Challenge: This was a two week, high pressure campaign focused on getting International Medical Corps (IMC) into the final five of the American Express Members Project $2.5 million giveaway competition. 1,190 projects were nominated for participation in the competition, Amex cardholders could vote for their favorite project, and the top five projects will receive a portion of the $2.5 million in grant money. Our challenge was to take IMC, a relatively low-profile $100MM per year organization that gets all its money from government grants and had essentially no support base among the general public and activate a mass wave of support and votes for the organization – in two weeks.

International Medical Corps is a global, humanitarian, nonprofit dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through health care training, relief operations,and development programs.

Strategy: We had developed strong relationships with a large group of bloggers interested in humanitarian issues who in turn act as influencers in their communities of readers. The goal, as with all online influencer outreaches, was to earn these bloggers’ support and their willingness to act as repeaters and amplifiers of our client’s message, get their implicit or explicit endorsement, and motivate their readerships to action – in this case to vote for IMC in the Amex Members’ Project competition.

We were in constant consultation with the client advising International Medical Corps on their message copy, their use of widgets, their posting of banner ads, and guiding their broader strategic decisions.

Tactics: We reached out to close to 4,000 bloggers across a spectrum of demographics. The Gerris team reached out to these bloggers multiple times over the course of two weeks directing them to the Members Project website and the helpful, blogger-friendly Social Media News Release that made blogging on the topic an easy cut-and-paste action.

We also turned to our strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, and several other social networks, building groups and messaging followers as well as the broader Gerris community and Chris Abraham’s own sizeable community influence. To drive SEO and further traffic, every one of the over 150 blog posts was posted on Digg and several other social bookmarking platforms.

Results: Within two weeks the team had achieved close to a 10% response rate to the outreach emails, leading to over 170 blog posts with more trickling in daily. Multiple millions of impressions were made, and given the permanent nature of blog posts and the resultant presence on the search engines, impressions will continue to be made into the future.

International Medical Corps was able to fend off challenges from those organizations in 6th and 7th place, finally finishing in the top five, winning their portion of the $2.5MM of Amex Members’ Project Grant money, and for the first time in the history of their organization, creating a broad public image and public support base for themselves.