cecil_the_lion trending story

Why sharing trending stories is a must for your nonprofit

On July 28th the story of Cecil the Lion started to trend on social media. It wasn’t long before the hash tag #CecilTheLion had topped the list on Twitter trends.

In case you missed the story, Cecil was a protected lion killed for sport by a now hated American dentist, Dr. Walter Palmer, who is believed to have paid about $55,000 for the privilege. Cecil the lion was one of the most beloved and famous animals in Zimbabwe’s national parks.

Quickly Dr. Palmer was wanted by Zimbabwe officials and became the most hated man on the internet. The people were demanding justice.

Daily Kos saw the story and quickly spun up an ActionSprout call to action demanding the justice supporters so desperately desired.

The results were amazing. 

Within five hours of posting the action on Facebook they were nearing 16,000 actions completed.

When the dust settled two days later Daily Kos had earned over 70,000 signatures.

daily kos metrics

Daily Kos’ Engagement rates were through the roof!

  • 41% of viewers completed the action
  • 90% of folks who engaged with the post (liked, commented or shared) went on to complete it
  • 6.2% of all impressions lead to action completions
  • 63.5% of their reach was viral

At one point, 857 people were on at once signing the petition!


What made this action about Cecil the Lion so successful?

It was based on a trending topic. 

Trending topics and breaking news always perform well as actions. It’s a good idea to keep your eye open for stories that apply to your cause.

It was a trending topic people were passionate about. 

Passionate is an understatement when it comes to Cecil the lion. A group of supporters on Twitter were asking for blood at one point. People were fired up about Cecil.

Daily Kos used a mobile optimized action.

Daily Kos used a mobile optimized action. As you can see the majority of action takers were doing so from a mobile device. More and more supporters are accessing Facebook content and petitions from their mobile devices.

What does this mean at the end of the day?

You may be thinking “Sure this is interesting, but how can this help my nonprofit?”

When supporters completed Daily Kos’s action they opted into their mailing list. In five hours time Daily Kos had added almost 20,000 supporter email address to their mailing list. These supporters knowingly opted into their mailing list in support of Cecil and Daily Kos at large.

So what could a trending action do for your nonprofit? A lot- potentially thousands of new email address.

Want to take advantage of trending actions for your cause? Learn more about ActionSprout and get started for free.