Gulf Fundraiser Rocks Social Media


Last night’s Gulf Coast Benefit, a 60-venue coast-to-coast concert series, leveraged social media for a social cause.

Harnessing Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Stumble, Foursquare, live-streaming and more, organizers Nick Adler, Sloane Berrent and Casey Phillips pulled it all together in less than a month.

Deft use of social media helped them organize, coordinate and market 25 national and 65 local concerts, all with the aim of raising at least $100,000 for the Gulf Restoration Network, which is helping with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.[more]

The networking of social media resources, so quickly assembled, is a testament to the reach, passion, and awareness enabled by the ever-growing social Web to support cause-related marketing efforts.

“I have always believed that our online interactions are meant to facilitate our offline experiences and the Gulf Coast Benefit is a perfect example of that. You can find an event or make a donation online and we are using social media tools to bring people together,” Sloane Berrent, co-producer told Mashable. “It’s a way of extending the conversation that wasn’t available even three years ago and it’s a game-changer.”

Their social media strategy:

  • First, the primary Gulf Coast Benefit website informed and encouraged participation in local events. Meetup’s Everywhere tool coordinated local events, with individual clubs requiring an extra click for ticket purchase.
  • The What Gives!? PayPal widget helped process donations.
  • On Facebook, a Gulf Coast Benefit Twibbon app wooed influencers through badges for their avatars.
  • On the official Twitter page, a #rockthespill hashtag was used to promote retweeting and word of mouth.
  • Twitter users could also show support on their pages via Tweety Got Back graphics.
  • PopRule’s mobile platform extended the reach to Android and iPhones as well as MySpace and Facebook mobile users.
  • Concert-goers could check in (using @gulfbenefit) on Foursquare.
  • A social media-savvy press release replete with photos and video, distributed via Pitch Engine, kept bloggers and media up to date.

One mitigating counterbalance to horrific humanitarian crises is the speed and reach of social media, at its best, to create awareness and rally support and action.

In another musical show of support, Pearl Jam’s Amongst the Waves is raising money for Gulf restoration efforts, via iTunes U.S. sales starting July 6th: