IWITOT 2020: Sweet Farm’s Goat 2 Meeting

Exhibited by
Joshua Leigh, digital marketer and campaigner.
Added
September 10, 2020
Medium of Communication
Online
Target Audience
All donors
Type of Charity
Animals
Country of Origin
USA
Date of first appearance
2020

SOFII’s view

We love a fun campaign at SOFII, and this one allowing donors to bring a goat or sheep to a Zoom meeting ticks all the right boxes. But it’s also a hugely timely appeal. It was created in response to the coronavirus outbreak and the terrible impact that the pandemic had on Sweet Farm in California. Sweet Farm’s campaign is a great example of how to react cleverly in a crisis and we think more charities should try being bold and innovative during these difficult times. 

Background

Over the last few months, the coronavirus has shut down public life, forcing many businesses to close and, unfortunately, many animal sanctuaries too. But one very tech-savvy farm in California saw this as an opportunity to get creative.

Summary / objectives

For a donation of USD$100, Sweet Farm in California will dial one of their goats into your next Zoom call. It’s called Goat 2 Meeting, and it’s taking the world by storm. Oh, and it’s not just goats.

Special characteristics

For donations ranging from USD$65 to USD$250, you could have a goat, a sheep, some pigs, a few cows, a turkey or – the most popular choice – a llama, dial into your call. They’re even offering virtual tours of the farm and virtual field trips for school children stuck at home. Goat 2 Meeting really is one of the best pieces of reactive, innovative and audience-led fundraising I’ve ever seen.

It’s reactive in two different ways:

  1. It’s reactive internally because, in the face of the coronavirus, Sweet Farm lost a huge source of funding. They rely on money from public visits and school trips, and the US lockdown really hit them hard. But they jumped straight into action which is something that not every non-profit can do well, regardless of how big or small they are.
  2. Not only that, but this campaign is a reaction to the needs of a suddenly disrupted audience. Sweet Farm clearly had their finger on the pulse. They watched habits change, and they saw the sudden flood of people to Zoom. And they put two and two together.

Quite literally, they put two and two together. They took two existing things – goats, video conferencing – and brought them together in a way that was surprising and delightful. 

They re-imagined a new way to use the tools they already had, and they got a minimum viable product [or MVP] to market as quickly as possible.

And what’s more, their donors didn’t have to install or upgrade anything, they just had to do what they were already doing: sitting through hours and hours of mind-numbing Zoom calls. This has such a low barrier to entry, and such a high reward for the audience.

Sweet Farm has delivered a fundraising product that truly taps into the zeitgeist and meets people where they are, not just by joining their video calls, but by seeing where the audience is emotionally and offering the right kind of product at the right time. What’s really clear is that this campaign isn’t fuelled by KPIs, OKRs or target average gifts - it’s fuelled by empathy and creativity.

Results

The campaign has had loads of mainstream media coverage, in titles like Fast Company, Business Insider and much more. And people on Twitter are going mad for it. They’ve fallen immediately in love with the Sweet Farm animals, and are seeing this as the ray of sunshine we all need right now.

Not many non-profit campaigns can boast this kind of coverage or public response, and the exchange of value for both the donor and the charity is really, really clear here. But the big question is – did it work? 

Between the launch [in March] and April 2020, when I did this presentation, Sweet Farm fielded over 300 requests for animals to join Goat 2 Meeting calls, and it’s not slowed down. 

But even if this campaign is a flash in the pan moment, it’ll have raised loads of income and brand awareness, and inspired other fundraisers to try innovative new things, not just when faced with a crisis.

And that’s why it really gets my goat that I didn’t think of it first...

Watch Josh’s presentation and interview at IWITOT 2020 below.

Sweet Farm is a small zoo in California who had to find innovative ways to get funding as the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Can you spot the goat on this Zoom call?
The campaign wowed people around the world and promptly went viral.
There was a scale of donation options for donors to choose from.
This campaign capitalised expertly on the increase use of Zoom during the pandemic.