep belief in volunteering-of giving their time when they may not have money to give. His army of young volunteers spread across the land "preaching" his word to older donors who could give. His campaign found a way to make younger donors feel valuable even if their monetary value to the campaign was not as large on paper as that of potential other generations. But it's all added up nicely for Mr. Obama and his campaign coffers.
But the reason I really decided to post about this is an article my boyfriend forwarded me yesterday:
"In a move likely to appeal to younger, tech-savvy voters, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has unveiled plans to formally announce his running mate by sending text messages and emails to those who sign up on his web site. The campaign's text messaging service is run by DC-based Distributive Networks.
"Barack is about to choose a running mate, and he wants you to know first," says the newly launched site, available at the link below. "Sign up today and we'll send you an email announcing Barack's running mate." The validity of the site, which went live on Sunday, has been confirmed by Obama's campaign. An announcement is expected before the Democratic National Convention, which begins Aug. 25."
Ok, so let's see, he is getting people to give him their email and their phone #, driving them to his site, all with the promise of giving them an "in" on info not yet available to everyone else, making his younger donors feel super special. Wow. Like I said, you don't have to be in awe of the candidate's politics, to be in awe of his tactics.