Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The ‘Kizzy Effect’: When Your Online Cause Campaign Gets Stuck in the Mud

November 06, 2012

Growing up my family had a dog named “Kizzy.” With her droopy eyes and hush-puppy long ears, she may have been the cutest basset hound I had ever seen. She may have also been the fattest hound I had ever seen.

Sidebar: We adopted “Kizzy” from the pound – so no judgment on the name choice. What can we say? It just stuck.

One summer day, I decided it was time for Kizzy to go on her first and much-needed walk. With her belly dragging on the floor, we set off for a trail around a nearby lake. Kizzy was not a fan. After about 10 minutes of walking, she got so heated in the hot sun and fed up with the new adventure that she walked right into the bank of the lake, sat down and began to bark.

I tried and tried to pull her out, but she was stuck. Kizzy’s weight was no match for the strength of an 8-year-old. What was I to do? I needed a fresh idea.

Do you ever feel like your digital cause campaign is dragging, or even stuck in the mud? No matter how much noise you make online or off, you are just over-worked, over-heated and not moving forward?

Yep, I figured. It’s what I call the “Kizzy Effect."

No need to get bogged down. It happens to all of us. Below we offer you five ways to get your dragging digital campaign back to exercising its social good-ness in no time:

Stop barking and start listening - If you think your social media campaign is going nowhere, take a moment to stop and listen. There is no need to keep churning and tweeting out content if it feels like it’s not going anywhere. Begin to follow other social good Tweeters or advocate bloggers to see what's working and what's new. To get you started, check out these social media for social good All-Stars.

Share a bone - Let's face it, the nonprofit world is a crowded space. There are more and more charities chasing after less and less funding. But in the digital world, remember that there is no zero-sum game. Cross-posting and online partnerships can not only freshen up your cause content, but can expose your issues to more and varied audiences. Consider partnering up with organizations and personalities with similar interests to maximize impact.

Call ‘em in before asking for a helping paw – If part of your social good campaign involves fundraising, don’t just think you that “if you Tweet, you shall receive.” Similar to offline fundraising, donors need to be cultivated, cared for, and sold into the idea of your cause. Also, remember that supporters are more likely to advocate than donate. Oftentimes, start with a simple advocacy request before asking them to dip into their wallets.

Learn new tricks – In order to breathe new life into your campaign, consider exploring new social media platforms beyond your usual routine. Film a brief video instead of typing up a post. Design an infographic rather than just tweeting out some basic stats. Organize a Google hangout or Twitter chat versus blasting out a group email. New energy and new tricks can go a long way. For some great tactical ideas, also consider checking out Heather Mansfield’s Social Media for Social Good or Beth Kanter and Allison Fine’s The Networked Nonprofit.

Get a check-up - Ask friends, family and followers for candid feedback. Find out what they think you can do to improve or build upon your blog or social media content. Invest some time and resources to revamp your page. And finally, create metrics for tracking progress and set goals that are realistic, but worth achieving.

What do you think? Are there any other strategies that have helped you avoid “The Kizzy Effect” and get your social media campaign up and running again?

Oh, and if you were wondering whatever happened to Kizzy in the mud … Well, I hiked up my sneakers, ran home to fetch my Fisher-Price wagon, and rolled the exhausted (read: lazy) dog all the way back to her favorite spot on the rug.

Let’s just say that was the first (and last) time we went for a walk around the lake.

 
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