(Screen capture of Leaderboard as of Monday, Jan. 18th at 10:00 am w/ four days to go in the voting process.)
In November, the Chase Community Giving launched a contest on Facebook. At the time, it was one of the biggest online contests thus far, open to more than 500,000 charities and offering over $5 million in prizes. (In December, Pepsi topped that amount with its Pepsi Refresh, a contest offering $20 million in prizes and also launching this week.)
The top 100 "eligible" vote getters were announced in December. Each organization received $25,000 and the announcement caused some controversy because of the contest eligibility rules and lack of a leaderboard.
The second round of the contest opened on January 15th and the pre-contest promotion on January 14th on the contest fan page was met with a chorus of "Vote for Haiti." Chase had, in face, already donated to the relief efforts, although the link to the corporate press release was not posted on the Fan Page all until two days later.
The 100 organizations are now participating in the next round, "The Big Idea" where the 100 charities share their big idea for changing the world and get votes. The winner gets $1 million and five finalists will receive $100,000 each. The top 100 included a mix of nonprofits with an operating budget of under $10 million with programs in designated Chase corporate responsibility areas: education, health care, housing, the environment, combating hunger, arts and culture, human services and animal welfare.
Over the holidays and into early January, the Chase Community Giving contest quietly implemented a leader board, a scoreboard showing who is winning based on the number of votes. In other contests, the leaderboard has been updated in real time. Unlike standard practice for other contests, this leader board is updated twice a day.
Having real-time information is very important to the organizations. It helps them motivate supporters to vote as well as helps organizations make real-time adjustments to their strategy. Real time leaderboards make the contest very transparent. Nonetheless, you can still click through to each group's project page to see the real-time vote tally and I'm sure all 100 organizations are monitoring how others are doing to get out the vote.
The platform initially had some technical problems where the voting pages and leaderboard landing pages did not load quickly or at all. This may be due to heavy voting traffic or whatever, but contest organizations came up with creative workarounds. For example. Friendship Circle, has a web contest landing page that provides instructions on how to vote and a direct link to the Facebook app page.
Some are some quick observations about the strategies the organizations are using as the contest unfolds.
- Explaining the "big idea" succinctly in a few sentences
As Farra Trompeter points out in a post about the contest, it is important to explain the big idea in a few sentences. As I looked up and down the leaderboard, I noticed that Idealist was in the top 15. Their proposal for "changing the world" is something they've been working on and getting feedback on for the past two years. The executive director, Ami Dar, has been a thought leader the nonprofit technology sector for many years. Because I know their work first-hand, they got my vote!
- It's not just the size of the Fan base, but activating them
In watching the scoreboard, the first and second place contenders have been fluid. Invisible Children had a dramatic lead in the last two days, but was over taken by Twloha which as of this writing had a lead of 10,000 votes or approximately 37,000 votes or roughly 10% of its Facebook fans. But this isn't about size of a charity's fan page as you can see by looking at the third place contender, Bridge to Turkiye, with almost 20,000 votes and a fan page base of 4,000.
- Organizing Offline and Online
There is also the importance of offline/online connection that can't be ignored. For example, Friendship Circle, had a rallied at a Piston's Game in Detroit (see above video) and organized 3,000 teens to play freeze tag on Facebook to rally the vote.
The Center for the Pacific Asian Family (CPAF) was around 50th on the leaderboard on Saturday and is now a respective #15 with a small but committed fan base of 600 people on Facebook. The organization made it into the top 100 because passionate and well connected supporter, Teddy Zee, decided to be their champion. He is organized parties to get hundreds of people to vote and connect through chats to get their friends to vote during the voting week. According to Deborah Suh, executive director, "Whether we win the next round (we get $100,000 or $1 million), this has been a great way to raise our social networking presence."
Good luck to all the organizations participating in the contest. Here's where you can go vote!
What strategy advice would you offer to the 100 organizations competing in this contest?