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At15 Follow-Up

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Fan Fan

on 26 April 2010

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Transcript of At15 Follow-Up

The At15 Competition Our Strategies What Worked.... Other Teams' Strats Other Strats...From Professionals Next Year Behind the Scenes at 121Reach The Competition By now you're probably pretty familiar with the At15 Community Impact Challenge... Best Buy & Ashoka's Youth Venture selected 15 finalists from teams of youth-run and founded nonprofits all across the nation. These 15 teams then had the chance to compete for votes to see who had the greatest community impact and long-term sustainability. Anyone with access to the internet could vote by logging in to At15.com. Everyone got 2 votes a day, but were not required to use both votes. You could vote every day! 121Reach was super lucky and excited to be one of the 15 finalists... and later one of 5 grand prize winners of $5000! How did we do it? We'll show you around behind the scenes :) Super-voters! Supervoters are people who vote for us every day. All of us 121Reach officers sent an email out to everyone on our mailing lists, asking them to help us out and vote. We also asked teachers, friends, family, and random people to become supervoters. We added these people to an email database (made from a google spreadsheet) YES! It was important to be brave, since many of us didn't even know or still talk to half the people we asked to vote. Of course some people turned us down... but most were very nice and supportive! This was a good start in getting votes. Captains Our "Captains"were officers and officer applicants who were in charge of the competition. Every captain had to get at least 15 super-voters and contribute to 121's efforts to win the competition. We also had a captain competition to see who could get the most super-voters. Captains would record their supervoters on the spreadsheet. Did it work? Did it work? The competition worked a lot better with current officers than the officer applicants. Susmita, Sara and Lydia were super competitive with getting the most supervoters, but most other people weren't. Perhaps the problem with this was that officer applicants did not have as much experience with gmail and spreadsheets. Did it work? For the most part... Some people were obviously more passionate about this than others. I think having captains helped us more with seeing who would make good officers than with actually winning the competition. Reminder Emails We sent supervoters daily reminders to vote. Did it work? Most people loved the emails! Our assistant principal Mr. Crotsley said "The emails are great! The links make it easy to just click and vote."
Our riddles added variety to the emails, and our voters loved trying to figure out the riddles. We always recognized anyone who solved our puzzle in the next day's email.
We also used inspirational rhetoric to fire people up about voting and getting others to vote.
You can imagine that some people ended up getting annoyed...but that was alright, because we just took them off the mailing list. There were also very few people (about 7 out of hundreds) who asked to be taken off. Voting Stations
We set up stations at lunch in the cafeteria with laptops and candy for an incentive. At first we just went around the cafeteria asking people to vote, and then handed them candy. Lydia had a smarter idea -- she poured the candy out all over the table. After that tons of people swarmed by. Stefan made a special webpage that simplified the voting and registration process. We got about 30 people a day this way What was much more helpful was Mr. Folkins's voting stations in the library. He blocked off all the computers so that no one could use a computer unless they first voted. He also reserved a fourth of the computers for voting purposes only. We had about 100 new people sign up a day with this method. When whole classes and homerooms voted in the computer labs, we got at least 20 people per class. Thank you so much to the teachers who let us use some class time to vote! All in all, voting stations were very helpful because it was actually showing someone how to vote and not just telling them. This was much more effective than anything else in actually getting people to register and vote.

However, we found that certain venues worked better than others. I went to my Chinese school in hopes of getting support from the Chinese community my dad is heavily involved in. Unfortunately, it was really difficult to explain to Chinese adults the voting process, and I ended up getting 3 supervoters in 2 hours.... Labs/media center full of kids quick with computers helped us out the most Fliers Youth Venture provided fliers which was nice. However, their fliers didn't have instructions on how to vote...and it was pretty difficult to figure out how to register and vote. Susmita made fliers with explicit directions to solve this problem. This is what we learned about fliers: they're only effective if you follow up with who you give a flier to. Otherwise, people will lose that sheet of paper and you'll never hear from them again.
Facebook Facebook was probably the most helpful out of all the social networking sites...but it still wasn't GREAT in getting us votes. Pretty much, facebook helped us reach all the people who never check their email or whose email we didn't have. It was a good resource, but we didn't really take advantage of it, and that's where the problem occurred. Video Youth Venture let us have video profiles this year. We could have up to 2 minutes of screen time to explain our organization and our plans for the future. Chad made an awesome video for us, but in reality the videos didn't garner too many votes. We realized this when teams with very home-made looking videos dominated teams with a lot more professional looking videos. What helped a lot more was just using your networks! Networks Our networks were probably the most useful resource. The teams' achievements and videos might have attracted some outside voters, but for the most part our support came from family, friends, and the community. Chattahoochee High School & Taylor Road were incredibly supportive, especially Mr. Folkins and Ms. White. Mr. Folkins blocked off the media center until people voted, and he sent messages to media specialists all over the state. Ms. White wrote a news report for all Fulton County schools and set up voting stations for 8th graders in the Taylor Road Media Center. Other Teams' Strategies Block Voting One strategy other teams used that we didn't was "block voting." Here's how it works: Since every voter gets 2 votes a day, Team A had all their supporters vote for them and Team B. Team B would then have all their supporters vote for Team B and Team A. This strategy propelled some teams up several ranks -- teams that had previously gotten only 400 votes a day were now getting 800! Other teams also wrote press releases asking their community to vote. Some appeared on local news networks. Unfortunately, it was harder for us to get those resources because we have not had as much previous fame as the other teams. These resources also took significantly longer...we wouldn't be published before the end of the competition. Newspapers, Radio, TV Why Online Voting? Helps youth get more involved in social change
Lets other people show their appreciation for your organization by supporting you
Helps youth be involved in democratic processes early
Gives teens a chance to consider moral questions in online campaigns
Gets the word out about your organization
All about the average citizen getting his/her opinions out about a cause All teams agreed that showing people, and not just telling, was the best way to get votes.
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