This past April, more than two months before they would make their voices heard in Washington, D.C., as delegates of JDRF’s 2011 Children’s Congress, 89 families were already warming up those voices. From April 1 to 30, the Friendraiser Campaign challenged delegates to educate their extended networks of family and friends about type 1 diabetes and encourage them to sign up as JDRF advocates. Not only did the delegates break the existing record, they surpassed the goal set for this year.
Using JDRF’s specially designed Spread the Word platform, the participating delegates personalized their own individual advocacy web pages with photos and special messages. They proceeded to craft emails, text messages, and Facebook status updates aimed at persuading their families, friends, and communities to join them by becoming advocates for JDRF. The newly minted advocates registered on the JDRF site with a pledge to send an email, make a phone call, or call on their Members of Congress to discuss important type 1 diabetes issues.
Two years ago, the JDRF 2009 Children’s Congress delegates recruited 2,690 new advocates. The goal for this year was 3,000. The 2011 delegates sent out more than 5,000 email invitations, typed 207 text messages, and posted 327 Facebook updates, all while tracking their progress—and that of their competitors—on the Spread the Word website. At the end of the 30-day race, the 2011 delegates sailed past their goal by recruiting 3,364 new advocates.
Three particularly persuasive delegates received special prizes for engaging record numbers of advocates. The grand prize, a 2012 Government Day trip to Washington, D.C., went to 14-year-old William Beebe of Toledo, OH, who signed up 534 advocates. The second place prize, a JDRF 2011 Children’s Congress Memorabilia and Celebrity Prize Pack, went to eight-year-old Jonathan Platt of Tarzana, CA, who recruited 446 advocates. The third place prize, a flag flown over the Capitol building in his honor, went to 14-year-old Jay Haapala of Elkview, WV, who signed up 413 advocates.
As JDRF’s 2011 Children’s Congress Chair, Stefany Shaheen, told the delegates in her opening speech, “Voices that reinforce and build on each other are easier to hear—together, we come through more clearly.” Thanks to this year’s delegates, the JDRF message to Members of Congress is now 3,364-voices stronger. Congratulations and thank you to all those who participated in Friendraiser!