360i Teaches Non-Profits To Fish For Themselves, Feed Their Own Digital

Most agencies do some pro bono work helping non-profits that contribute to society. On Thursday, 360i launched a program designed to help all of them. The initiative kicked off with a one-day boot camp training nearly a hundred non-profits on-site at 360i’s New York headquarters and hundreds, maybe thousands, more via a live stream on Facebook, on how to get the most out of digital media.

“What you guys do is so much more important than what we do day in and day out,” 360i chief Sarah Hofstetter explained while opening the one-day training session and outreach to help any non-profit asking the agency for support.

Hofstetter said the initiative was an outgrowth of work the agency was already doing to: 1) continuously educate its own staff and clients; and 2) help its staff work on things they felt were important contributions for society, not just profitable ones for the agency’s bottom line.



She kicked things off with a video showcasing 360i’s recent project for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, which developed toys that paralyzed and physically disabled people could operate so they could play with their children. The prototypes, dubbed Adaptoys, are currently raising funds to bring the toys to market by this Christmas season.

Hofstetter said the project began as a commercial application for a for-profit client that took a pass, so the agency decided to develop it anyway, and the experience inspired 360i to see if it could create a program that would help non-profits on a much larger scale.

The result was DEN, or Digital Education for Non-Profits, which leverages the expertise the agency was already developing to educate its organization and its clients on state-of-the-art digital media practices. As a result, 360i is sharing some of its secret sauce and best practices with the rest of the industry in an effort to benefit non-profits as well as the industry-at-large.

The training sessions, which were supported by big digital media suppliers such as Facebook, were designed to help non-profits understand how to better leverage “free” or inexpensive tools to become even more effective at raising funds and reaching supporters and volunteers.

Interestingly, the session on best practices in social media revealed that the shift from “organic” to “paid” media is just as challenging for non-profits as it is for for-profit brands, because Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm does not distinguish between for-profits and non-profits.

As a result, much of the session focused on how non-profits can get a bigger bang for the bucks they do spend amplifying social with paid ad budgets, as well as organic ways for optimizing earned media from people sharing their content or messages.

One of the most interesting sessions of the day was presented by 360i’s insights team and featured never-before released research conducted by the agency on the philanthropic nature and behavior of Millennials. The session revealed that Millennials want to play a big role in non-profits, both as volunteers and contributors, but they expect a significant amount of “transparency” from the organizations they donate their time and money to.

The sessions focused heavily on the concept of “slacktivism,” a term used to describe a form of apathy some Millennials feel about participating in charitable endeavors and ways to motivate them to become more active. Among other things, 360i’s research found that it is important for non-profits to ensure their media communications are “frictionless,” because Millennials lose interest quickly if there is any barrier to them engaging with a media experience.

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