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How to: 6 Steps to Leveraging Pop Culture for Social Good

Andrei Najjar | GOOD Magazine


Step 1. Have a vision plan.

Like any business venture, effective social movements require proper planning. What’s already out there in the marketplace for your cause? Who is your target audience? What are you trying to communicate and how do you want to reach them? How will your brand/image be conveyed? These questions will make the process much more effective and will enable you to have more control of the overall process.

Step 2. Carefully select your ambassadors.

Which thought leaders will be the face of your campaign? Influential people are always looking to give back and can now endorse an idea or initiative as easily as sending a tweet. Key thought leaders include celebrities, executives, politicians, and social media mavens. Choose them based on passion and fit with your social cause. Ask them to help host an event or communicate on your behalf via social or traditional media.

Step 3. Sell your passion.

If something gives you goosebumps, it will likely give others goosebumps as well. Communicate very clearly why this cause is important to you and the world. Get creative. In the era of new media, there are many tools at your disposal to convey your message to as many eyes and ears as possible. Use viral video, digital images, location-based apps, and blogs (to name a few). Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in.

Step 4. Use social media to raise funds and ideas.

Crowdsourcing initiatives like Kickstarter, Refresh Everything, and SMS text-based campaigns have turned philanthropic fundraising into a democratic and group-based effort. People like to use their voices to get involved in causes that they feel passionately about– make it easy for them to give back and you immediately have a group of passionate ambassadors. You will also get tons of useful ideas from people from all over the world.

Step 5. Be transparent.

If your cause has a commercial component (merchandising, etc.), be clear about exactly where funds go. For example, Cart for A Cause is one-for-three: For every $10 meal sold, Meals on Wheels will provide a homebound senior citizen a full day’s worth of warm, customized meals. Tom’s shoes is one-for-one: Every pair of shoes sold gives a pair of shoes to a child in need of protective footwear in developing countries. People like to see how their actions will directly help someone.

Step 6. Enlist the media.

Reporters are always looking for interesting charitable news angles. If you believe that your movement is media-ready, write a letter requesting coverage to editors. News stories and articles can dramatically increase awareness of your cause.

Andrei Najjar is a Professor of Marketing at Otis and founder of Atelier Collective. His most recent effort Cart for A Cause benefits the Meals on Wheels organization.

About the Author:
GOOD is the integrated media platform for people who want to live well and do good. We are a company and community for the people, businesses, and NGOs moving the world forward. GOOD’s mission is to provide content, experiences, and utilities to serve this community.

GOOD currently produces a website, videos, live events, and a print magazine. Launched in September 2006, the company has garnered praise for its unique editorial perspective and fresh visual aesthetic and is quickly positioning itself as a significant new voice in our culture.

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