Experience Project Launches BroadCause, Putting Social Media to Work for Charitable Causes—and the Corporations Backing Them

4/5/11Follow @wroush

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tweet about a new charity every Thursday; the idea was to help non-profits like the Lance Armstrong Foundation gain followers and raise money. Twitcause itself eventually grew to be one of the most-followed accounts on Twitter.

“When they realized they could engage people on causes, it evolved into BroadCause,” says Jackson, who joined the company this February. Executives at Experience Project figured that the same tools the company had built to promote Twitcause causes and track their spread through the social media world could help any non-profit—and could also be used to highlight brand messages. Which filled a need in the corporate world, Jackson says: “They’ve been dealing with charities all these years, but there was no way to expose that.”

[Corrected 4/5/11 9:25 a.m.] Through the Experience Project site and its Twitter followers, BroadCause can reach roughly 1.8 million people in a single day, Jackson says. For companies trying to get the word out, exploiting this grassroots network can be far more cost-effective than other strategies such as hiring celebrity spokespeople, Jackson argues. He says American Express paid Ellen DeGeneres hundreds of thousands of dollars to tweet about the Members Project in 2010; Ellen’s 329 tweets reached a total of 5.5 million people. At BroadCause, nearly 5,000 people retweeted AmEx’s messages about the program, reaching 5.7 million people, all at a cost of $75,000, according to Jackson. “It’s far more engaging to work with a community that has deep roots,” he says.

Experience Project members have left 8 million “experiences” on the site, ranging from a single sentence to essay length, according to Berjikly. “Every one of them has a host of people who have had that experience and are passionate about it. In replicating that across the spectrum, we got a strong sense that we could evolve this platform into a hub for doing good.” And if venture-backed Experience Project charges corporations for access to that hub, community members aren’t going to complain, he says. “Our users realize we need to keep the lights on,” he says. “They don’t hold any grudges against us for being a company.”

Experience Project prepared this video about Broadcause:

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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