Be A Voice for Darfur is an excellent example of multi-channel campaign designed to bring attention to the appalling genocide in Darfur. Geoff Livingston and Qui Diaz are behind this brilliant multi-channel campaign that is using social media for social good.
But before I examine the tactical aspects, let's look at the compelling reason why this is so important. Here's the call to action from the web site.
The Save Darfur Coalition’s "Be A Voice For Darfur" postcard campaign (https://addyourvoice.org) seeks to ensure that Darfur is a top priority for President-elect Obama, who has already promised “unstinting resolve” to end the Darfur Genocide. We aim for no less than 1 million postcards to be emailed and snail-mailed to President-elect) Obama within his first 100 days in office. With your help, we can draw desperately-needed political attention to the ongoing genocide in Darfur.
"The time to for action is now, and in a year when many of us are suffering financial hardship, we can still make a difference. Signing the petition, tweeting or writing blog posts are great ways to help without expending a lot of cash."
Let's look at the different ways this campaign is getting the message out:
There is an effective email pitch linked to a web site petition that once you "sign" asks you refer your friends via email. Here's the call to action from the email messaging:
Can we ask you to add your voice? It takes only moments – please sign the pledge at https://www.addyourvoice.org/. Most importantly, you can influence others to stand up and be a voice for Darfur. Simply spread the word through your personal networks.
There is also a bloggers kit and blogger outreach effort underway. (That's how it came to my attention). The bloggers kit gives you links and content that make it easier to write a post - so much easier than someone sending you a two page press release in a word document attached to an email which gets lots in your way too full email box ...
The bloggers kit also provides links to key bloggers on the topic:
- Chasing The Flame
- Darfur Voices
- GI-NET’s Blog
- Humanitarian Relief
- Just Africa
- Save Darfur Coalition
- STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition
- Stop Genocide
- Team Darfur
- The Seminal
- WorldBridge, A Refugees International Blog
The initiative also has a group blog- it's the homebase where the campaign is aggregating campaign coverage in the main stream press and on blogs.
Facebook And Twitter Components
The Twitter strategy includes using a hashtag #voice4darfur which we'll see more of on December 9th when the UN celebrates the 60th Anniversary of the Genocide Convention.
There is also a Facebook component that includes a Cause and application. The Cause has raised over $75,000 from its over 1,000,000 members. The campaign is also taking advantage of the new petition feature launched recently by Causes. The petition feature offers a landing page in Facebook where you "sign" a petition and invite your friends to sign the petition. The petition can also be linked from the main causes page and more than one cause can feature your petition. For example, for the Save Darfur Petition, there are over a dozen other Darfur and Human Rights Causes featuring the petition.
Causes has incorporated two more viral features. Once you sign the petition, you can "donate" your status line to the cause and have the application automatically write your status line. In addition, it puts a story in your needs feed. By doing this, word that I have signed this petition can be transmitted to my friends in a way that isn't adding to their in box messages.
But the tools are just a means to an end. So go sign the petition, send a post card, blog about it, twitter about it, or invite your friends on Facebook to Cause.
Kami Huyse wrote a post about the campaign on her blog, but more importantly she shared what she wrote on her postcard.
With the monumental problems facing the United States at home and abroad, it would be tempting to put the conflict in Darfur on the back burner and just maintain the status quo of "managing" the crisis. However, innocent civilians are suffering in conditions that most of us would not wish on our worst enemies. We are at risk of losing an entire generation to despair and violence. We also risk that some of these will turn to extreme measures out of this despair and that the conflict will spread to impact our own interests. Please consider making this a centerpiece of your new administration and using it to show the world that America still stands for what is decent and good. The site is also a great place to get ideas about how to advance other worthy causes that you might be passionate about, and it certainly is a good example of how to stimulate a grassroots movement, a skill that communication professionals should have in today's world.
As colleague Qui Diaz says: