social media strategy

Elements of a Successful Social Media Campaign: ONE Sermon

2 Comments 18 May 2009

The power of social media: we all want to harness it, and we are all looking for the magic formula for success. Success, of course, would be creating a campaign that moves people to act, is easily passed along, and brings members to your cause or organization. The ONE Sermon Campaign (part of ONE, the antipoverty organization co-founded by Bono) is a fine example of superb campaign planning. This campaign caught my eye and then proceeded to amaze.

What is it? It is simple and brilliant: “a call for the best, original sermons on the advocacy work we can all do to alleviate the brutal suffering caused by global poverty and preventable disease.” Simple, right?


1. A simple call to action. The first thing ONE asks you to do is ACT.

The campaign first asks leaders to write a sermon about what people can do to alleviate poverty and disease.

This is the key to the whole campaign: engaging religious leaders. Congregational leaders have an a thought podium, a willing and interested group of followers, and a speaking schedule. ONE Sermon Campaign utilizes faith-based organizing principles to move people to talk about ONE, participate in ONE campaigns and become activists.

2. Continue the campaign offline.

There are two calls to action offline: the message that the lay leaders deliver through the sermon about what individuals can do to alleviate poverty and disease, and calls to action throughout the year using a ONE Sermon Campaign’s “Action Pack.”

“Participants that send us their inspired message will receive a ONE Sabbath Action Pack, resourcing them and their local congregations with next steps to act with ONE.” In other words, leader will receive additional resources that will sustain this campaign… which will sustain ONE in people’s thoughts after the initial sermon.

3. Drive campaign participants to the campaign site. The third element involves site visitors and, ideally, congregants: “Read, watch listen to the sermons and other faith writings ONE members have already shared below.” This adds a second “touch point” for the campaign: in the house of worship and on the website. That’s two chances to engage a potential stakeholder.

4. Encourage participants to engage in the campaign on the website. ONE has added elements of opinion-sharing and voting to the campaign website: site visitors can cast votes of approval for as many sermons as they wish to support, both across and within religions. A leader might encourage congregants to visit the site and vote for his/her sermon. Here is a sample sermon that was uploaded, and has thus far received 12 votes:


From the sidebar of the Sermon Challenge blog site visitors can choose to view sermons by religious faith, and also peruse the list of the top vote-getters.


5. Time-sensitive. The campaign lasts only for the month of May. One month – enough time to give one sermon, engage people, and follow-up afterwords while the campaign is still fresh.

Here is how I imagine it playing out: lay and professional leaders write a sermon, submit sermons on site, and ask their congregants to visit the site and vote for sermons (or just read some of the other sermons uploaded). Since the campaign lasts only one month, congregants aren’t burdened with the idea of remembering to visit the site multiple times.

Because ONE captures the information of every person who submits a sermon…


…ONE would probably send each submitter an Action Pack, and follow up personally. The follow-up call would include (I imagine) offering help with the Action Pack implementation, engaging the leader in conversation, and recruiting him/her to the ONE Sabbath campaign (or another ONE campaign).

This campaign is simple and sweet: easy to participate (write a sermon), easy to upload (fill out a form), potentially viral (ask congregants to visit the site and vote, pass this idea along), and  it captures the information of people who are are already engaged and ready to act. ONE is now able to utilize these leaders for other campaigns and actions.

If the leaders and congregants are engaged they will continue to support, act, donate, and tell others about their involvement (and belief) in ONE.

What a powerful campaign strategy. I hope it works.



Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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