Friday, July 16, 2010

Please send a “ Hire @AmyStark ” tweet to @SafeSitter

Safe Sitter® is a 501(c)3 headquartered in Indianapolis that “prepares young adolescents for the profound responsibilities of nurturing and protecting children” They have “almost 900 teaching sites from coast to coast and in England. Each year almost 35,000 young adolescents take the course.” This worthy organization is in the process of hiring a development person. In its 30 year history Safe Sitter has not used traditional fundraising techniques for their operating budget, they have relied on sales from the training courses and grants.

I was recommended for this position by Marilyn Burger, a well-respected fundraising professional in central Indiana who is friends with the Executive Director, Sally Herrholz। After meeting with Sally I learned this is a new position that has yet to be fully defined and that I was among the five possible candidates। I asked her, “Compared to the other four, what is my greatest weakness?” She said, “You have no traditional fundraising in your background”

What I DO have is 20 years in Marketing/PR/Sales in the for-profit world and a Masters in Philanthropic Studies, but no fundraising experience। She then said my greatest strength (comparatively) is my social media experience। This gave me an idea: what if I ran a mini-social media campaign using twitter and asked some of my highly influential social media friends to send a tweet recommendation?

The Safe Sitter website is great and they are already using several social media techniques but they aren't using the tools available, so I set up a @SafeSitter Twitter account for them as a donation. Soon after I was tweeting with Diane Brooks - @TalkToDiane – and I asked her opinion about this twitter campaign. She suggested I first get a buy in from Safe Sitter before tweeting anything.

I met with Sally a couple of days later and gave her this proposal:


Mini-social media campaign:

I will tweet the following message a few times throughout the day:

@NancyMyrland [for example] I'm among the final 5 people being considered for a position at @SafeSitter Would U please send them a "Hire @AmyStark" tweet?

This AWARENESS-RAISING campaign will:

  • Introduce the @SafeSitter brand to my 9,300 + followers (repeatedly as I will be sending out 5-9 individualized tweets per day for the next 3-5 days).

  • Introduce the @SafeSitter brand directly to the influential people who will receive the personalized tweet.

  • Introduce the @SafeSitter brand to all their followers if the recipient sends a tweet as requested.

  • Introduce the @SafeSitter brand repeatedly in the public timeline.

  • Build a small following of well-respected tweeters throughout central Indiana.

  • Introduce the @SafeSitter brand to influential tweeters in major metropolitan areas throughout the U.S. and the world.

  • Give you an idea of my capabilities at building a community online and leveraging the power of just one social media tool.

Cost to Safe Sitter …........... $ 0.00

Return on Investment …......... off the chart

Sally agreed saying, “I see no downside to this, however I cannot promise anything. The Board is in charge of winnowing down the five candidates to two possibilities based on the resumes of the I forwarded to them” My heart sank a bit। If the board is traditional they may not consider my social media skills and connections as valuable.

Somewhat disheartened , I moved forward with the campaign beginning Tuesday, July 13th. If I'm hired this will become a tremendous case study on how to leverage social media connections to gain support during a hiring process. If I am not selected, I will be publicly humiliated and use the case study to demonstrate how NOT to use social media in the hiring process. =) I hope it is the former and not the latter because I believe in their mission. I sent my daughter through the training three years ago and she gained valuable information that will help her not only when she babysits, but also when she becomes a mom.

So what do you think? Would Safe Sitter benefit more from hiring a traditional fundraiser, or a well-connected social media strategist?