7/18/11 1:40 PMNonprofits Find Creative Ways to Reach Young Adults - Ideas & Advice -…hilanthropy- Connecting the nonprofit world with news, jobs, and ideasPage 2 of 5http://philanthropy.com/article/Nonprofits-Find-Creative-Ways/127998/
That approach should spread throughout nonprofits, says WhitMcLaughlin, artistic director of New Paradise.“In the nonprofit world, we have this idea that you create a productand then hire people to go out and sell it,” Mr. McLaughlin says What makes more sense, he says, is when “the people who arecreating the product are marketing it because they know moreabout it and are passionate about it. [Otherwise], you are getting anintermediary and you are getting watered-down news.”
A Virtual Drama
To kick off the creation of Fatebook, Mr. McLaughlin broughttogether the actors who played Anita, Darren, Clayton, and theirfriends. Over dinner, they discussed how their characters might berelated.They then assumed their characters’ identities online, made datesto meet one another in character offline, and started mingling withone another and with their real-life friends on Facebook. Over thecourse of several months, their communications, their attractions,and their drama came to define them, and more than 120 of theironline followers assumed fictional characters and becamesecondary players in their made-up lives. And when New Paradise finally held a live multimedia performance based on the online and real-time experiences of the Fatebook characters, some 1,300 people, mostly in their 20s, showed up toexperience it.
While it might be easy for an experimental theater to create a work in an entirely new way, leaders of established nonprofitorganizations may wonder whether they can easily tip their culturesto reach people in their 20s.But some of the consumer companies profiled in the study face thesame challenge as the most venerable nonprofit. Among them was the Ford Motor Company, which used theintroduction of the Ford Fiesta to test new ways to reach young car buyers.In the past, Ford unveiled a new model at a major auto show,giving it to critics to test and spending millions of dollars ontelevision and print advertising.