Child Fund International: Tweeting for the Children

Posted on July 19, 2009 in Child Rights

Read below as David Hylton (IS PR Specialist) from Child Fund International writes about a wonderful initiative by Child Fund International in the guest post he did for Youth Ki Awaaz below.

Chickens, goats, mango trees and vegetable seeds can go a long way of helping children and their family members. Not only can they provide food, they also can help families start businesses.

So how can following ChildFund International on Twitter (@ChildFund) help? To celebrate our new name and our commitment to children, we launched a Twitter campaign on July 10 that helps make a difference in the lives of children — by simply following us, we’re giving these items from our Gifts of Hope and Love catalog to areas where they’re needed most:

– Chickens for a school in The Gambia
– A goat for a family farm in Zambia
– Mango trees in Kenya
– Vegetable seeds in Ethiopia

This effort is being made by anonymous donors who said they would help out. This is above the amount they usually give. This Twitter campaign is not about raising money, but instead raising awareness of the work we do for deprived, excluded and vulnerable children in the 31 countries where we work. Last year alone we helped 15.2 million children and their family members.

To show how this campaign works, we are sending small video cameras to program offices in each of the four countries to report back. We promise to share the recipients’ stories and photos with everyone reading our blog and following us on Twitter. It is a commitment not to simply promote, but to continue an accountable dialog with our supporters.

There is no cap on followers (so far we have about 1,200), and the offer will continue through July 27. It is important to note that this effort will take time — once the campaign ends we have to ship the items to the country to the country, along with the cameras. The areas where the items are delivered are in very rural areas of Africa. Many of our offices in Africa also have extremely slow Internet connections, so delivery of the video back to us in the United States takes time as well.

Small Part of a Bigger Picture
We hired CRT/tananka to develop the strategy around the Twitter campaign, and then used Geoff Livingston to be an initial voice for us. Given a very limited budget, we knew working someone who was established with an existing community, and experience interacting with bloggers was the best way to go. And Geoff did a lot with a very limited amount of time resource available to him.

The Twitter campaign is a small part of our goal of raising our visibility. We want to increase our visibility because as part of our strategy we have a new name and we wanted people to know about us and that if they followed us we would show them specifically what we’re doing with the gifts donated by a donor specifically for Twitter followers.

And our goal is to not just have a specific number under our “Followers” on the Twitter page. We want followers who care about children and the work we do; we want to have a conversation with them. We want to answer their questions.

This is the beginning, and people are giving us an opportunity to start a conversation with them, but have not necessarily committed to that community. We hope to be worthwhile additions to their Twitter experience and to evolve that experience into something more meaningful and rewarding.

To know more about the initiative click here

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