ACLU: Stand for Rights. Stand for Freedom

Exhibited by
Paul de Gregorio
July 26, 2017
Medium of Communication
Social media, digital
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Human rights
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
March 31st 2017

SOFII’s view

When contacted by the American Civil Liberties Union only weeks before a massive telethon, which would be hosted on Facebook and make use of the brand new Facebook Donate system, Open America were handed a massive job with very little time to execute it. The way Paul and his team responded shows initiative and willingness to be bold and daring and to work with new technologies and methods. 

They also rebranded the event, coming up with an holistic fundraising strategy that maximised the potential of social media, the reach of celebrity endorsers and the inherent justice of the cause. This approach paid off handsomely in terms of donations and reach, and paves the way for other organisations interested in exploring platforms like Facebook Live and systems like Facebook Donate. The potential is massive!

Summary / objectives

Ahead of a major telethon featuring celebrity callers to be hosted on Facebook Live, the American Civil Liberties Union turned to Open to implement a fundraising strategy that would match this groundbreaking event in terms of visibility and effectiveness.


ACLU wanted to hold the first major telethon to be hosted on Facebook Live and the first to use the brand new Facebook Donate functionality. With a wealth of celebrities ready to host the event, they needed some help with the fundraising and that’s where Open Creates came in.

Creator / originator

Open Creates

Special characteristics

Paul de Gregorio from Open flew with his team over to New York just weeks before the event. Before leaving he asked a friend who works in TV for advice. She said ‘show no fear’ and ‘anything is possible’. How right she was. In the 10 days between landing and the show starting the team achieved an incredible amount. 

  • They rebranded the event.
  • They created the fundraising proposition.
  • They wrote all of the on-screen calls to action.
  • They created and executed a social media strategy.
  • They planned and managed the deployment of all the payments methods used.
  • They created and executed a celebrity outreach strategy.
  • They planned a series of post-event journeys to transition telethon donors to ACLU supporters.
  • They were the first to fuse Facebook Live and Facebook Donate in a major telethon.

It was a positive experience not just for ACLU, who benefited from Paul and his team’s expertise, but also for the Open folk, who learned so much along the way:

  • The Open team created a fundraising proposition that became the framework that the writers wrapped the comedy in the show around. They didn’t even edit it.
  • They worked with Facebook, the Huffington Post, Donor Services Group, the Mobile Giving Foundation and a bunch of other partners to make the fundraising real.
  • They wrote tweets and status updates for Tom Hanks, Usher, Katy Perry and other celebrities.
  • They wrote all the calls to action for all the A-list talent to deliver. 
  • They conceived, produced, executed and optimised all paid social activity for the week.
  • They managed the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter communities. 
  • They directed the fundraising when the show was live in terms of what to ask for and when, responding in real time to the show and fundraising results.
  • They learned a huge amount about the potential for Facebook Live as a fundraising tool and not just for a telethon – the experience in New York City opened everyone’s eyes to the phenomenal tool that Facebook has created..
  • They got experience in using Facebook Donate. 

Influence / impact

The Facebook page grew from 1,000 likes to 26,000 likes in days – getting a reach of over four million people.


3.2 million views on the night of the telethon. The ACLU raised over $500,000. And this great comparison: the total donations via PSMS came to $19,940 from 2919 gifts, an average of $6.80 per gift; in contrast, the total via Facebook Donate was $259,053 from 6000 gifts, an average therefore of $43.