From the Editor...
Watching the surge of online activity in the summer of 2014 I was struck by the flood of interest in the Ice Bucket Challenge. In a world in which we throw ‘viral’ around all too often, this was a campaign that truly had become contagious. Facebook was bursting with the videos. Athletes, actors, musicians, and members of the media were participating. Even the President joined in on the fun! The impact was amazing. Funds raised in 2014, the year of the Challenge, totaled over $115 million, which far surpasses the $23.5 million raised the prior year. What is it about this campaign that connected with the people? Was it that it called on people to participate in an action that was accessible to anyone and even viewable by others? Did ALS do something in this campaign that we could better understand and teach? Was this the rise of slackivism, and was this a good or bad thing for the nonprofit? In hindsight, I wondered what and how we could specifically learn from this phenomenon. At that time, I thought back to a great book on marketing, Contagious, that I had read about a year before, and I wondered if it would be possible to get the author, Jonah Berger, to help me understand these questions and more. When he agreed, we started bringing this issue into focus. This issue is geared to the nonprofit that is inquisitive, the leaders who are asking good questions, the people who want to know more about why some things work and others don’t. In this issue we explore the models that are leading real change in education, homelessness, storytelling, and many other important causes. Through this issue, we want to prompt you to ask some deep questions and pursue the answers: What is it that makes ideas and practices spread? What makes a marketing campaign for one nonprofit flop, and one go viral? What is it about an event, story, or medium that causes people to wake up and take notice, and what makes it fade away? May your work become contagious as you impact many! Todd Greer
6 I Nonprofit Performance Magazine
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