Accepting Bucky’s Challenge

Last week, University of Wisconsin—Madison and the Wisconsin Alumni Association launched a social media challenge aimed to not only increase the visibility of the organizations’ public profile, but also to raise money for UW’s needs-based scholarship fund, Great People Scholarship.

For every new Facebook “like” and Twitter follower the two organizations receive, the university will receive $1 toward Great People Scholarship. The effort is being undertaken by Wisconsin alumnus Will Hsu, his wife Jenny, and his parents, Paul and Sharon. The Hsu family will donate $1 to the Great People Scholarship for every follower or like, up to $50,000. The campaign ends Monday, Oct. 3, 2011.

“We’re trying to make sure people stay connected,” says Will Hsu, who majored in finance, Chinese languages and literature, and East Asian Studies and graduated from UW-Madison in 2000. He is a senior finance manager at General Mills in Minneapolis and a frequent blogger who makes good use of Twitter.

“The growth of social media has really changed the world,” he says. “In the last few years, Jenny and I have watched Facebook and Twitter and some of these other types of social media take off. I think it’s a powerful way for younger alums and current students to get connected and stay connected with the university.”

Social media campaigns like this one have the potential to be extremely successful. They require almost no financial investment and can spread like crazy through social media outlets. However, UW does have a definite advantage over your typical business. Its already high profile gives it a larger platform in which to spread the word. Media outlets are much more likely to pick up on a story like this from a major university, rather than from a small car dealership, or the like.

That said, I’d say the relatively simple Bucky Challenge has already been successful. As I write, it has already raised $12,682 and counting.

UW—Madison: facebook.com/UWMadison; @uwmadison

WAA: facebook.com/buckybadger; @buckybadger

September 23, 2011 · Posted by in marketing, social media  

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