choices for youth logoChoices for Youth assists hundreds of youth in our community as they struggle to meet their most basic needs. For a city that on the surface doesn’t appear to have a significant homeless population, the shelters, food banks, and drop-in services in St. John’s are constantly being stretched to meet the needs of those lacking a safe and secure home.

Each year Choices runs a Christmas fundraiser to provide both necessities and small comforts to youth at risk in our community. Traditionally the campaign has relied on promotion through email and direct mail to those who are already involved with Choices. This year Choices for Youth wanted to use social media to help spread the word. And that’s where group m5 came. We jumped at the opportunity to help out with this pro bono project.

The Plan

As there was no budget, we had to rely on just the power of an idea, rather than an app build or media buy. We put our heads together and the result was a play on the “First World Problems” cultural trend. While both Facebook and Twitter have some interesting and entertaining content, they’re also full of complaints about the small inconveniences of modern life. This has spawned the #firstworldproblems hashtag. Sometimes it’s used to poke fun at a friend who has just posted about Starbucks being out of soy milk, while other times it’s used in a self deprecating way such as  “My iPad is running slow #firstworldproblems”.

Twitter ROD 13000 followersTwitter vocm 1300followersFacebook CFY RWP

But as we know all to well, there are real problems in the first world, in Canada and in our community. And they’re not related to Starbucks or an iPad. Everyday members of our community are challenged with the basics of daily life, from shelter to food, friendship and employment.

We reached out to social media influencers in our community, as well as our personal networks. We asked people to participate in what we called a digital flash mob.

The goals of this campaign were:

  • To raise awareness of youth homelessness in St. John’s
  • To raise awareness of Choices for Youth as part of the solution
  • To raise funds to provide necessities and small comforts to youth in St. John’s

The result?

An outpouring of support from individuals and influencers alike. We achieved our goal of “owning” the Twitter feeds of users in St. John’s. We succeeded in providing another touch point to raise the profile of youth homelessness and poverty in our community. And Choices for Youth gained further awareness, acquired new followers and Likes, as well as donations. Choices kept the momentum going by sharing more content about its programs, the reality of the community’s need and how you can support youth in this community.

  • Donations increased 250% year-over-year.
  • Facebook reach increased 1017% on the first day, with a 340% increase in people talking about Choices on Facebook.
  • Facebook “Likes” increased 33% over the course of the campaign, providing long-term value.
  • Website page views increased 4700% on the first day and maintained an increase of 650% throughout the campaign.

Telegram Article


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