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Oct 10th 2013

AOL Shows Support for World Sight Day

Yesterday, AOL teamed up with TOMS to support World Sight Day. Held annually on the second Thursday of October, WSD strives to raise awareness around blindness and vision impairment.

Over two hundred million people around the world are visually impaired or blind – forcing many to give up jobs, independence and education – and 80% of those cases could have been prevented, or can still be corrected.

To gain a better sense of the true value of sight – while simultaneously increasing public awareness around this important cause – AOLers joined millions across the globe and wore sunglasses indoors to imagine what it would be like to have limited vision.

Everyone from employees to the AOL Blue Monster took photographs, using hashtag #BeShady to spread the word.

Jun 7th 2012

The Aspen Institute Names AOLer Blair Cobb to List of Innovators

The Aspen Institute Business and Society Program, whose mission is to equip business leaders for the 21st century with the vision and knowledge to integrate corporate profitability and social value, today announced their fourth class of First Mover Fellows, a program that recognizes individuals for their work uniting business growth with a sustainable society in the products and services they are developing. The selected class comes from a wide variety of industries and AOL's Senior Director of Cause Marketing, Blair Cobb, was chosen as one of this year's Fellows.

As Senior Director of Cause Marketing for AOL, Blair is responsible for the development and management of our relationships with non-profit partners and the advertisers that support them. Blair's key objectives are driving traffic and revenue growth at AOL, while increasing brand perception by connecting and informing their consumers to important causes. Her efforts have resulted in a centralized giving platform called AOL Impact, which provides custom high-reach marketing opportunities for non-profits and cause marketers across multiple arms of the company including AOL.com, AOL Mail, Patch and the Huffington Post.AOL Impact has donated over 19 billion pro-bono media impressions on behalf of over 300 non-profit partners, including those non-profits our top AOL advertisers support.*

The 12-month Fellowship, which includes three seminars, is built around the core themes of innovation, leadership, reflection and community. The program offers the Fellows a chance to become part of a growing community of innovators who share a passion about their work and belief in new possibilities for business. It also serves as an innovation lab where Fellows develop the skills to make their innovations real and successful in their organizations.

Learn more about the program by visiting the First Movers website. To learn more about AOL's corporate social responsibility, click here.

(*Source: AOL Internal Data)

Apr 17th 2012

Reaching a Million People One Tweet at a Time

When we had the opportunity to rekindle our relationship with TOMS to help celebrate this year's One Day Without Shoes, we spent a lot of time of trying to think of the right way to extend our relationship. In 2011, we had over 1,000 employees all around the world kick off their shoes to raise awareness for children who don't have them.

At first, we considered the idea of doing something twice as big. And then ten times as big. And then 100 times as big, arriving at the number: 100,000. We decided interacting with 100,000 people to tell them about the One Day Without Shoes message would be the number that we would rally our employees and customers around. But how do you count people "we told about something"? It's relatively easy in social media to measure likes, followers, comments, and retweets by using some basic social media analysis tools - but what we were doing was something a little bit different. Each one of these social actions would contribute to the number of people we "told about something", and our goal was really just to reach people with the message.

We then turned to our friends at Simply Measured, and took a look at what reports they had available to help us and found that they were able to measure "Reach", a calculation that measured the potential audience size for our tweets (i.e. how many people may have seen our message through Tweets made by ourselves and others sharing the campaign). Reaching people through Tweets was something we do every day, but previously we'd been unable to quickly and effectively measure this on a campaign basis. Simply Measured has been a great partner to work with, and have even shared a bit more about the methodology used to measure our metrics in a case study on their blog.

The end result was a set of tactics that included ways for all sorts of different users, across a few different platforms, to help incite people to join the movement:

  • We donated a TOMS One Day Without Shoes mail sign in page that ran from April 7th to April 9th. The sign in page reaches an average of 10 million impressions a day**
  • Our about.me team encouraged consumers to change their profile pages to help raise awareness and blogged about the event.
  • AOL Advertising offered up a Style Your Sole party to the agency who was able to best evangelize their employees to share the word.
  • MapQuest donated advertising space on top of every map today to raise awareness about the campaign.
  • AOL Artists around the world are pledging to go barefoot with AOL as well. Check out AOL Artists' Tumblr for updates on which artists are going barefoot and to see them in action.
  • We shared the campaign in taxicab spots that ran in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston (check out the video below).


All of these calls to action had a social component that would allow users to take an action, and then easily share what they were doing.

We launched our campaign on March 18th, with an initial goal of reaching 100,000 people by April 10th - the day of One Day Without Shoes. That day, we were lucky enough to have TOMS Chief Shoe Giver Blake Mycoskie join us to tell the story of TOMS and One Day Without Shoes. After the event, we started to invite our employees to contribute tweets about the topic, and offered a few tweets from our AOL Twitter account, and to our surprise, we were over our 100,000 reached goal in less than 18 hours. In the tradition of thinking big, we decided to reset our goal to one million. Sure enough, by the end of the campaign, we had some stats to be proud of that we want to share. In total, we reached:

  • A potential audience of more than 1.2 million people on Twitter
  • Around 20,000 people through About.me, where more than 600 people changed their profile to a special TOMS background. (read more about their success)**
  • Millions through the TOMS messaging on MapQuest and on AOL Mail.**
  • Nearly 200,000 people who visited the TOMS page on AOL Impact**
  • Hundreds of employees took part in events all across our offices and shared the news via Twitter


It was great to see so many people respond positively to our campaign and us to learn a lot more about how social content can spread.

Reflecting on AOL's contribution, Blake added, "Because of AOL's continued support of One Day Without Shoes, we were able to make an impact. Through this year's partnership, we built a program with highly measurable results. We can't thank enough everyone that participated, and because of your contributions, we were able to bring so much more awareness to our cause."

We hope you were able to take part in TOMS One Day Without Shoes and if not this year, then mark your calendar for next year! Learn more about the TOMS One for One movement at TOMS.com.


(Photo by Eileen O'Brien)

** Internal AOL Data

Mar 1st 2012

Share Your Cause with AOL Impact


One of our core values at AOL is our commitment as an organization to empower our users to connect and engage with worthy causes. We are thrilled to partner with the Cause Marketing Forum again to demonstrate the power of the AOL Impact platform with the launch of the 'Share Your Cause' Contest. This year, we've expanded visibility for the winner by including a full-page presence on the AOL Mail Sign In Page for a day and a Huffington Post Blog in addition to one day in a premium position on the AOL homepage.

The contest, which is part of AOL Impact's sponsorship of the 9th annual Cause Marketing Forum conference, opens today and runs through March 30, 2012. The winner will be selected by a panel of judges based on the compelling nature of the campaign as described in the essay.

To submit an entry, view official rules and browse frequently asked questions, visit: http://www.CauseMarketingForum.com/aol2012.

The 2012 winner will be announced at the 10th Anniversary Cause Marketing Forum conference taking place on May 30-31, 2012 in Chicago.

AOL Impact reinforces AOL's dedication to "giving back" by dedicating premium placement on AOL.com and AOL Mail to garner exposure for nonprofits at no cost. AOL Impact connects users with charities, making it easy to get involved and spread awareness. Visit http://impact.aol.com/ for more information on AOL Impact.

Jan 17th 2012

Meet the Winners of our AOL Employee Cause Contest

At AOL, we are in the business of helping people. We bring this value to life each and every day through our work with AOL Impact, a platform that has shined a light on hundreds of non-profits and the advertisers that support them. Much like our advertising offerings, AOL Impact uses our best-in-class assets and brands to inform, entertain and connect our audiences - in this case with charities. Based on the overwhelming feedback we receive internally about the AOL Impact program, we decided to let our employees get involved and tell US what non-profits we should feature. The result was our first-ever employee cause contest, and we're excited to share the results with you!

Due to an overwhelming amount of contest submissions, we decided it was too difficult to choose just one winner, so we opened it up to three! Our team of panelists judged based on the employee's personal connection, level of commitment, and expected future commitment to the charity. Our judges also considered the overall impact that the $5,000 grant will have on the submitted organization. The winners will each be awarded a $5,000 grant in their name to be given to their organizations in addition to pro bono advertising including a Daily Impact unit and blogging opportunities on Huffington Post Impact.

We're thrilled to announce our AOL all-stars:

Venus Bivins Johnson
Sales Strategy, Chicago
Hope Restored
Venus passionately supports and volunteers with Hope Restored, whose mission is to restore hope in Haiti by building a partnership with the members of a small community in Haiti in order to see food, education, and medical care brought enabling them to rise from a culture of desperation to one of hope.


Nelson D'Cruz
AOL Site Engineer, India
Riya Foundation
Nelson is part of a team, out of the AOL India office, who created the Riya Foundation to address the special needs of individuals with disabilities. Nelson looks forward to continuing his work with the organization, and seeing it expand to accommodate even more disabled children.



Matt Blank
EU Search Designer, London
Radio Northwick Park
Matt is the Chairman for the charity, Radio Northwick Park, which is a hospital radio station, based in North London, UK. Matt has dedicated the past 12 years of his life working for and supporting this charity whose mission is to provide care, entertainment, and company to those in need.

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