On the Edge Campaign of the Year: New York Public Library
"Don't Close the Book on Libraries"
Submitted by Convio
✔ The Numbers
Recipients: 130,000 letters sent
Response rate: 2.6 million hits on YouTube
Total cost: N/A
Income generated: $144,000
Let's face it, sticking with the traditional best practices is the safe — and often smart — bet. So it's a risky proposition for an organization to run a campaign that's "on the edge." Yet that's exactly what New York Public Library did with the help of Convio for its "Don't Close the Book on Libraries" campaign.
The City of New York announced a $37 million proposed city budget cut to the libraries last year, a proposal that threatened to cripple NYPL. So NYPL asked Improv Everywhere to video a prank at the library's iconic Rose Main Reading Room, which was featured in the movie "Ghostbusters." Improv Everywhere's "Who You Gonna Call?" YouTube video featured the Ghostbusters returning to the library 26 years later.
The video spread like wild fire. It had 2.6 million views (now more than 4.4 million), and more than 75,000 unique visitors went to the campaign website. The message urged supporters to write city officials. In the end, 130,000 letters were sent to City Council, and ultimately, $27 million of the proposed $37 million cut was restored in the budget.
"The guerilla move of the viral YouTube hit alone makes NYPL a perfect candidate [for this award]," Convio's Blair Naylor says.
The judges agreed. "I really loved this campaign," Dane Grams said. "It was so great to see the little guy take on the big guy and have such success — and to do it in such a creative way."
— Joe Boland, senior editor of FundRaising Success
Related story: Going for the Gold