Crowdsourcing for America's Children

How to use a popular marketing tool to do good

By Published on .

Crowdsourcing is a hot topic in marketing circles these days.

It's been used to create ads for iconic brands such as Harley-Davidson and Doritos. Procter & Gamble used it to shape the products it sells. And successful companies such as Threadless have made it the basis of their entire business model.

But we think crowdsourcing's most powerful potential lies beyond selling cheese-flavored chips and ironic T-shirts. This is why our organization and a dozen other national child advocacy groups are using crowdsourcing to develop a national strategy for the healthy growth and development of every child in America. The National Movement for America's Children believes that , as a nation, we must develop and implement a clear strategy and set of actions that provide for healthy child development for all children. In doing so, we will reduce the likelihood of unhealthy childhood experiences and help address the $104 billion our country spends each year when we fail to prevent child abuse and neglect.

Developing such a strategy through crowdsourcing is where the National Movement is leading the way. We aren't developing another top-down set of policies. We're enlisting the help of 3.7 million Facebook fans, a Twitter hashtag campaign and real, amateur video captures, as well as virtual and actual town hall sessions -- all centered on asking the entire country to help shape the strategy. Until Nov. 6 -- exactly one year before the 2012 election -- Movement members and partners will be hosting town hall sessions and logging onto to sign up and contribute their answers to what we refer to as "The Big Question": How can we ensure that every child has an equal opportunity for healthy growth and development?

The effort began with a teaser video, seeded through social media channels, that argues that there's one thing we can do as a country to address many of society's most challenging issues, including the economy, public health, addiction, education challenges, crime -- even national security. The solution requires a national awakening, but the video does not disclose to what we need to awaken.

On July 21, we introduced an online pledge calling for the country to establish a comprehensive national strategy for children -- to awaken to the need for a clear, measurable approach to child development for every child. This is being followed by a massive effort to aggregate and synthesize the responses into a cohesive national strategy for our children. This listening and dialogue will occur on the pledge site, on social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook, and in live town hall events throughout the country. The effort culminates Nov. 6 when we'll hold a rally to roll out this crowdsourced in Washington, D.C.

For too long we have overpromised and underdelivered for many of America's children. We know people care, and we know people have ideas and want to participate. After all, this is an issue that affects every single American, whether they realize it or not.

We love crowdsourcing for Super Bowl creative and innovative marketing, but we cannot imagine a better use of crowdsourcing than helping our country provide every child with healthy growth and development. We hope -- and America's children hope -- you'll agree.

Jim Hmurovich is president-CEO, Prevent Child Abuse America.
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