Over 4 million views, and it probably took all of 35 seconds to create this cat video.

They may not have had a strategy, but what this nonprofit did have was creativity, and the thoughtfulness to put something out in the world that might, or might not, entertain and attract attention to them in a positive way.

They had the guts to do it. To be silly. To be creative.

Okay, they also had cats – which helps. Unless you sneeze at them like me, but you try to tell that to the cat sitting next to me.

The Sioux Falls Humane Society, “provides a safe haven and human voice for all animals in need”. They have a sincere but playful attitude and it shows in everything they do. This video is only a short example, the tip of the iceberg, of how they create content and experiences for their community and volunteers.

Now we can’t all expect to get a viral video like this, and in all seriousness, neither did they. According to an employee that told KDLT News, “it was raining here, we couldn’t see the eclipse anyways so we were kind of just looking for something fun to do”. It’s very hard to do on purpose, but when your culture and attitude is about fun, creativity, and sharing that experience with your audience online you have now spurred the atmosphere that could do this:

It would be interesting to find out if they think it impacted their fundraising or volunteering much.  The downside to this kind of exposure is that their nonprofit is focused locally. Having a viewer from somewhere in Alberta, Canada isn’t likely going to be inspired to connect with them all the way in South Dakota.

This is one reason you should scale down your expectations even if you do manage to go viral. And why going viral shouldn’t be your ultimate goal unless you truly are a global nonprofit. In most cases it won’t be the hail mary that you expected to launch your nonprofit into the next level. Having a slow and steady increase in viewers, readers, shares, and community is a better sign of a healthy organization.

You also can’t put out one video and hope to be seen as a creative, cutting-edge organization. Sioux Falls Humane Society is a leader in their community, and you can see by taking one look at their events calendar:

  • Bark in the Park 2017
  • Kids Club Playdate
  • Fetching Fall Craft and Bake Sale
  • Pawliday Pet Portraits

It’s clear they are constantly looking for creative ways to impact their community beyond just helping animals in need. They strive to be a place that provides events, and community for the animal lovers of South Dakota.

They even go as far as creating infographics to help pet owners who have lost their pet for example.

This type of content is useful, and also pretty timeless. It will be valuable for a long time, it’s easy to share and it shows their dedication once again to using different mediums to help animal lovers.

It begs the question. What are you doing for your nonprofit? Are you using your creativity and your unique skills, resources, and talents to provide value to the community you’re trying to impact?

You won’t be hit with a shot of genius right away. Start small. Just get started with different creative content and you will eventually find ideas that surprise even yourself. And one or two might start to catch on and start spreading awareness.  

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