Putting a Face on Wonkiness OR Wonkiness is Cool | npENGAGE

Putting a Face on Wonkiness OR Wonkiness is Cool

By on Jul 28, 2010


Guest post by Emily Goodstein, Account Manager at Convio

Last week I adopted a wonk. His name is Matt and he loves skinny ties, cooking non-hippy meals, and enjoying televised sporting events.

No, I didn’t welcome a new member to my family, but I made a donation to OMB Watch (a Convio client doing amazing work to promote open government, accountability, and citizen participation) as part of their “Adopt a Wonk” campaign.  The campaign, which puts a personal face on a set of very “inside the beltway” issues, uses short YouTube videos and Convio donation pages to allow constituents to get to know the people behind this government oversight group.  Because of me, Matt is now able to spend time posting a blog entry on OMBWatch.org about the lack of government oversight that lead to the BP Oil Spill (you’re welcome, Matt).

The campaign may be a good fit for your organization if you’re looking for ways for constituents to learn more about you, your staff, and the issues you work on (and then feel compelled to make a donation and support you)!

Here’s how OMB Watch did it:

Short Video Interviews
The organization created short videos of their program staff and posted them to their website.
• The videos are accompanied by little pieces of personal and organization specific information.
• You may consider using an inexpensive Flip video camera (which uploads directly to your computer and comes with very easy-to-use editing software, too) to create these types of little video clips.

Cheeky and Informative Text
The little blurbs about each staff person include humorous anecdotes and important content related specifics.  Here are some examples:
• “When he’s not complaining about the heat, you’re likely to find him cooking up non-hippie meals or aggressively enjoying televised sporting events.”
• “Lee’s job is to expand the rights of nonprofits nationwide so that American citizens have the power to advocate on their own behalf.”

Concrete Use of Donations
My favorite part of the campaign is the different activities that one can support when choosing donations of different sizes.
• For $25, a donor is able to support an OMBW staffer writing a blog post about workplace safety or the BP oil spill.
• A gift of $250 allows a member of the OMBW team to testify before Congress about fiscal responsibility.

I really like the way OMBW included links to several of their advocacy campaigns in the donation options for each wonk up for adoption.  This way, a fundraising ask is also leveraging constituents to action, as well.

Other organizations have used similar tactics to put a personal face on sometimes wonky, technical, or super scientific issues.  Check out these great examples:
• Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation’s “Geek…It’s The New Chic
• Environmental Defense Fund’s “Adopt a Nerd


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