Reinventing a Company Toy Drive with Social Media

Learnings from my latest cause marketing program at WellPoint December 2011

I’m very proud of the success and fun we had with our WellPoint holiday toy drive providing happiness to the families at the RAIN center in Camarillo, Ca. This was the first year we used social media for our internal Blue Crew programs. I designed the social media strategy using Yammer to seed our message to company employees. Using an Amazon Wish List helped make the wishes more real and provided reporting and tracking on the gifts that were received or needed.

Outreach was driven through Yammer (facebook for companies) where we created a new group for the Blue Crew and enlisted our colleagues to join and spread the word about the online forum. Building this group created an opt-in audience for our future campaigns too. Employees who provided toys or furthered our cause were awarded badges and called out on the news feed. Every day we would highlight a special wish reminding everyone how little it costs to make a difference. And with the Amazon wish list we eliminated the hassle of shipping so all employees from New York to San Diego could participate- and heavier toys (like a skateboard for Angela that came from a colleague in Maine) were not left out.

The program also acted as a Yammer sign up campaign though I don’t have the stats on that. Because the conversations we hosted were engaging and viral, we saw daily new sign-ups to the Yammer site that had been online for over a year.

Our Intranet editor posted this out to the company:

The Blue Crew had another great success with its holiday toy drive for RAIN transitional living facility located in Camarillo, California. WellPoint associates from across the country heard about the toy drive and donated 64 gifts for the children and families, far exceeding the wish list of 27 items. Many thanks go to Vicki Karayan, Marketing Coordinator, Sr. who organized the drive while Suzanne Appel, Internet Marketing Manager, drove internal awareness for the drive. “Day by day the Amazon boxes arrived and we saw the kids’ wish list fill up. It was so exciting to feel that kind of generosity from these amazing WellPoint Associates,” said Suzanne. RAIN supports families in our community trying to get back on their feet in this tough economy. Way to go!!

Amazon Wish List for Rain

RAIN supports families in our community trying to get back on their feet with in this tough economy. The RAIN Transitional Living Center has provided housing and services to families and single adults in Ventura County, California, to help with the transition from homelessness to permanent housing. You can learn more about them at http://www.raincommunities.org

Learnings:

  • Make it easy to donate, and make it real to know where the money is going
  • By removing the shipping issues we were able to make great gains on a short 2 week campaign at the holiday time
  • Technology isn’t for everyone so make sure to provide tips for people who prefer offline channels
  • Creating a universal, up-to-date wish list allows you to see your progress daily, add to the inventory, make adjustments as the prices change and delete items when someone notifies you they bought an item offline
  • Having the audience is critical, having the right message will help you grow that audience
  • When you love what you’re doing you’ll thrive to innovate

Safe Baby Products

I’m about to have a baby and enter the world of motherhood. The protective instincts are kicking in and I’m nesting my little heart out. I want the best for this little girl so I started changing the products we use at home for cleaning and my own shampoos, lotions, and deodorant. When I’m snuggling with my baby I want to give her every advantage for a healthy life. (Well, and eczema runs in my family)

And then my eyes were opened. If you’re an ‘ignorance is bliss’ kind of person, maybe you should stop reading now. I hate to ring any alarm bells or send other pregnant women into a tailspin. But here it goes:

You know that lotion you use, the shampoo, the laundry detergent- yep, they probably cause Cancer, birth defects, reproductive issues or are bad for the environment.

I wouldn’t state a problem without also giving you the solution- Cosmetics Database. Search for your current products by brand or category and EWG (the organization who created site) will show you the ingredients, what concerns they are linked to from scientific studies and then, brilliance, they rate the concern level so that you can determine how pure you want to be. A score of 0 is best, for me, over a 2 seemed unnecessary. When there are great products available with quality, clean ingredients, and the prices are only a bit higher, that’s one decision that is easy to make.

Examples:

Johnsons No More Tears Baby Bubble Bath and Wash- rates a 6/10, Health Concern: MODERATE, the red flags on this were related to allergies & immunotoxicity.

Banana Boat Baby Sunscreen Stick, SPF 50 scored a 7/10! HIGH concerns: Developmental & reproductive toxicity, Endocrine disruption, Persistence and bioaccumulation, Multiple, additive exposure sources, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Contamination concerns, Biochemical or cellular level changes; Other MODERATE concerns: Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)

This is not OK.

    If these are the ingredients they put in the baby products… why are they considered baby-friendly at all?
    California Baby
    There are some things I didn’t give up, and some things I gave up entirely (like fabric softener sheets)(poison).So what treasures did I find? Some fabulous brands like Weleda, Alba, JASON, California Baby and Avalon. You can price shop them online. But, if you feel immediately compelled- Target is starting to carry some of these more organic, natural brands in their beauty section, health food stores like Whole Foods stock them and try The Vitamin Shoppe. As a general guideline, the fragrance is commonly the problem. If you have a choice between two products, it’s likely the unscented is the healthiest.

    Please consider donating to the EWG to keep this database up to date and a tremendous resource for all.