I don’t know where you sit on the Facebook fence. And I certainly don’t know if you prefer Pepsi over Coca-Cola. Perhaps neither is your cup of tea. But here’s something at least worth giving the taste-test.
Maybe I can whet your appetite with the fact that oodles of money is being given away courtesy of the Pepsi Refresh Project. Could your dream project use some money? Want to imbibe? Read on.
As we saw a few posts back in Garden Club Salon—Lowe’s Gives to Environmental Charities—we had an opportunity to vote—online—to decide the distribution of grant money for four large non-profit organizations. Essentially, this is the popularity contest approach at work.
I’ve seen this manner of fundraising increase—use of social media, online presence, ‘viral’ branding by voting, increasing corporate website ‘views’. In fact it is becoming the norm. There are win-win-win aspects to it. In fact, our youngest readers may know no other way of boosting support and getting grant monies!
Social networking is directly or indirectly utilized to get friends and supporters to vote, lots of cross-pollination marketing going on. Certainly there’s the marketing of a product that goes along for the ride in exchange for giving away a lot of money. But what I like about these races is the potential for the good-cause group to promote and drum up excitement for their creative community project idea. If the group gains the grant money, they are going to need this continued enthusiasm and participation to follow through.
So far, 352 ideas have been funded with Pepsi Refresh 14,545,000 dollars. (Someone out there has been drinking a lot of Pepsi for a long time!) If you know of a budding project in your locale that needs some start-up money, why not forward the Pepsi Refresh Project link and suggest applying.
What is also ”refreshing” to see with the Pepsi Refresh Project is that these substantial awards are given out on a monthly basis. And many of the applications are for very simple, local and grassroots causes—things like a greenhouse roof repair, youth theater, gaps in school library book collections, playgrounds, needed musical instruments, community gardens. All are garnering $5000 rewards—that is, if they’ve been able to draw in the votes and encourage supporters to go back and vote once a day.
The ventures must benefit a community or group within the U.S., the project must be completed within the following 12 months, and individual applicants must be over 13 years old. Each month, up to $1.3 million will be awarded as follows: 2 Grants at the $250,000 level; 10 Grants at the $50,000 level; 10 Grants at the $25,000 level; and 10 Grants at the $5,000 level. Project applications fall into the following categories: Health, Arts & Culture, Food & Shelter, the Planet, Neighborhoods, and Education.
Get this: “If your idea is not approved, Pepsi Refresh will try to be as specific as possible about why it was rejected, so you can try again with another project [or re-submit]. And, if it’s the kind of idea we believe in, but needs some help, we might even contact you directly to help you revise it.”
Take your basic idea and turn it into a qualifying application. If you can muster up some patience to wade through some web pages and do some scrolling up and down, lots of helpful suggestions are to be found at the Pepsi Refresh website. Eventual award is based on the number of votes received from anyone willing to either sign in at the Pepsi website or vote through Facebook. Then, as the applicant, monitor how your votes are doing, right online.
I repeat. It is up to you to get the word out, garnering the necessary votes. Do what you have to do to get folks to vote repeatedly each day: by phoning them, e-mailing, Twitter-ing them, begging Grandma, knocking on computer laptops, using related websites and, of course, via your own Facebook page. Passivity and waiting won’t bring the votes in. If you win a grant, be sure to maintain the momentum of that support, don’t let up on the communications. P.S. Thank you notes are always nice.
Mind you, I have not gone through this application process myself with any of my own pet brainstorms, but I will tell you that as of this writing 3,183,856 people have “liked” the Pepsi project. And in the time it took me to write this article 3,379 more people joined! That’s pretty popular, Pepsi.
Dare I say “be there or be square?” Might just beat stuffing and licking envelopes.
Here it is again: Pepsi Refresh Project
Nancy R. Peck