The idea for Buoy Up came to me while gazing at this photo. Shakira, radiant in her first pregnancy, and her partner, Real Madrid star Gerard Pique, had posed for a series of luscious photos to announce to the world the coming of their baby.
Any gossip magazine would have paid top dollar to feature these shots, but instead Shakira gave them to UNICEF to release in conjunction with an online campaign to raise money to prevent child mortality.
Unsurprisingly, the photos blew up the internet. Every blog, every online publication, seemingly every major newspaper picked up the story of Shakira’s pregnancy announcement and the fundraising campaign. I, a naive and relatively new member of UNICEF HQ’s social media team, assumed that bajillions of dollars of donations would follow. I was wrong.
What this taught me: even with the most incredible, exclusive photos, raising money online can be a real bitch. Nonprofits have communications and marketing teams that put in hours and hours of work into getting the names of their organizations out there. That is if they’re lucky enough to have a communications or marketing team. Most small ones don’t.
“There has to be a way to capitalize every time UNICEF’s name was mentioned in an article,” I thought to myself.
And then the Syrian civil war intensified. And then a typhoon devastated the Philippines. More battles in the Central African Republic and South Sudan. Then Ebola. All affecting children, all taxing emergency programs in need of funding.
All the while, journalists would reach out to our experts for context, for news on the ground. Their stories would inform millions of the issues. And I would see many of those millions come to our social presence and demand to know what they could do to help.
Why shouldn’t every time a nonprofit is mentioned in the press, on a blog, heck, anywhere on the internet, there be a way to donate effortlessly to it? Why shouldn’t every news story about a disaster or a cause have an easy way to find the organization that’s working on fixing the problem?
That’s what we’re building with Buoy Up.