Case Study

DoSomething.org

Situation

Three out of four teens don’t know enough about personal finance in the United States.

The average American college student graduates with over $26,000 in debt and 58% of teens worry about being worse off financially than their parents. However, in a national survey, DoSomething.org found that three out of four teens feel they don’t know enough about personal finance. The problem is, not all students have access to personal finance resources and many teens are not aware of how they can save money to pay off their loans effectively. Financial literacy campaigns are often boring and full of jargon and tend to instill more confusion in adolescents rather than help with issues that they are already anxious about.

Opportunity

To show teens that learning about personal finance can be both easy and fun.

DoSomething.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping young people, wanted to address the anxiety and fear that teenagers had about personal finance and come up with a solution to teach teens about financial education. DoSomething.org wanted a way to educate young adults about money management and provide personal finance tips in an accessible, fun format. They also wanted teens to be able to share the information with their friends. Since teenagers love text messaging and use it often to share interesting experiences, DoSomething.org decided to create a text message campaign that would fulfill both those needs.

Action

DoSomething.org created a unique text message game that allowed teens to learn about personal finance and share that knowledge with friends.

DoSomething.org used the Mobile Commons platform to design an interactive SMS game based off a popular game called “Would You Rather?”

Participants were asked to choose between two alternatives in a series of amusing money-saving and money-making scenarios.

DoSomething: What would you rather do to save $$? A) Share your spring break hotel room w/ ur entire extended family OR B) not go on spring break?

DoSomething: To make $$, would you rather A) Be Lindsay Lohan’s personal ass’t for a month, OR B) Wash the Dallas Cowboys laundry for a month?

After answering a few questions via text message, teens would receive a text with a money saving tip.

DoSomething: Familiarize yourself with credit card interest rates. A pair of $50 jeans can become expensive if you are paying 20 percent interest.

The “Would You Rather” campaign also allowed teenagers to share the game by sending their friends’ phone numbers to DoSomething.org using the Tell-a-Friend feature. Users who shared the game with their friends were automatically entered in a draw to win a $3,000 scholarship.

Success

DoSomething.org’s game educated over 100,000 teenagers about personal finance.

A total of 102,748 people played the “Would you Rather?” text messaging game, and DoSomething.org delivered over 95,000 money saving tips to young adults!

Not only did DoSomething.org succeed in reaching thousands of teenagers across the country, they were also able to use the power of social sharing to encourage teens to talk about personal finance with their friends. By using a text message game to make money management something that young people found fun rather than intimidating, DoSomething.org was able to make a difference and educate youth about making proactive choices about money.

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