Preparing to go viral

It’s great when something you do “goes viral” but it’s almost impossible to predict what will work. When something does get your organization lots of exposure, you want to be prepared to maximize fundraising success.

Last week Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (Facebook) (website) released a video featuring kids, parents and staff lip-synching to Katy Perry’s “Roar.”

The main performer is 10-year old Morgan Platt, and she’s got such hopeful, believable eyes. She does a great job of being sympathetic, not pathetic. The tune is catchy, and it’s fun to watch the staff and other patients get into the fun. A friend in Connecticut forwarded the link to me and I was the 301st viewer on YouTube. We both realized this had potential. We didn’t know at the time (but most likely, Connecticut Children’s did know) that Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (Facebook) (website) did the same thing three weeks before. That one is approaching three million views.

You can’t know when something is going to “go viral.”  But when you have adorable, sympathetic kids doing a cover version of a popular song, you have a good chance. So, how can you prepare for fundraising success when you succeed?

  • Promote it on Facebook
  • Tweet it, and encourage retweets. In this case, asking all your followers to follow @KatyPerry and ask her to tweet it to her 47+million followers
  • Plaster it on your website (hijack the home page)
  • Create a unique landing page (like CHAD did) for donations
  • Link to that page from within the YouTube video (you can do that with a YouTube nonprofit account) and from the description on the  YouTube page.
  • Create some background stories. In this case, a detailed interview with Morgan, and maybe her parents and doctors. It could be a great educational piece on the hospital, on her illness, and it’ll give the whole thing more interest. (Think of Olympics “Up Close and Personal” vignettes.)
  • Create hashtags and promote them (#CTKidsRoar ?)
  • Email your house list with a link, with ideas to promote, and with progress.
  • Get ahead of the publicity by bringing your local media into the process.
  • Maintain a presence on your social media — respond to all those comments!
  • Like anything else online that you want watched and shared, make sure it’s mobile optimized.

What ideas do you have?


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