In all stages of campaigning the final stage is the one which is mostly invisible for the outside world. We write for over six years now about nonprofit campaigns and we rarely see the results. The results that’s what matters finally.
The result of a fundraising campaign is clear. It is about the final amount. In awareness campaigning it is more difficult. A goal like behaviour change is difficult to calculate.
It don’t have to be hard figures. Within an organization a campaign evaluation is a routine. But how is that for the outside world? For all volunteers?
At Osocio we judge mostly on design or copy. Now we are talking about the results.
That’s why I was pleasantly surprised when Priscilla Brice-Weller shared her campaign evaluation on Google+ and Facebook.
Priscilla did a campaign with her organization All Together Now earlier this year. The campaign with the name Give Racism The Finger was the first national campaign to erase racism in Australia.
We wrote about it in May this year.
She published the evaluation on the All Together Now website using Storify.
I talked with Priscilla last week about this evaluation.
NGOs seldom publish a review of their campaign results. Why did you do it?
One of the key strategies we decided on when we started All Together Now in 2010 was that all our work would be evidence-based. This includes publicly sharing the results of our programs to show what works and what doesn’t in anti-racism campaigning (i.e. providing evidence).
So we published a review because doing so is at the very core of our work. The more creative the review is, the more likely people are to read it.
Read more after the break.
What is you think is the reason why so less NGOs publish their campaign results and evaluation? Or am I wrong in this?
There is lot to find from the big NGOs but mostly they are unreadable annual reports.
I think one reason that few NGOs publish campaign results is because they haven’t set an evidence-based goal in the first place. When this is the case, reporting on results is meaningless - it’s just a series of numbers.
Another reason is that evaluation is perceived by many NGOs and funders as being expensive and/or perceived as a “nice to have” rather than a core component of their work, so evaluation is not prioritised.
The big problem with this is although the campaign managers may personally learn from the successes and failures of the campaign, that knowledge is lost when they move on, so the organisation loses that knowledge.
When an NGO doesn’t document or share its evaluations, it also prevents other organisations from learning, which ultimately means that social progress is slower than it could be.
All Together Now isn’t a big NGO. How big was your team during the campaign in May?
It was only me at All Together Now!
We were supported by an account manager at Shift Communications - Alex Knudsen - who dealt with the detailed logistics like sourcing the materials and couriering everything to The Body Shop. The Body Shop team - Adam Valvasori and Deb Baxter - were also extremely supportive and communicated with us regularly during the campaign.
Most of the work took place before May so I think that is why we were able to operate with a small team during the campaign: we were well-prepared.
How did you monitored the campaign?
We monitored by:
- each Body Shop store keeping a tally of fingerprints
- the conversations on Facebook - the quality of conversations and the number of new ‘friends’ to make sure we were getting cut-through
- the conversations on Twitter, particularly mentions of “Give Racism The Finger” and links to the campaign website and facebook page
- the number of media mentions
- the number & amount of donations
Did you use tools/software to monitor the campaign or was it just the usual internet clients?
We use the usual internet clients. We don’t have the money to use more sophisticated tools. We have a very tiny budget and are entirely run by volunteers so don’t have the extra cash for specialist software.
Why did you choose for Storify to publish the review?
Storify allowed us to show what other people had to say about the campaign—so it wasn’t only us saying how much impact the campaign had. When a person can read what others say it gives the review more credibility.
Also, it’s often other people’s stories that make a compelling case for whether something works or not (rather than statistics). Particularly for a topic like anti-racism, where the focus is on long-term change, so we can’t “prove” sustained social impact for many years to come.
Amongst all media, what was the biggest influencer for the campaign?
We didn’t get any mainstream media coverage, so social media was so important. Probably the biggest influencer was (1) having The Body Shop involved, through word of mouth, tweeting and Facebooking, and (2) asking famous Australian rugby players to tweet about the campaign.
Which social networks did you use and which one was the best intrument after all to spread the word?
We used Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo and Flickr.
The best instrument was Facebook. It helped us have meaningful and constructive conversations about racism, which is more likely to have an impact on people (to encourage them to self-reflect on their behaviour) rather than tweets, which don’t allow for depth of conversation.
Unfortunately we haven’t been able to add these Facebook conversations to our Storify story because of the way Storify works. Storify doesn’t allow a search on a specific “business” page. Yet.
What can you tell about the statistics in short?
They are provided in our campaign evaluation, which is the final link in our Storify story. The summary is that each store self-rated their passion and knowledge about racism before the campaign at 6.4/10 and after the campaign at 7.9/10. We believe this increased confidence is reflected in the number of fingerprints collected, with 1/3 of customers Giving Racism The Finger. This resulted in 50,706 fingerprints collected and 150,000 conversations in 83 stores over 4 weeks.
[See the embedded Storify Campaign Evaluation at the end of this page]
You wrote: “Like-minded organisations were among our biggest advocates”. I think that is very unusual.
Did you do some seeding amongst your NGO network?
Yes, we have a list of likeminded NGOs which was mostly compiled when we wrote our business plan in early 2010. We are well-networked in the sector (even though we are a small and young organisation) so we emailed these NGOs a couple of days before the launch and asked them directly to help us promote the campaign. I think people were interested because anti-racism campaigns that actually mention racism are very rare in Australia (government campaigns in Australia talk about “Harmony”, “multiculturalism” and “cultural diversity” and don’t tend to use the word “racism”).
What is your overall conclusion about the results. Was it what you expected?
The number of fingerprints collected and conversations in stores was much more than expected (our original goal was 20,000 fingerprints).
Our social media results were less than expected. We think this is partly because our original goal was unrealistic, but also because we could have done a better job at integrating our online conversations across all platforms.
What causes the disappointing social media results? Underestimating the amount of time and energy this takes? Other reasons?
No, we didn’t underestimate the time and energy this takes. I’ve been working in social media for several years (and I used to write the Solidariti.com blog) so had realistic expectations.
I think the reasons for this shortcoming are that our strategy was flawed.
We had asked The Body Shop staff to ask customers to connect with us on Facebook while they were still in the store. They could do this by taking a photo of themselves on their phone giving racism the finger and posting it to Facebook, or simply by liking us on Facebook (the postcards we gave out in the stores had our Facebook page address on it). However the staff felt uncomfortable doing this—I think because they hadn’t done it before for previous campaigns. So in the end, we had fewer Facebook ‘likes’ than we anticipated.
The other flaw in the plan was that although we had a well-prepared Facebook plan, we hadn’t clearly thought about how to integrate the campaign across other platforms, particularly Twitter. This meant that we posted messages on Twitter that were appropriate for that method of communication and that audience, but the messages weren’t well-connected with the messages we were putting up on Facebook.
It wasn’t all bad though. An electronics manufacturer donated some cameras to us which we gave to the top-grossing stores to take photos of customers giving racism the finger. Some of those stores loved the idea and as a result we had a constant stream of photos we could publish on Facebook every day to build momentum and interest around the campaign.
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