Many Academy Award winners shared causes following the somber cause-filled Super Bowl.
During the 2015 Academy Awards, it seemed that every actor and actress who accepted an award addressed a cause during their speeches. Some were related to the film they had won the award for, while others took on a much more personal nature.
Graham Moore, who won Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game, spoke about his personal experience with suicide:
“When I was 16, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different and I felt like I did not belong. I would like this moment to be for the kid out there who feels like she’s weird and different and feels like she doesn’t belong. Yes, you do.”
John Legend and rapper Common, who won for Best Original Song (“Glory” from the film Selma), spoke about the enduring message and importance of the film:
“We say that ‘Selma’ is now, because the struggle for justice is right now. We know that the Voting Rights Act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now in this country today. We know that right now the struggle for freedom and justice is real. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world.”
Patricia Arquette, who won Best Supporting Actress for Boyhood, spoke about equal rights for women:
“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights… It is our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for all women in America!”
The Academy Awards’ focus on causes this year is in line with the Super Bowl’s. From Nationwide’s ad on the safety of our children to the NFL’s message on domestic violence, the 2015 Super Bowl was noticeably more serious than past games.
Richard Carufel reported on the shift in tone and focus soon after the game, stating:
“Many of this year’s advertising brands opted to associate their [Super Bowl] messaging with a social cause or otherwise sentimental issue—suggesting that the targeted approach of advertisers is shifting.”
After 20 years of benchmarking research, Cone Communications says that the desire to support causes and related programs is at an all-time high. Folks wish to support the causes they are passionate about and expect companies to do the same. This can explain why we’ve seen an uptick in advertising centered on causes and progress.
What Does this Mean for Nonprofits?
With public desire to support worthy causes at an all-time high, there is a lot of potential support and attention that your organization can receive. Now the challenge is earning it. Here are a few suggestions and strategies to do just that:
Tell your story and the story of your cause. Whether consciously or unconsciously, people frequently give based on their emotions. Tell the story of your organization and cause in a way that taps into this. Stories are already a powerful way to connect with potential supporters and share important information related to your cause. Framing it in a way that also tugs on supporters’ heartstrings will take your cause to the next level.
Invest in social media. Your story changes from day to day. Because of this, social media is one of the most effective ways to share your story with supporters and keep them up to date. Invest time in daily updates on your cause and how supporters can help.
Be authentic. Due to the increasing transparency that the digital age provides, people are becoming more particular about the organizations they support. Transparency can also be used to your advantage. Invite supporters behind the scenes, and share the daily struggles and victories of your organization. Being authentic and showing the human side of your organization can go a long way in gaining and retaining supporters.
Newsjacking. The trickiest of the four, newsjacking is when an organization rides the wave of a popular story or piece of news. Do so with care! Reserve newsjacking for the stories that are the most relevant to your cause.
Here are two examples from Change.org related to the Academy Awards. Both do an excellent job of referencing the awards show, while linking back to the causes they support.
— Change.org (@Change) February 23, 2015
— Change.org (@Change) February 23, 2015
With a little creativity and ingenuity, your nonprofits can gain the attention and support of the folks who are as passionate about your cause as you are.
What strategies have worked for your organization? Let us know in the comments!