Mar 18 2009

One way to raise awareness, money on the Internet

Posted at 9:16 am under Aging in America conference,Caregiving

Ed Cohen

March 17, 2009, a website for caregivers, says it conducted an experiment in viral marketing last year that raised $10,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association.

Actually, as Gary Alpert, the site’s VP for business development described it at a session this afternoon, agreed to donate $10K to Alzheimer’s Association for cooperating in the experiment.’s programmers developed a way for anyone with a website or blog to add a purple “Act to End Alzheimer’s” ribbon to their Web page. Participants had their choice of shades of purple and could pick from three sizes of ribbon. They could also customize the ribbon to honor or memorialize, by name, an Alzheimer’s sufferer such as a loved one. agreed to donate $10 for every ribbon activated. There was also a link on the activation page to donate to the Alzheimer’s Association. The ribbons themselves didn’t solicit donations. The Alzheimer’s Association helped out by marketing the campaign through its website and e-mail lists.

Alpert said the campaign reached 1,000 ribbon activations – earning the Alzheimer’s Association its $10K — in six weeks. The total is now up to 1,600 activations, he said. (The only place the campaign is being advertised now is on’s own website.)

Alpert said enabling people to design the ribbons and to personalize them so they honored someone close to them were keys to success.

He said the campaign not only demonstrated the potential for fundraising using the Web but how viral marketing can spread the word about a cause. The ribbons ended up — and are still up — on hundreds of niche websites, many having something to do with caregiving. Combining the audience for all of those sites, he estimates that the ribbons exposed more than 100,000 individuals to the Alzheimer’s Association name and cause.

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