Tipping point?

The Nonprofiteer recently received an advisory from search engine Dogpile.com noting its partnership with the ASPCA: every search using Dogpile generates revenue to the charity.  It’s a clever bit–Dogpile, rescuing dogs; “You search, we rescue”–but the Nonprofiteer was struck by something else about the program.

Its announcement coincided with the launch of the ASPCA’s new ad featuring Sarah McLachlan audio and animal visuals that would melt the heart of a stone.  Having seen the ad and heard about the Search & Rescue program in quick succession, the Nonprofiteer thought, “Wow, there’s a lot of attention suddenly to animal cruelty.  Are people abandoning their pets more because of the recession?  Or are people just meaner in hard times?  What’s going on?”  That might have been the end of it–or it might have been the beginning of a decision to give money to combat this apparent recent epidemic.  Because she writes about such things, though, the Nonprofiteer actually checked, whereupon it emerged that she’d simply encountered two simultaneous high-profile initiatives by a single charity.

The point?  How relatively little it took–an ad on tv and a bit of viral marketing–to make it appear that something new and different was going on in the field of animal cruelty; and how quickly that sense of the new produces receptiveness to what is, after all, the same old message: give us money.  As Malcolm Gladwell observed in his book, sometimes it actually doesn’t take much to change the world: if you happen to be standing where two stones fall, you’ll think it’s an avalanche.

Hats off to the ASPCA for creating its own landslide–and to the unsung marketing/development department person who understands exactly how multiplication becomes raising something to the next power.

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