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Thinking Differently – Taking a Bite from the Apple

Apple is definitely a company that has always been known for thinking differently. Even before they first came up with the brand slogan, Think Different, fifteen years ago. It is because of this ability to think outside the box that many believe has contributed to so much of their success.

In the non profit world we don’t think different often enough. It’s too risky for our fundraising plans. Or too precarious for our conservative Boards. However, I think it needs to change. Even if just a little; every now and then in order to get our causes noticed. Here are  three examples of something done differently by a non profit to help them get that little bit of extra attention.

Flash mob teapots

When the Cancer Council Queensland were planning to launch the 2011 Biggest Morning Tea they knew they would need something a little out of the box to get people’s attention. So they decided to stir up a charity storm with their first flash mob in Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall.

For those who don’t know, a flash mob is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a prearranged place to perform an unusual act (often a dance) for a brief time, then disperse back into the crowds again.

Check out what the Cancer Council did in the Brisbane CBD here:

Big red noses

As Australia’s biggest national fundraising activity and celebrating its 25th year this year, there wouldn’t many Australians that didn’t know about Red Nose Day.

My dog, Spud, with his new look

This year the team at Sids and Kids have come up with a fun and interactive way of spreading the message. They have developed an app called Red Nose Me. Once supporters download the free app they can take a photo of themselves or a friend and add a red nose (and possibly other facial items like a moustache or glasses). They then are invited to share their nose on the Red Nose Me website and make a donation to the cause if they want to. Of course, there are opportunities to also share the funny snaps  on social media.

And to top it off, they have arranged with one of their corporate partners to donate $1 for per nose for every photo uploaded to the site. When I last checked there were over 16,000 red noses in the photo gallery, including this one, from a furry little friend of mine.

Homeless youth in your pocket

And possibly one of the most creative ideas for raising awareness of a cause was undertaken by Depaul UK.  As Britain’s biggest charity devoted to youth homelessness they developed (with the probono help of Publicis London) an app to get a young audience engaged in the issue.

Screen grab from the iHobo app

iHobo puts a virtual homeless person that needs to be taken care of in your iPhone for three days. Users have to  keep him alive by ensuring he gets food and stay off drugs. Screen stats show his wellbeing, body temperature and daily calorie intake.

Having been dubbed a ‘Tamagotchi with a social conscience’, iHobo definitely had cut through to its intended audience while raising a bit of money along the way. (At the end of the three days, users were asked if they would like to make a small donation via sms.)

So the next time your putting together a campaign or fundraising event think about Apple. Think about the dancing tea pots. Think about my dog with his funny red nose. And then work out a way you can do something differently to help get your charity in the spotlight.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.


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