Problem: Seek had aligned with Volunteer Australia to provide the back engine to help volunteers connect with NFP jobs required Seek Volunteer. There has long been a myth that volunteering is what old grannies did in Op Shops. Seek wanted to help dispel this myth.
We (Naked Communications + The Population) were set the task of getting more people to use the Seek site to look for Volunteering roles.
Strategy: Create a site that shared the stories of people who had volunteered, focusing on the stories of influential Australian bloggers.
Insight: People who read blogs were probably some of the most advanced online users. They would most likely perform a number of tasks online (banking, looking for jobs, buying products). These would be the type of users who would use Seek Volunteer to find a volunteer job.
Execution: We looked to get ten of the most influential Australian bloggers to go and volunteer at an organization of their choice. Seek Volunteer would then donate $500 to that organisation on behalf of the blogger.
We isolated a list of 20 bloggers who we believed were influential and were relevant to talk about volunteering. We used the Top 100 Australian Bloggers as a starting point. We then went out with an email to these ten.
We created a site which would allowed people to read all the stories in one place as well as share their own story.
The site was supported with Banners on SEEK homepage, SEEK Volunteer homepage, Ninemsn and the Nuffnang blogging network.
Volunteering Unplugged was launched on May 11th 2009 at the start of National Volunteer Week. With the launch we did another outreach to the broader community and got the number 1 subscribed Australian Youtuber Natalie Tran (Community Channel) to talk about the site and industry support from NFP websites Third Sector and Go Volunteer and marketing site Mumbrella.
We ended up with a site which had 57 volunteering stories, of the people that visited the site 25% of them checked out the Seek Volunteering website afterwards. Seek Volunteer were really happy with the project and are looking to extend on it in 2010.
Blogger Outreach is really really tough
We ended up getting ten bloggers but we had to look beyond the original list of 20 and it was really tough. I think we underestimated how busy most bloggers were and giving up a whole day to volunteer at an organization was a massive commitment. In my experience there is probably only a handful of Australian bloggers (20 people?) who make enough money not to have to work full time.
This required us to change tact, what we found out was that most bloggers had volunteered in the past so instead of getting them to volunteer again we got them to share their previous stories.
Olivia Whitty who worked on the Seek volunteer project went onto run a similar project, Man Week for Outreach. Man Week worked on the same principle of getting male bloggers to share stories about what it means to be a man. They were lucky enough to get the support of two influential bloggers in Mark Pollard and Gavin Heaton who went over and above and shared amazing stories that lead to a number of other people sharing stories.
Blogging in general
Blogging in Australia is still small. When you look at the Top 100 Australian Bloggers the content quality and readership drop dramatically once you go below the Top 45. In America you could run a whole campaign on Blogger Outreach, in Australia that is just not possible.
Blogger Outreach will only work here if you are targeting a global audience (Dosh Wallets) or you are also targeting writers at major online content and news portals.