—June 2010 Guest Relations Marketing’s social media work for CURE Childhood Cancer was recently awarded the SoCon10 Excellence in Social Media Award in the non-profit category by the Center for Sustainable Journalism at Kennesaw State University.

Sponsored by the Center for Sustainable Journalism at Kennesaw State University, the SoCon10 Excellence in Social Media Award is awarded in several different categories, one being in the non-profit category.

The Center for Sustainable Journalism at Kennesaw State University has been hosting the SoCon Conference – the Southeast’s premiere annual social media and social networking conference – for the past 4 years.  SoCon10 hosted a gathering of more than 300 small business owners, bloggers, new media pros, academics and professionals from across the spectrum of marketing, public relations, and human resources.

Leonard Witt, Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable Journalism, noted, “There is a hunger for this kind of information so we will be running more targeted conferences throughout 2010.”

This is the inaugural contest of the SoCon Excellence in Social Media Award, which grew out of the need to recognize excellence and innovation in social media. The judging committee, comprised of social media experts, senior marketing executives and business leaders from around the country was coordinated by Karla Harvill, the Georgia PRSA President.

Last September, Guest Relations Marketing developed a fundraising program for CURE Childhood Cancer, our Atlanta-based non-profit client, that capitalized on National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to raise awareness and donations for CURE, in addition to honoring children who have or had childhood cancer. The initiative was called CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time – and they certainly did.

The aim of the campaign was to honor 30 kids, one for each day in the month of September, with each committed to raising $1,000 to benefit CURE Childhood Cancer.

Due to an overwhelming response from supporters, by the end of the month, the promotion had honored 57 children and raised over $170,000, which is nearly 5.5 times the goal of $30,000.  CURE was overwhelmed by the results.

We could not have anticipated what this initiative would mean to us – the staff at CURE- to the families of the children honored and remembered and to our greater community. As we began our days reading the stories of the children honored that day and we took to heart their journeys, we were changed. Employers of some of the parents of the children honored and remembered offered donations to match those raised by the family on their child’s day. Communities rallied around families as a show of support. Offers of volunteer service poured into the CURE office as strangers to the cause were awakened to the need for their support.” – Kristin Connor, Executive Director, CURE Childhood Cancer.

While the primary objective of the campaign was fundraising, the establishment of new “communities” and the dramatic increase in newsletter and social media followers was a greater outcome. CURE Childhood Cancer was introduced to literally tens of thousands of people in a personal and connected way spreading more awareness than originally thought possible.

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