Urban Ministries of Durham has undertaken a thought provoking approach to homelessness advocacy. Will knowing that the homeless are everwhere even in your backyard create positive action. Or will it backfire and create a NIMBY backlash. We can only hope for the former.
Non-Profit Creates Foursquare Venues for Homelessness Awareness
Urban Ministries of Durham (UMD), a North Carolina non-profit organization providing food, shelter and clothing to the city’s homeless, is launching a Foursquare initiative designed to unsettle application users and raise awareness around homelessness in Durham.
UMD is spotlighting unusual venues such as abandoned warehouses, dumpsters and old construction sites by seeding them, along with corresponding informational tips on UMD, as Foursquare () places in the downtown area. Application users in neighboring areas will discover the strange venues in the “nearby places” portion of the app.
The idea behind the campaign, engineered by the McKinney ad agency, is to inspire Foursquare users to check in to these locations to spread awareness about UMD and its mission of homelessness prevention. The hope is to create a chain reaction, where a user checks in to a UMD-created venue and thereby exposes the venue and UMD’s cause to friends and social media contacts who also pay it forward with their checkins.
The campaign is specifically designed to make Foursquare users in the Durham area uncomfortable with the reality of the homelessness around them. By exposing these realities, McKinney and UMD aim to spread awareness and motivate younger audiences to volunteer and help the organization prevent homelessness.
It remains to be seen how Foursquare users in the area will respond to their social experience being overtaken by the addition of these sobering venues, but the idea is certainly unique and bound to raise at least a few eyebrows.
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