Webby for Good is a collaborative program formed by The Webby Awards and WP Engine to showcase Webby-recognized projects built to change the world.
What’s the elevator pitch for your project?
We used the emerging trend of “going live” on Facebook to turn the traditional Moment of Silence into a powerful fundraising tool aimed at preventing gun violence.
What was the impetus for this project? What real-world challenge were you trying to solve?
Sandy Hook Promise is an organization started by the parents of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. 2017 marked the five year anniversary of the shooting and the organization wanted to use the attention surrounding the anniversary to raise money to fund their gun violence prevention programs. But with so much fundraising already being done on Facebook, normal posts were proving to be an ineffective tool. And in addition, we needed to do something that worked within the same budget as a Facebook post, which is $0.
Sharing a “moment of silence” is an existing behavior used to honor victims of gun violence, as well as other tragedies. And with the five year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting on the horizon, we knew people would be sharing plenty of “moments of silence” to honor the victims. But a moment of silence doesn’t do anything to stop future tragedies. So we found a way that we could turn that existing behavior into a tool to actually prevent gun violence.
Once you settled on your idea, what was your first step in moving it forward?
Once we knew we were going to move forward with our idea, we reached out directly to our contacts at Facebook to make sure the execution of the idea lined up with the emerging technology of “going live” and the new feature of allowing users to add a “donate” button attached to a specific charity.
Was there a moment during the project where you ran into a hurdle; or faced a problem you didn’t know how to solve? Take us to this moment, what happened and what did you do next?
Facebook Live was fairly new and people were not familiar with how to set up their own live broadcast. So not only did we need to inspire people to go live, we had to teach them how to. The solution was a simple and shareable tutorial video that broke it down into easy steps. Then we asked people who went live to share a link to the “how to” video, so their friends would know how to make their own.
Did the real-world impact meet your expectations? Can you share an example?
The real-world impact defied our expectations. We began the Live Moment of Silence ourselves, along with schools around the country. Followers of those schools saw it, and then did their own. And so on and so on, until celebrities were doing the same, including a news anchor “going live” during her MSNBC broadcast. And all the while, they were raising awareness about the preventability of gun violence and raising money to fight it.
What technologies/media did you use to develop this project (AI, Social Media, WordPress, etc.)?
We worked closely with Facebook to develop this project. But heading into that collaboration, we had a tech insight when we discovered you could add a donate button to a live stream, which no one had used before. This allowed us to effectively create a new medium for donations.
Was the tech/medium you chose crucial to conveying your message? If so, why?
Yes, partnering with Facebook was crucial to conveying our message. It’s the place where people are already sharing “thoughts and prayers” and extending their support to the Sandy Hook families. And it allowed us to take the real world action of sharing a “moment of silence” and extend it to the social space—in a way that could reach our target audience.
How did this project defy your expectations?
This was a truly viral project, with zero dollars put behind it. So it was incredible to see so many people on Facebook not only donate but share their own Live Moment of Silence and help the message spread.
How will you use technology in future work to create inspiring, cutting-edge projects that also make a difference in people’s lives?
By tapping into the emerging behavior of “going live” on Facebook, and the new technology of adding a “donate” button, we were able find a new way to engage people in a saturated space (fundraising) for the purpose of good (stopping gun violence). So moving forward, it is essential to continue to make authentic connections with our audience through emerging platforms and technologies.