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Carebnb – 4 lessons learned from the Airbnb ebola spoof

In a very strange move this is my second blog post in as many days about a non-profit spoof Airbnb website. My post yesterday looked at lessons learned from Barnardo’s interesting #Carebandb campaign. Their campaign highlights the often squalid living conditions many care leavers face. One of my major concerns with the campaign was the fact that we’ve already seen a charity Airbnb spoof this month – #Carebnb.

Confused much? I was.

Founded by two social entrepreneus, #Carebandb #Carebnb invites users to ‘book a night’ in one of Carebnb’s hosted accommodations. You’re actually donating a night of care and treatment on behalf of someone affected by the ebola virus in countries where care is limited, medical volunteers lack training and basic necessities are severely lacking. Run by The Believe.in Trust, 100% of your donation through Carebnb is re-granted to Médecins sans Frontières, first responders combating the virus. Funds will go towards helping them replenish supplies, train staff and deploy more tents to serve rapidly increasing numbers of victims.

So what are the fundraising, campaigning and social media lessons learned from this campaign?

1. Mix real stories with spoof content to give maximum impact

Carebnb listing pages serve to show the stark differences between treatment facilities in the US and Spain versus those in West Africa. The reviews, real verbatim quotes from press interviews, highlight significant problems such as accessibility, capacity constraints, lack of information, healthcare revolts and economic & social isolation. These real-life snippets hammer home the reality of the situation. All the photos and names of hosts and reviewers have been purchased from stock photography libraries or are licensed under creative commons. This mix of real stories with spoof content works incredibly well.

 

2.Don’t just focus on the ’cause’ – think about the individuals involved

One of the features that excited me the most was the opportunity to learn more about my ‘hosts’ – the doctors and nurses fighting ebola. The problem is when I click on Marco or James & Camilla’s profiles on the front page I’m simply taken in to one of the five spoof listings. This is a minor criticism but the user-experience could have been much richer and I could have learnt more about the treatment process had those links clicked through to Airbnb-style host profiles of those nurses and doctors.

 

3. Social media shouldn’t be an afterthought

One of my criticisms of the Barnardo’s Carebandb site was the lack of social sharing options anywhere on the site. While Carebnb manages to fit in a Like, Tweet and G+ Share bar at the top of each page, the message you’re prompted to share is generic (see below). It would have been great if pre-populated share text was tied in to individual listings on the site. For example, if I’m on the Sierra Leone page then my tweet might read ‘check out this incredible Sierra Leone listing on #Carebnb http://www.carebnb.io/rooms/sierra-leone’.

 

4. Taking action needs to be incredibly simple

One of my favourite elements of the site is that big red ‘donate now’ button (below). It is virtually a carbon copy of the ‘request to book’ button on Airbnb (above). Working in tandem with the spoof listing page itself you feel compelled to click. The button is well placed and the donation process is incredibly simple.

Anything I’ve missed? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Carebnb campaign.

 

Speak to us about developing a spoof website for your next campaign

 

Connecting Scotland’s digital community

On Friday night I attended the wonderful Digital Britain Unconference Scotland organised by Craig McGill. Twenty three people crammed into a private area of The Living Room, Glasgow, to discuss the future of the internet in Scotland. Some pretty interesting topics were covered, from broadband access across rural areas to the proliferation of social media. Sarah Drummond gives a great summary of the main points on her blog. This conveniently allows me to be rather lazy and not write too much on a Sunday afternoon. I also stole the photograph above from her blog too, making me doubly lazily.

Andy Bright has posted a very interesting post-unconference video on his blog, discussing disconnection and disparity within the Scottish digital community. I’m particularly interested in his idea of aggregating all of the information spilling out of existing online communities into one hub. This could save an enormous amount of time, save duplication and ultimately be cost-effective.

So what do others think, is the hub concept proposed by Andy the way forward?

Third Sector Forums Beta Launch

Today is Social Enterprise Day…hooray!

To celebrate Social Enterprise Day, I’m very happy to announce the beta launch of Third Sector Forums. A new friendly online community for UK charity professionals, volunteers and social entrepreneurs.

The forums are a place for people to network, learn, debate and discuss third sector issues. Categories include funding, fundraising, governance, legal issues, internet, marketing, campaigns, social enterprise and more. While the forums are third sector focused, private and public professionals are welcome too. The forums are 100% free to use and run by volunteers.

Importantly, they’re going to be user-led, so if you hate the colourscheme enough we’ll change it. If you think the categories are crap, we’ll change them. You get the picture.

The forums were founded by me, so yes this is a shameless plug. I’ve been working hard on developing the forums for a while but they really would not exist without private sector support. The purchase of the forum software was sponsored by Sure Languages. The wonderful Third Sector Forums and Third Sector Lab logos and various graphical elements across the website were created by Nothing Does graphic design and branding consultancy. Last, but by no means least, Clear Blue Designs provided the professional forum set-up and design as well as ongoing technical support and hosting. 

Hopefully see you on the forums soon.

An intro to the Lab

From your local bowling club or community hall to the latest celebrity endorsed idea that will supposedly change the world. Third Sector Lab looks at volunteering, charities and social enterprise. The blog isn’t just for people working or volunteering in the third sector. I hope to show people where their donations go and cast a critical eye over the big issues being tackled by the sector. 

The Lab wouldn’t look nearly as fancy schmancy if it wasn’t for the help of Nothing Does graphic design and branding consultancy. They worked their magic and transformed the site from Derek Punsalan’s original Unstandard theme into what you see today.

Let the gibberish commence!