McKinney and Urban Ministries of Durham Check in at Foursquare - McKinney

McKinney and Urban Ministries of Durham Check in at Foursquare

November 8, 2010

Agency and downtown Durham’s emergency services provider use social media to fight homelessness

Durham, NC (November 8, 2010) — Foursquare fans in downtown Durham might be surprised to see some new check-in locations: an abandoned warehouse, a tent in the woods and a vacant storefront, among other locations. It’s not a mistake but rather a social media initiative created by McKinney for Urban Ministries of Durham (UMD). Launching today, the initiative will highlight these unlikely locations while utilizing the social media platform Foursquare to build awareness of homelessness in Durham.

Key Facts

• When Foursquare users log on at popular Durham locations, they’ll see some unexpected destinations in their list of “nearby places,” from “old construction site” to “dumpster in the alley.”

• The “tips” section for each of these unusual locations offers a message about UMD’s focus on homelessness prevention, re-housing, and emergency services.

• Users can check in to the UMD-created locations — basically donating their Foursquare status to raise awareness about Urban Ministries of Durham.

• Friends of users who share their check-ins will see updates like, “Brian C. checked into abandoned doorway,” spurring them on to learn more about the cause.

• The check-ins also make it possible for Urban Ministries of Durham to track exactly how many users have received and engaged with their messaging.

Supporting Quotes

Patrice Nelson, executive director, Urban Ministries of Durham

“Durham is a thriving city, but there are people in our midst who are struggling. Social media is a great way to educate the community about UMD programs to help the homeless and those at risk move forward in their lives. It also enables us to reach out to potential volunteers and donors and get people talking about something too many of us ignore. Partnering with McKinney gives us yet another tool to spark these conversations that can, in turn, spark change.”

Jonathan Cude, chief creative officer, McKinney

“Our 2009 campaign was an award-winning traditional advertising effort that included television, print and outdoor media. In 2010, we’re taking advantage of new media vehicles to engage people with UMD in a whole new way.”

“We’ve become used to tuning out those things we don’t want to acknowledge. The contrast between the leisure activities of Foursquare and the sober realities that Urban Ministries of Durham addresses will, we hope, shake people out of their comfort zone and show them how they can share some of what they have to help other people enjoy better lives.”