Our School Needs: Microsoft-Bing and DonorsChoose.org
In May 2009 Microsoft unveiled Bing, the company’s new generation of search. Although off to a solid start, the company knew it was critical to maintain top of mind with consumers and differentiate their brand. The goal of engaging consumers guided Bing in creating the framework for their programs focusing on kids’ education and a partnership with DonorsChoose.org
A spotlight of this partnership was “Our School Needs” (OSN), a cause-related contest designed to support kids’ education by inviting participants to tell the story of what their school needs with videos, pictures and an essay. Participating schools competed for monetary prizes, and the voting round generated donations to DonorsChoose.org.
OSN utilized social media as a means for mobilizing consumers and driving word of mouth using new tactics like Twitter parties and Blog Tours in addition to a cause blog, playlist on YouTube and a contest webinar.
Additional online tactics included developing a Teacher Incentive program with DonorsChoose.org, which enabled teachers to spread the word by using a customized tracking link for their personal Teacher Page to track the donations or code redemptions they drove. Prizes were awarded for the most participants on one page. Over 422 teachers participated in the incentive and drove 6,926 redemptions to 565 projects.
After the OSN prizes were awarded, Bing launched a Double Your Impact campaign with DonorsChoose.org, to help schools that submitted entries to OSN but were not determined winners. Bing committed $200,000 to help fully fund projects from these schools – once a qualifying project was half funded, Bing donated the remaining half.
As part of the total OSN program impact, Bing funded 2,711 public school classroom projects in all 50 states, affecting 252,974 students.
Judges gave high marks to this campaign for its goal-exceeding results and schooled use of existing technology assets to bolster the initiative and showcase their new-to-market product. Also unique was Bing’s decision to even the playing field by their use of editorial picks to allow unsung heroes to graduate to final rounds.