3 lessons nonprofit PR pros can take from #OneLoveManchester

The scene of Ariana Grande’s latest concert was remarkably different from
the one prior.

Less than two weeks after a terrorist bombing killed 22 people and injured
more than 100 at the end of her show in Manchester, United Kingdom, the
singer and her agent organized a benefit concert that ended up raising more
than $2.5 million in donations during its three hours.

“The sold-out concert — about 55,000 people attended — featured emotional
performances from Ms. Grande, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Coldplay and
more, and has helped raise more than $12 million for the We Love Manchester
Emergency Fund,”

The New York Times

The benefit concert also made waves online, reaching millions who were not
in attendance.

The BBC reported:

The concert was watched by an average of 10.9 million viewers, peaking at
14.5 million as the gig drew to a close — making it the most watched TV
show of the year so far.

It also broke iPlayer records for the most watched non-sporting live event
in the catch-up service’s history.

The BBC said more than 1.07 million viewers requested to watch the gig live
via iPlayer on Sunday evening.

Here are a few things nonprofit communicators can take from the wildly
successful benefit event:

1. Embrace social media and invite others to take part virtually.

Not only did #OneLoveManchester make viewership records, the benefit effort
reached many more through social media.

Others tweeted videos and pictures from the event:

A Twitter account was also created for the event, sharing videos, images and messages. The profile has more than 4,700 followers after the event:

The move to use social platforms isn’t unique to #OneLoveManchester.

The Ice Bucket Challenge
raised $115 million for ALS research in eight weeks and garnered roughly 17 million videos online.

The 2014 viral sensation
changed the way nonprofit PR pros look at fundraising, especially online. Since then, many other communicators have used the
power of social media to dramatically raise visibility for their causes and
increase donations and volunteers.

In 2015,
Ad Council won a Shorty Award
for its “Love Has No Labels” campaign, which involved an X-ray screen of
skeletons kissing and hugging, later revealing those involved to belong to
diverse backgrounds.

Ad Council reported that the effort garnered some impressive results:

10,000 people witnessed the event live. A video of the stunt went
immediately viral (over 40 million views in two days). It recently hit 160
million combined views, becoming the fastest spreading campaign ever, the
2nd most viewed and shared PSA in history after just 3 weeks.

The March of Dimes has also turned to digital efforts to increase its
engagement and cause-related success rates. Nick Morpus wrote the following
Capterra Nonprofit Technology Blog:

They used a
multi-dimensional approach
to content marketing: they began to blog,
share the story on


, create videos on


, and share announcements on


This campaign helps to raise awareness and

contributes to funding their mission


By allowing the people they affected to share their stories online, the
March of Dimes has created a content strategy that aligns with its mission:
ensuring that every single baby gets a good and healthy start in life.

Nonprofit PR pros who embrace the power of social media have much to
gain—both for their organizations and for their causes.

2. Use the power of many.

#OneLoveManchester was a success, in large part, because of the number of
people involved. As artists and fans came together, the repeated message
was one of love and strength, under a banner of unity.

Rolling Stone

… [B]ecause it was Grande’s event — she performed her big hits and also
shared the stage with Cyrus, the Black Eyed Peas and many others — and
because she was so deeply affected by what happened at her concert, she
offered the most touching speech of the night. “I want to thank you so much
for coming together and being so loving and strong and unified,” she said
after singing Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and its “We know they
won’t win” chorus with Cyrus. “I love you guys so much, and I think that
all the love and unity you’re displaying is the medicine the world needs
right now.”

“Unity” was the message that resonated at #OneLoveManchester, but it’s a
theme that nonprofit communicators can build upon for their individual
causes and efforts. Your call should be simple and forward, and your goal
should be to get others involved to stand with you and your organization.

Last year,
Disney partnered with the Make-a-Wish Foundation
for a fundraising promotion that ended with Disney doubling its donation.

Charlie Marchant wrote on Social Media Today:

For every photo uploaded to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the #ShareYourEars
hashtag, Disney donated $5 to the charity. They originally capped the
social media fundraiser at $1 million but doubled their pledge and donated
$2 million. The campaign itself isn’t exactly mind-blowing, but the charity
donation sure is.

The most interesting part of this campaign? It worked because it asked
consumers to do something that they were going to do already: upload
pictures of their kids to social media sites.

The move to involve others will become paramount to the success of causes
and nonprofit institutions.

Nonprofit leader Gloria Horsley predicts that this year, influential social
media users will become even more important to nonprofit PR pros.

She wrote in Forbes

Influencer marketing will also take on a larger role, as we can rally
advocates of our nonprofit organization to endorse what we are doing with
their social circles. The result is that the trust that these circles place
in these influencers can move them to act and become donors and volunteers
themselves. Next year will be about identifying those influencers and then
building up relationships with them to create awareness.

If you’re wondering how to grab more attention for your cause, get others
involved. Start with people who are passionate about the issue or your
organization and build from there.

3. A community nod isn’t enough to erase bad behavior.

Uber jumped on #OneLoveManchester and tweeted the following on Sunday:

The action, though admirable, wasn’t enough to save the organization
from a backlash after it was slow to turn off its surge pricing following the terrorist attack in London, nor was it enough to erase its history of reputational missteps.

PR pros would do well to remember that one good action isn’t enough,
especially if that nod to a cause doesn’t fit your brand’s voice, image or
message. Instead, consistent efforts and working within the community with
initiatives that align with your organization is the way to go.

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