News and analysis
October 16, 2014

Mixing Action With Awareness

I attended a New York Giants game earlier in October. On the jumbotron was a hashtag with the Giants logo to use to show support during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

We make campaigns like this, but would I really call this support? Is anyone not aware that breast cancer is a thing?

The truth is that slacktivism, for digital marketers like myself, is easy. It’s easier than asking folks to really get out of their seats and hug a survivor or make a donation.

Many slacktivism campaigns for Breast Cancer Awareness Month take the form of company donations to various charities in exchange for a specific hashtag or each retweet, post, like, or photos shared about them . This is terrific, but transparency is lacking.

What charities get money? How much will be sent? When will they get it?

I’d rather see a company use their broad marketing reach to empower their audience to donate with them.

The Giants had an opportunity here, and they missed it. Every major sports team is missing it. There were roughly 78,704 chances for the Giants to do something that would make a huge impact. That’s the average number of attendees for a home game at MetLife Stadium. The impact could be even larger if you included the television audience.

Why not ask folks to do some of the following real actions?

Text To Donate: Ask them to text to donate, and give them an exclusive fan item that could only be purchased this way. I’m sure folks would give $5 to receive some original piece of artwork for their phone, like a wallpaper of Odell Beckham Jr. catching a touchdown from that game. Make it original, fun, and exclusive. People will give.

Volunteer Sign-up: Every nonprofit needs volunteers. Some organizations, like Sparrow’s Nest, simply need volunteers to deliver meals and then sit and talk with mothers with cancer about anything they want to. . This organization provides a warm, fresh, and–might I add–very tasty, gourmet meal . As they talk, do you know what happens? These mothers look forward to that time and cherish it.

Now imagine if the Giants used their built-in audience to drive real volunteers to this organization?

That’s real awareness in action.

Daniel Schutzsmith is creative director and co-founder of Mark & Phil, a digital creative agency working on marketing and fundraising for nonprofits of all sizes. Over the past decade, he has worked with clients such as: 1% for the Planet, Adobe, BBDO, CosmoGIRL!, Dave Matthews Band, Facebook, Google, Greenpeace, Live Earth, MTV, PBS, Phish, Rachael Ray, Sony Picture Classics, TBS, The Pixies, VH1, and SiriusXM Radio.