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    July 26, 2009

    Twitter Fundraising: Operation Smile's 140 Smiles Campaign

    For a while, most questions one would hear about Twitter would be "what is it?" Most webinars I've sat in about Twitter fundraising have included basics of the Twitter world, like how to post, reTweet, and, in some cases, redirect people to your fundraising page.
    Recently, I came across (thru Twitter of course) a case of an organization that has moved far beyond these basic steps to develop a fully integrated, Twitter-based fundraising campaign from Operation Smile (@operationsmile on Twitter for those of you with Twitter accounts).

    To see the full campaign in action, visit What I find so interesting about this campaign is it is fully targeted to taking advantage of this social media tool in order to raise money. Most of us, at this point, are using Twitter to tell folks about what we are doing, post interesting stories and accomplishments, maybe ask them to our website to give thru that channel.

    But 140smiles, is an entire microsite dedicated specifically to a Twitter-based fundraising goal--140 smiles raised from Tweeple. This is a very hefty goal: at approximately $240 for one cleft operation, the campaign is trying to raise nearly $34K, a whopping number for a Twitter-based, non celebrity sponsored endeavor.

    I have been watching this campaign for a few weeks now, and, at approximately 48 smiles, the power of Twitter is being tested. BUT, props to the folks at Operation Smile who made this bold move. And props to them for creating a campaign that is clearly targeted to the social-media engaged donor:

    1) The microsite is specifically for Twitter traffic. It references Twitter, it has a live Twitter feed, AND a "community" accessed thru one's Twitter handle.

    2) It has integrated tools making it easy to Retweet any action one has taken: whether donating, asking other people to take notice, or even urging other people to help reach the 140 smiles goal.
    3)Prizes: yes, there are prizes and sponsors. What better way to help spread the word thru a viral community than to offer something in return for visiting?

    4) Someone from Operation Smile who is actively Twittering about this and constantly encouraging others to keep promoting the fundraiser. (People have even started CauseCast pages dedicated to this).

    The campaign is utilizing common social media best-practices: making it easy for people to participate, asking people to tap into their networks to help promote the cause, reinforcement and acknowledgement, and, finally, feedback loop. But it is so exciting to see this applied to Twitter.

    Operation Smile may be one of the first to so fully integrate it's social media practice into it's fundraising, but, from this blogger's perspective, hopefully not the last. Even at 48 Smiles, that's over $11,500 raised toward its mission.

    1 comment:

    Renee Alexander Hamilton said...

    Thanks so much for your wonderful blog post! We (Operation Smile) worked with a great team including Common Knowledge, Modern Media and our in-house web and marketing folks to create this campaign.
    We will be working towards our goal of 140 Smiles as part of The San Francisco Twestival in September so look for more fun stuff to come!

    Renee Hamilton
    Operation Smile Social Media Strategist