Have you heard of Pencils of Promise? Does the name ring a bell? Maybe, or maybe not but Pencils of Promise is a budding example of the power of social media & the role it can play in the social enterprise world.
Pencils of Promise is an NGO focused on building schools in developing countries. Though the organization is only a little over three years old, they already have 50 schools up & operating, with 30 more on the way.
According to their annual report, in 2011 Pencils of Promise operated off of $1.2M in contributions, plus in 2010 they received $1.1M. These are no small sums, especially when you consider that they only received more than $100K from two donors. This was a grassroots effort.
I’m sure you’ve guessed what their secret is: social media connections. Adam Braun, the founder of Pencils of Promise, is quite lucky: he has a strong personal connection with Justin Bieber’s manager, but that doesn’t mean other social enterprises can’t learn from the example.
Justin Bieber has teamed up with Pencils of Promise to support their School 4 All campaign, among others. For the most part, Bieber’s influence on twitter (his Klout score is a perfect 100) meant that one tweet of his had the power to translate into lots of support for Pencils of Promise. Even if all that people do is visit the Pencils of Promise website or watch their youtube video, the traction and popularity makes Pencils of Promise that much more alluring to prospective donors.
Pencils of Promise knows very well that vanity metrics (such as total page views) can have an impressive impact on donors, as they highlight quite well in their annual report. In 2011, they achieved: 700,000+ website visits, 640,000 youtube video views, and 400 average daily Twitter mentions. They boast that #Schools4All became a trending topic in 10 minutes and celebrate their biggest supporter with the ‘top pop tweeter’ award.
Personally, I’m quite bad at updating twitter, but the value is incredible. Look for opportunities to take better advantage of social media to grow your brand.