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Posted on Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 10:43 a.m.

Sample AnnArbor.com in your Facebook news feed and we'll donate $1 to Warm the Children

By Jen Eyer

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Update: The challenge ended Dec. 31 at midnight, with a total of 439 new likes on Facebook. Rounding up, AnnArbor.com will donate an additional $500 to Warm the Children.

Have you ever checked out AnnArbor.com on Facebook?

Every day, throughout the day, we post our best stories on our Facebook page, along with interesting photos and questions. If you're active on Facebook, you can like our page to get these posts flowing through your news feed. It's a convenient way to stay in touch with what's going on in your community.

And right now, there's an added bonus to sampling AnnArbor.com in your Facebook news feed. For each new like we receive through Dec. 31, we will donate $1 to Warm the Children. We're starting this challenge with 9,626 fans on Facebook, so any above and beyond that number will translate to dollars for Warm The Children.

As the lead sponsor of the local Warm The Children program, AnnArbor.com absorbs the cost of the overhead needed to coordinate, promote and execute it throughout the year. Our additional program partners play an important role. The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation serves as fiscal sponsor, and United Bank & Trust processes all donations. The program also relies on an army of volunteers to make it successful. Volunteer shoppers handle the vouchers and assist families in shopping, ensuring that parents make wise purchasing decisions.

We have a full-time staff member who dedicates many hours of her time to the program, and we run many stories and advertisements on our site and in the print version of AnnArbor.com. Along with our Warm The Children volunteers in the community, many of our employees also donate or volunteer to help as volunteer shoppers.

How can you participate? First, make sure you "like" AnnArbor.com on Facebook. If you're signed in to Facebook, all you have to do is click the "like" button in the box to the right. Or, you can go to Facebook.com/AnnArborcom and click the "like" button near the top of the page.

Then, tell all of your colleagues, friends and family who use Facebook to "like" our page, too. It's a convenient way for them to stay in touch with what's going on in their community and their action will be supporting Warm the Children.

You can still donate directly to Warm The Children, too. Since AnnArbor.com and its partners absorb all overhead costs, every dollar donated goes directly to buying coats, hats, boots, gloves and other necessary items for children in need. Here's how you can donate:

  • Online: Donate online through the Warm the Children web page at AnnArbor.com/warmthechildren. Note that credit card processing fees apply to donations made online.

  • Mail: Visit www.AnnArbor.com/warmthechildren to download the donation form and address it: c/o United Bank & Trust, P.O. Box 1127, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1127.

  • In person: Throughout the year you can also visit our Community Space at 301 E. Liberty St. in downtown Ann Arbor and make a donation when you get a cup of coffee. The coffee is donated by local brewers, and all proceeds go to Warm the Children. This season, Mountain Country Coffee has donated all of the coffee for the 2011 Warm the Children campaign season. The Community Space is located on the ground floor at 301 E. Liberty St. in downtown Ann Arbor.

    You can also donate at any United Bank & Trust branch in Washtenaw County.

  • Thanks for your support of Warm The Children and happy holidays!

    Jen Eyer is the Director of Audience Engagement for AnnArbor.com. Contact her at jeneyer@annarbor.com.

    Comments

    Jen Eyer

    Mon, Dec 26, 2011 : 2:01 a.m.

    joe.blow: As noted in the story above, this campaign represents just a tiny fraction of the overall support AnnArbor.com gives to Warm the Children.

    joe.blow

    Sun, Dec 25, 2011 : 2:12 p.m.

    I feel sorry for you Jen. I think you (not aa.com) are really trying to do something good. The problem is, most of us feel that aa.com is a large greedy cooperation who spins the news to make it's own views appear correct. So when they require you to like them on facebook in order for them to donate to charity, it feels cheep and abusive to the children. Just donate the money and if we feel that your companies intentions are good and their news is fair, then we'll press "like" on facebook. For now, I'm not going to press like, instead I'm going to drop $5.00 into a red kettle.

    Jen Eyer

    Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 5:26 p.m.

    Alan and others: We often get great feedback about the value people find in having AnnArbor.com content in their Facebook news feeds. Given that, we wanted to further promote our Facebook page. There are a variety of ways we could do this, such as paying Facebook for advertising, or giving $1,000 away in a "like promotion" resulting in a random drawing to one of our Facebook fans. However, we decided at this time of year, the best use of the marketing funds would be to donate the money to a charity while raising awareness of our Facebook page.

    gild

    Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 10:55 p.m.

    No! Donating some of your marketing budget to charity is wrong! I'm an Ann Arbor Cynic (TM) and I can find a reason to complain about darn near anything!

    Kelley Acosta

    Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 4:36 p.m.

    Marketing is Marketing - the purpose is to gain attention and make money. Using charity as a marketing ploy is NOT new. Radio stations do promo events to for charity to gain more listeners = money. People have a choice to click or not to click. Facebook users have a choice to use or not to use. Thank you for supporting Warm the Children!

    alan

    Fri, Dec 23, 2011 : 6:49 a.m.

    "Cause marketing" is relatively new Kelley, having originated in the 1980's with an American Express campaign in which a 2 cent donation was made every time a card was used.

    lugemachine

    Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 4:26 p.m.

    *sigh* No good deed goes unpunished. Good for AA.com and good for Warm the Children. I see no harm here.

    Woman in Ypsilanti

    Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 4:04 p.m.

    I have to agree. If a business announces that they are donating to charity, it makes me have positive feelings for the business. But if a business uses charity as a marketing tool, it just makes me think that they are evil enough to use someone's suffering in order to manipulate my emotions for their gain. It kind of makes me not want to have anything to do with them. I will wait until this "promotion" is over though before I unlike you guys on facebook.

    Woman in Ypsilanti

    Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 9:24 p.m.

    Yes, I suppose announcing donations to charity is a marketing ploy too. But it just feels less manipulative to me I guess. I can somehow convince myself that the business actually cares about their community.

    Kelley Acosta

    Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 4:36 p.m.

    Announcing that they are donating to charity IS a marketing ploy!

    Billy Bob Schwartz

    Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 3:59 p.m.

    I agree with Alan. I also don't understand this rush by so many news outlets to get people to use facebook. Do any of these people understand what they are giving up when they use facebook? They are giving up their personal privacy at a level unheard of before. I went on facebook for a short time, and when I saw how they were using my private stuff to share elsewhere, etc., I felt pretty much buck nekkid. I left it. This collecting of private personal data from the public and sharing it around like it's anybody's business is a gold mine for businesses, and I can't imagine what Adolf would have done with it. I will write a check to warm the kids, and keep my business my own.

    alan

    Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.

    I think you missed my point Jen. Linking charitable contributions to economic gain is a relatively new marketing ploy. AA.com is a business that makes money from people clicking so you are only being charitable if you first gain, or stand to gain, economically. But compassion and benevolence that depend first on economic gain are not, by definition, compassionate or benevolent at all. It is marketing. While it is certainly not an egregious breach of trust, I do find it distasteful, particularly when it involves children at Christmas.

    Jen Eyer

    Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 5:23 p.m.

    Alan: Thanks for your feedback. We did the same promotion last year, and it ended up raising nearly $1,000 for Warm the Children. And we did not see a drop-off in Facebook likes after the promotion was over, which indicates to us that people valued getting our posts in their news feeds. Therefore, we felt this would be a worthwhile promotion to run again this year.

    alan

    Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 5:14 p.m.

    Personally, I think it's kind of sleazy to pull on heartstrings as a marketing ploy. It's taken less than a year for AA.com to deteriorate from quality news to social media. Just one opinion.