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Friday, May 06, 2011

Crowd Power

© Dmitry Nikolaev -
For all of the ways that interaction online doesn't quite match up to connecting in real life. There are ways that the internet far outstrips flesh and blood connections. One example is the group coupon sites like Groupon and Living Social. Recently Wired wrote about the phenomenon.

In real life you can't easily organize hundreds of your friends to all purchase the same deal on the same day so that you all get a better price from the vendor. Sure you could work with a few of your friends to get a deal at your local hangout, but you would never have the ability to get so many deals or such good deals.

The magic behind things like Groupon is that they are local enough to target a specific business, but distributed enough to get lots of people involved. The businesses get half of the money Groupon collects up front, so instead of paying for advertising, they're being paid for it. Then they're guaranteed that the people who have the coupon will want to come into their store since they've already paid money for the opportunity. Consumers are thrilled to get prices in the range of 50% (or more) off and to be discovering new, local places.

This one is going to take a little bit more work to apply to what's going on in your church than we've done previously. Developing relationships is the same for you as it is for other people. But you can't start offering Groupons to your church bookstore. That's not the way to apply this bit of learning.

Step back from the monetary side of things and notice that these are local, but distributed. Here's a thought, if you have a large church, and you were already planning on giving some money to a relief fund (like Japan, Haiti, etc.) see about offering a Groupon that will match donations and then throw a fund raising party. So people would buy a $15 voucher good for $30 in donations. If they bring that to the party they can get another $10 donated to the cause. Plus hang out with people who want to do good in the world. Better yet, make it local to your city - help to refurbish a derelict park or start a tool library.

How could you imagine using the power of crowds available online?

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