Can ‘spokesbaby’ help crisis nursery stand out on Give to the Max Day?

Courtesy of the Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery
The nursery held a Facebook voting contest to pick a spokesbaby from among 12 tiny candidates. Baby Siobhan emerged victorious.

A Minneapolis nonprofit is hoping that a “spokesbaby” named Siobhan will help it stand out in the crowd when Give to the Max Day hits Minnesota on Thursday.

The annual 24-hour orgy of online giving has been a huge success by any measure, resulting last year in more than $15 million in donations to more than 4,200 nonprofits.

And that’s the problem, said Joel Bergstrom, development and communications director for the Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery.

“The broad attention to giving by electronic means is great. But it’s hard for small and midsized nonprofits to break through the noise, because everyone is doing it,” Bergstrom said. “Everyone’s Facebook feed is blowing up throughout all this. But if everyone’s doing it, the bigger players will have the bigger chance.

“So the question we posed is: Is it possible for us, as a midsized nonprofit, to be the tree that’s seen through the forest?”

The nursery put its plan in motion earlier this fall with a Facebook voting contest to pick a spokesbaby from among 12 tiny candidates. More than 1,000 votes were cast.

Then the nursery recruited some of the Twin Cities’ top video production talent to donate their skills for the production of four 30-second spots starring Siobhan. The production team includes Bill Kruse, Drive Thru TV, NUTS Ltd. and Broadview Studio.

The spokesbaby spots will be pushed out through social media on Give to the Max Day; the hope is that they’ll be compelling enough that people will want to share them widely. You can watch one of the spots here.

“This is a day when, for good or for bad, people are forced to pay attention to philanthropy and online giving,” Bergstrom said. “Can we be the tree that’s seen through the forest? We’re not sure it’s possible.

“But we’ve given ourselves a chance. These videos will stand out on a day when it’s hard to stand out.”

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