Tag Archives: marketing

Eradicating Malaria With the Tony Blair Faith Foundation

Hello web-friends,

I have been appointed to my dream job and I need your help to make it rock.

I have been selected to join the Faiths Act Fellows, a cadre of 30 young interfaith leaders in the US, UK, and Canada who will spend August 2009-June 2010 working to promote malaria eradication. This is a brand-new program which will operate under the auspices of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation (yes, THAT Tony Blair) and the Interfaith Youth Core. It’s all fantastically exciting! I’ll be traveling to London at the end of July (farewell, Denver) for induction and training. Then it’s off to a malaria hotspot in Africa for on-the-ground work. We finish with training in Chicago. I report for duty to the Islamic Networks Group in San Jose, CA on October 1st. My job will be recruiting faith communities, and especially young people of faith, to work towards malaria eradication. Getting rid of this wicked mosquito-borne sickness can be done!

It goes without saying that I will utilize the fluid world of social media in order to reach these goals. I blog, tweet, and share most things, so this will be no different. I will be relying on my network (all of you) to help me spread the word and find kinds of people who can partner with me to get things done.

I’m short on the finer points and details, and for that I apologize. As a first order of business, I need to know ANYTHING about San Jose. My first ever trip to California is this Saturday when I attend the Nonprofit Technology Conference, so any advice/thoughts are welcome.

Post what you will, and send this one far and wide – the more, the merrier!

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Of Advertising and Return

A little while ago, I caught a tweet from @davewiner pointing out that super web-guy and blog-champ @jasoncalacanis was offering Twitter $10000/month to be on the “Suggested Users” list. I retweeted it and offered Mr. Calacanis $5000/month to relentlessly promote him and his work. I wasn’t entirely serious, and I’m convinced that my response was out of line. But that is neither here nor there.

Calacanis responded to @davewiner, clarifying that the offer was payable in advance for two years’ standing on the “Suggested Users” list. Do the math. That’s $250000 for a presence on a list for a service that hasn’t completely figured itself out (this is largely due to the fact that Twitter morphs on an hourly basis!). Calacanis is entirely justified in wanting a spot – Twitter continues to explode, and as more and more people come to it, they’ll likely check the Suggested list for who to follow.

But I’m not so sure that dumping a quarter of a million dollars on the “Suggested Users” list is the best way to promote his stuff. If Mr. Calacanis was serious about attracting not only regular web-users but also the people new to the social web, he could find better ways to spend the money. Why not “blow” the money on anti-malarial bednets; 25000 bednets is a lot of safe families in the developing world. Such a gift would generate immediate mainstream media attention, and the story would certainly get around on Twitter. $250000 would also start a lot of businesses in the developing world (shameless plug there).

I’m not questioning his methods, and I’m certainly not complaining about his advertising budget. But if he wanted to make a big splash, both in terms of regular and web-media, there are many “Suggested Awesome Things” that he could do instead.

FedEx Freebies

FedEx/Kinko’s will provide job seekers with 25 free copies of their resume (albeit for only one day, March 10). It’s a great example of socially-conscious marketing. The round-up is here at Microgiving.

I oftentimes see companies doing things like this. My first reaction is always one of excitement and empathy. I immediately see the company in a better light. My second reaction is always one of suspicion. When my first reaction is not invalidated by the second reaction, as in the case of FedEx, I smile even wider.

Quick Responses and Warm Bodies

I’m helping to organize some malaria awareness events on campus this quarter and the next, and I had the bright idea to find a real anti-malarial anti-mosquito bednet. Not having any idea where I might find such a thing, I contacted my point-person at the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, who promptly beeped someone at Malaria No More.

When I walked into my apartment this evening, there was a strangely-shaped package waiting for me. It was from the kind folks at Malaria No More. It has been exactly 4.5 days since I inquired as to where I might find a bednet. Note: It is Monday right now.

The package contained not only a real-life anti-malarial bednet (to use in demonstrations on campus), but also a full press/marketing package: postcards, toolkits, promotional materials, sample PRs and sign-ups, and a whole lot more. There was even a copy of last year’s annual report.

What a fantastic experience. It’s not like Malaria No More is working overtime to keep me as a “customer;” they lose nothing if I look for bednets elsewhere. They aren’t counting on me to write a lengthy blog post about how nice they are. They saw a need, a resource gap, and they rushed to fill it, not for personal gain, but to inspire and support an activist who wants to make a difference. I now have far greater capacity to plan for our upcoming events, and I know that I can count on these people.


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