President’s Message

President’s Message

I’d heard about it from family and read about it in a few newspapers, but I hadn’t gone to look at the current phenomenon of the Harlem Shake. So I went and looked.

Students. Astronauts. Cartoons. Athletes. Seemingly everyone is doing the Harlem Shake. And those of us who aren’t, are waiting for the bass to drop on the next video. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please Google Harlem Shake).

It’s a series of home-made videos with citizens (of every kind) – some who stay still and others who groove to the song, Harlem Shake. Some people are under water, some people have masks. Who knows where it will end…

The first video went up on February 2nd and since then numerous related videos have been viewed over 175 million times. Yes… 175 million times!

Here are a few things we might all learn when we try to make the next viral sensation:

  1. Make it easy to be imitated
  2. Allow the theme/meme to be something that others can alter and use their own approach but still stay true and connected to the original piece of content
  3. Find musical/popular culture connections
  4. Build anticipation in the short time you have
  5. Make it fun

Now what would I add for our sector:

  1. Make it a contest with voting on the best video to get people further engaged
  2. Make the prize something related to mission e.g. a trip to where you do good work
  3. Make every view, like, and share a chance to capture contact information
  4. Make sure you can follow up, and convert, your very own ‘Harlem Shake’-like followers to donors

There’s no magic viral video recipe but studying the likes of the Harlem Shake just might help us learn how to build a huge audience for next to nothing… It’s a secret that every charity wants to crack.


posted on Feb 27

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