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Case Study: Love Letters - 250,000 Valentine's Day cards for Homebound Seniors is the largest organization in the US for young people and social change. We run campaigns to activate our 2.5 million members (ages 13 – 25) on causes they care about – bullying, homelessness, health etc. Together with Mentor Up, we launched a campaign called Love Letters, focused on the wellbeing of one of the most underserved communities in the US… homebound seniors. The end of the holiday season is one of the peak times for isolation and depression in older adults so we activated young people to send handmade Valentine’s Day cards to seniors to lift their spirits during this particularly difficult time. The cards were delivered by Meals on Wheels along with hot meals the week of February 14th.

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In less than six weeks, Love Letters activated more than 73,000 members to create and send over 251,000 handmade Valentine’s Day cards to seniors in local communities across the US through over 350 Meals on Wheels local chapters. 

This is a great case study on how to successfully activate young people.  Here are some key takeaways from the campaign:

Celebrity engagement:  Victoria Justice was the spokesperson for Love Letters. She tweeted multiple times to activate her tribe (7.6 million+ followers on Twitter alone) to participate in the campaign and we saw hundreds of retweets within a few hours.  We also earned social media support from rising star Emma Furhmann and Justin Bieber protégé, Madison Beer which helped boost engagement mid-campaign.

Don't expect young people to come to you:  Meet them where they already are - school, malls, online, movie theaters their phones.  If you want to engage young people at scale, don't expect them to work too hard to find you. 

Strategic partnerships:  Don't try to reinvent the wheel.  Instead of building things from scratch, find strategic partners that help bridge the generation gap.  Between Mentor Up, and Meals on Wheels we had all of the expertise, and all of the leg work covered for the campaign.  Each partner benefited from the impact of Love Letters and it went very smoothly because we all brought something valuable to the table. 

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Great Share Darren! This idea of of Love Letters reminded me of a TED talk I saw a while back. The Speaker Hannah Brencher speaks about how she started her initiative called 'More Love Letters' and how sending a simple love letter to strangers can empower and change lives. Positive emotions can serve as a strong catalyst for motivation. And I believe motivation is what leads us all as individuals to do more, learn more and teach more. Definitely check out the full talk if you haven't seen it yet!

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