Would You Donate Money From a Shared Shortlink?

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Would you donate to the American Red Cross if a prompt splashed across your screen? They and Bitly are hoping you will. They’ve teamed up to create Hopely. You can find a link to it on the Bitly homepage. Instead of using the regular link shortener, use Hopely. When someone clicks on your short-link, an American Red Cross landing page will come up, asking viewers to donate money.

They started before the holiday crush, but you wouldn’t know about it since they haven’t really promoted it. BBDO, the agency behind the campaign, told the New York Times that:

While the execution is not the sort of thing clients request in assignments known as creative briefs, it does exemplify one way that agencies should advocate for charities and brands. “It’s very hard to brief for an idea like this,” said [Tom] Markham of the Hope.ly effort. “The agency has to kind of love you as a client and spend time thinking of you outside of the normal briefs and come up with this sort of stuff.”

The donation prompt takes up about one-third of your desktop screen and about two-thirds of your smartphone, so some publishers may not be thrilled you’re sharing their pages with Hopely. Can you really get people to donate real money like this? According to a study done by the Red Cross, about 70 percent of people would donate after seeing a social media post and about one in five would take action after seeing a friends’ post.

But that’s only if you’re called out by name and direct acquaintances. The best way to get people to donate after clicking on a Hopely link would be to then tag people when you share it then. Or, perhaps that’s besides the point. More exposure to donation landing pages can get people thinking about donating in the first place. Now that the holiday giving season is over, and until another viral campaign like the Ice Bucket Challenge, there may be better than nothing for organizations like the Red Cross.

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