Schools have reopened following the summer vacations and parents are wondering what to do with the stack of notebooks, textbooks, and other school stationery of last year. Either they could donate these to needy children or dispose them. Well, wouldn’t it be nice if they could just create a difference by giving away what they do not need? Popular detergent maker, Surf Excel in partnership with GuideStar India, a place to look for NGO’s have launched the ‘Back to School’ campaign. Parents can now make a gift box out of their child’s used books, stationery, toys and clothes and then donate it to an NGO of their choice. More than 160 NGOs from across India are part of this campaign.

Surf Excel India's Back to School Campaign

The social initiative is being driven mainly through a neat app on the Surf Excel Facebook page and solves a common problem faced by most. More often than not, we take a step back when it comes to donations as we are either ignorant or wary of a particular social service organisation. This app provides the user with an option to locate an NGO near her area. She can then get in touch with them or visit the NGO to know all about the children in their learning centres and their work. The app also has an option to share on your wall or invite your friends.

So where does Surf Excel fit in here? The detergent brand from Unilever that promotes childhood with its ‘Stains are good’ message, will donate 50p for every ‘like’ on their Facebook page. With a 784,782 strong community, this should be a good deal for its fans as well as for the brand positioning.

‘Back to school’ leveraging the power of Facebook?

Facebook can serve as the potential breeding ground for any kind of community-based activity. This nature often induces it to be utilised for bringing about social change. The network’s social aspect coupled with the capability of sharing your story with pictures and actionable apps, makes it ideal for corporate social responsibility.

The Surf Excel ‘Back to school’ campaign has been well designed. The idea of supporting education for kids who cannot afford them and also growing your community with this message, is a good recipe for a ‘like’ campaign. The Facebook page which was at 600,000 fans in the beginning is now thriving with a growth of nearly 200,000 fans! Also, the two things worth a mention are the use of Facebook’s ‘make viral’ features like share and invite.

Personally, I liked the fact that it is easy to locate an NGO closest to me and visit them too. This could be the vital factor in bringing about trust and willingness to help the NGO.

In the past too, corporates have leveraged Facebook, especially its ‘like’ feature to bring about social change. Join my village, an NGO that works with girls in villages had launched a beautiful campaign ‘$1 for every like’ in the beginning of this year. For every like, a charitable donation of $1 would be made by companies like General Mills and Merck. This January, the online travel company, Expedia had launched the ‘Give them wings’ campaign on Facebook. Here, for every ‘like’, the brand would contribute Rs.10 to a travel fund for kids from Butterflies NGO. In addition, for every 10 shares amongst friends, the company would contribute Rs.10 to the travel fund.

So ‘Like’ the Surf Excel Facebook page, connect with an NGO, take your gift box, and make a real difference. Share your joy of getting back to school!