Tuesday, March 9, 2010

We coulda been a contender... Disney Day promotion reaches 1,000,000 volunteers!

This winter, the Disney company established a unique promotional opportunity that I'd love to see replicated as many places a possible. For one day of volunteer service, you could earn a one-day pass to any of the Disney theme parks. They committed to rewarding one million volunteers in this manner.

What a great deal! All you had to do was to get your favorite volunteer site (say, Mount Rainier National Park) to sign up as a sponsor; then get them to advertise a public volunteer project; register on Disney's website; spend a day doing productive, rewarding work; and then, when your participation is confirmed by us, receive your certificate to go meet Mickey!

And, in fact, we did sign up for the program, and were eager to participate this spring, when enough snow finally melted to permit group volunteer projects to resume. Unfortunately--or maybe it's really a good thing, in the big picture--so many people have volunteered that Disney has already reached the one million mark, two months before our first volunteer projects! The program is now essentially closed. Disney's "volunteer portal" now reads:
One million people have now either committed or completed their service through opportunities found at DisneyParks.com via the Volunteer Opportunity Portal.... Volunteer can no longer search or sign up for opportunities at Disneyparks.com.... Now that the program has ended, Volunteers who have not yet committed to an upcoming opportunity (even if they've expressed interest, scheduled a time to volunteer, or served with you) will no longer be able to sign up and qualify for a ticket.
The Disney Parks website says:
Hats off to each of the one million volunteers! The overwhelming support we received... has helped us reach our goal of inspiring one million people to volunteer a day of service to their communities. The program has now ended. Although you can no longer register and sign up for volunteer opportunities on this site to earn a free Disney Theme Park ticket, you can still continue to give back to your community by locating and signing up for volunteer opportunities through HandsOn Network.
Whether you're recognizing the spirit of volunteerism or a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary, only one question remains, What Will You Celebrate?
Nicely said, and a tip o' the hat for continuing to encourage people to volunteer even after the promotion has ended.
We had 1,865 volunteers at Mount Rainier last year. We coulda qualified for at least a busload's worth o' those million tickets, maybe taken a grand road trip south from Washington state when the snow started flying again next winter...
If I had been more on top of things, I should have at least pointed out the opportunities to you all that may have been advertised by our partners at lower elevations. But even as optimistic as I've learned to be about volunteers, I never imagined the tickets would go so quickly!
Ah, well. Kudos to Disney for such a grand and audacious celebration of volunteerism (and very likely a savvy business move as well). And good work, all million of you who turned out in such force to show your volunteer spirit in the middle of winter! You are truly the most magical people on earth.


Paul Frolov said...

It is a great marketing move ...Everything Disney does, they do it with the "right purpose". But in this case, it's not "real" volunteerism "...Volunteerism may be defined as contributing one's time or talents for charitable, educational, social, political, or other purposes, usually in one's community, freely and without regard for compensation.

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It's remarkable what can be accomplished when people join together to server a higher purpose.