Merlin’s Plumpy Nut Challenge is the first ever fundraising campaign designed to leverage and engage the spirit of sharing on Twitter. It enabled Merlin to penetrate a completely fresh market of the notoriously difficult 21-35 year olds. It shattered two myths at the same time; that social media cannot be used to raise money directly and that cold fundraising can’t produce a high ROI or net income.
The campaign was based around giving Twitter a simple idea that would give them a fun, easy way to engage with a serious cause which was getting less and less media – the East Africa Food Crisis.
The proposition was simple. Put yourselves in the shoes of a malnourished child for just 1 day by eating nothing but Plumpy Nut, raise just £50, save a life. Publish great content , then tell your followers and get them to do the same.
By keeping the challenge Twitter-centric, Merlin created a highly active and engaged community of fundraisers, engendering an extremely strong ‘challenger-get-challenger’ mentality. By giving the tweeters a target, we enabled an amazingly diverse group to come together and keep working even once their challenge had been done.
Merlin and Bulletsocial seeded the campaign by identifying key Twitter influencers early on in the planning to ensure they felt they had some responsibility and ownership of making the Plumpy Nut Challenge a success. This meant they did the hard work themselves and encouraged others to do the same – creating high quality fun content, starting conversations and spreading the word as far as possible.
The Twitter tone of voice was completely changed from a formal, worthy voice to a more friendly and cheeky one – a completely new approach for charity sector.
The campaign raised £30,000 and reached over 1 million Twitter accounts.
Bulletsocial’s and Merlin’s innovation of using Twitter and empowering supporters to individually shape and spread a simple concept should be something all charities can take away from this. Ceding control is always an extremely risky thing for charities to do, but the Plumpy Nut Challenge has proved that the right messaging and management can minimise risk and allow greater engagement.