Does the name “Siku” ring a bell? If it doesn’t, then it should! Siku is the name of an internationally-recognized polar bear cub being raised in a Scandinavian wildlife park. I recently became a HUGE fan of this little guy and I was intrigued by Polar Bears International, the foundation that runs the research program for polar bears (so much so, in fact, that I donated after only 5 minutes of being the site).
Why did I donate so quickly? Because Polar Bears International knew how to catch my attention! They are a perfect example of how to get noticed and stay that way.
Polar Bears International believes that if “[w]e know if we can assure the survival of the polar bear— the creature in most immediate peril from climate change and pollutants— we’ll have created a better planet for all its flora, fauna, water, and air.” The level of organization and effort that goes into this site is impressive.
What is most interesting about Polar Bears International (PBI) is not only what it supports, but also the effort behind the fundraising. From a consumer’s or a business owner’s standpoint, it’s a good takeaway to see how to run a foundation or business and remain in the public’s eye.
For starters, PBI’s networking is very meticulous and comprehensive. They have a donation program (which is essential) and they make it simple and easy to use. Their outreach sets them apart from a lot of other research and conservation efforts because they don’t just spam your inbox with petitions. They are part of a huge social network that’s linked with other various international foundations.
They also keep their social media news and updates consistent. If you want to sustain attention, then start by keeping the public informed and involved in everything. PBI is so involved with keeping information accessible that they even state their intent on their press room page: “We welcome all media inquiries. Our Library of news, facts, film footage, and photos is at your disposal. We’ve tried to anticipate your needs and requirements— from captions to contacts.” Keeping potential customers or donors informed with easy-to-use resources is key to positive feedback and keeping a consistent and positive presence!
Polar Bear International also strives to maintain a symbiotic relationship by involving people with special events — such as Bands for Polar Bears — which featured multiple bands who helped raise money for the cause. This event was offered via livestream, so any donor with an internet connection could be a part of it. They pride themselves on inspiring people to learn and explore, and that is very important to this kind of work. They emphasize the importance of making us, the everyday consumers, the most important resource.
How else does PBI get people involved and informed? Here’s a kicker: they recently launched a live webcam where you can view little Siku growing up right in your own home…which is way too cute to ignore! Having this type of interactive media makes the donors and potential donors feel like they are involved in their efforts. It also brings the media’s attention back time and time again. This is essential to a successful outreach because it keeps awareness current. “At the end of last year, Explore.org broadcasted the Arctic migration of the polar bears. A reported quarter of a million hours of video was watched on the site globally” talk about being noticed! With the vast crowded space of social networking it is important not to fade away. If you make the mistake of fading in the background and become internet white noise, you have already lost the public’s attention.
The director of Explore (explore.org), Charlie Annenberg Weingarten, was quoted by Mashable saying: “My belief is that if you see the natural world you live in, you will fall in love with it and want to become a better custodian for it. We’re hoping these cameras can bring people together in a global place. Hopefully these animals will do the heavy lifting for humanity.”
What do you think? Is that a logical goal? And what do you think of Polar Bears International’s efforts?