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HopeforHaitiNow.org : A study in simplicity January 23, 2010

Filed under: Ideas,Learnings,Life in General — Carla Bobka @ 5:14 pm
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Last night’s fundraising concert was a remarkable event. At several points I was moved to tears, while my kids sat in stillness trying to take in the enormity of the events in the small country. They asked many questions about the children they saw on the screen. Their vivid imaginations make it all to easy for them to imagine the fear the children of Haiti must have. Of course we donated, and enjoyed the performances. But the real impressions we are left with this morning are the images of suffering.

This morning I’ve been thinking about the execution of the fundraiser itself; it is a model of focus. From what I can see, here is how it breaks down. The goal is enormous, much more ambitious than ANY corporate goal I’ve been exposed to. George Clooney and the execution team, faced with the enormity of the goal opted for simplicity.

Goal: Be a collection point for funds to feed a nation and eventually rebuild a nation.

Objective: Build a sense of connection to the people of Haiti with the rest of the world which would in turn stimulate action.

Target Audience: Anyone with compassion in their heart.

Method: Use big stars to draw an audience, make it easy to execute on a donation, now matter where you live, language you speak or level of trust you have in Internet technology.

How to reach the target audience: Music, images, stories

Delivery avenues: Different strokes for different folks.  Organizers didn’t demand viewers fit into their box, they made the event available on every box, the ones plugged into the wall, and those small enough to fit in your pocket.

  • TV, every station that wanted to participate;
  • Mobile-stream to smart phones;
  • Internet-YouTube and the .org site itself
  • iTunes-all performances

Timing: some people had plans for Friday night that didn’t allow them to watch in the moment. The organizers didn’t want to exclude them, so they made the performances available to digest on demand, when each person had the time and inclination.

  • Live-via TV or Internet
  • Later-iTunes, YouTube

Access to take Action: George and his team make it easy for anyone to donate, in any amount they could afford, in any currency.

  • Call in, donate via PayPal or credit card; dial in from anywhere in the world
  • Online, donate via credit card
  • Text-have it show up as part of another bill you pay by check, in person, on line
  • Even Western Union

Build sense of connection between viewers: Show anyone who wants how the world is responding, via the Twitter map on the HopeforHaitinow.org site.

The other element I noticed was the big stars were there to draw a crowd, but they were NOT the focus of the evening. Their names don’t appear on the website, the performers were not introduced, in fact their names were not mentioned. And no audience applauded them. Following each performance the viewer was alone with their thoughts.

Likewise the website was uncluttered: Donation button right at the top, simple fields to complete, easy to see phone numbers if you preferred to call in, links to the organizations who will receive the funds.

Yes, the event was well executed. It was so simple, and I hope effective.

If you haven’t been able to make a donation please continue to consider it. Stevie Wonder had one of the best comments to a caller last night as he worked the phone bank. The caller couldn’t donate much, and she still got to speak to a music legend. Stevie applauded her donation saying, “A whole lot of littles, add up to a lot of lots.”

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3 Responses to “HopeforHaitiNow.org : A study in simplicity”

  1. SEB Says:

    You should cross-post to the EMBA blog on the simplicity of design to a complex problem.

    A small iThink model with currency inputs dialing up and down could show inbound cash flow. ;-]

  2. Carla Bobka Says:

    Great suggestion, Stephen!

  3. Brad Cullen Says:

    There is so much information here! I’m trying to remember all of it so I can put it to work.


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