The online news site Mashable recently ran an interesting article about three small charity campaigns that used social-media networks to heighten their profiles exponentially and thus raised awareness and funds far beyond anyone’s expectations. One of those causes, Darius Goes West, is especially near and dear to us at InkHead Promotional Products.
In 2005 Darius Weems, a teenager from Athens, GA suffering from Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), and 11 of his friends decided to embark on a cross-country trip to Los Angeles in a quixotic attempt to get MTV’s Pimp My Ride to trick out Darius’ wheelchair. The proposed wheelchair-tricking never happened, but video of that event-filled 25-day trip was edited into an award-winning documentary called Darius Goes West. The filmmakers decided to distribute the film themselves so that all proceeds could go to DMD research and used YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to do it. Since the film’s release, they’ve raised $2 million and begun a campaign that continues to grow every day.
The success of the Darius Goes West project is a prime example of the kind of results a grassroots movement can achieve even with relatively little financing or corporate backing. The secret is getting seen and being heard. Social networks have provided an excellent platform for spreading the word, the grapevine gone global. A second, parallel track that any cause should follow is what we do here at InkHead, using durable and high-visibility promotional items to give your cause as much day-to-day exposure as possible.
We make a lot of noise here about the number of business clients, large and small, for whom we provide promotional items, but we also serve a large number of nonprofit groups who use our products to promote their causes. The reason is simple: whether it’s for a brand, a team, a church, or a cause, success depends on raising awareness through aggressive marketing. Therefore it behooves any organization to adopt a promotional strategy which incorporates promotional products, which have proven to be vastly more effective and memorable than print, TV, or online advertising.
We also strongly advise businesses to consider partnering with nonprofit organizations and charitable causes, which is not just good for the soul, it’s good for the bottom line. According to Adweek, a recent survey showed that 88% of respondents expect companies to ally themselves with causes, with 61% replying that a link with an appealing cause would make them willing to try new and unfamiliar brands.
We maintain several pages on our website devoted specifically to Products for Awareness Campaigns and Outreach Groups and we regularly take inquiries about partnering with nonprofit groups on our Donation Inquiry page. Take a look and see how the power of promotional products can be put to work for the greater good.