Harvard Schools Cause Marketers on Foursquare

I didn't go to Harvard University (or "Hahvahd" as we call it locally), but last week I got a a Harvard education on Foursquare.

Foursquare, which is accessible from smartphones and other mobile devices, enables students and visitors to explore the campus and surrounding neighborhoods while sharing information about their favorite places.

In addition to creating an up-to-date online rating guide of stores, restaurants, businesses, and other venues throughout Harvard Square, foursquare users can also employ the application as a game, in which they earn points, and ultimately acquire coveted foursquare “badges.” Harvard is the first university to use foursquare to help students explore their campus and surrounding places of interest. Users who have visited a predetermined number of sites on the campus will be awarded the Harvard Yard badge on their foursquare profiles.

Harvard has led the way in a lot of areas, now it's leading in how cause marketers can use Foursquare. Here's how I plan to make good use of my education.

  • My hospital is located in Boston's historic South End, which is chock full of stores, restaurants, shops and others spots worthy of Foursquare check-in.
  • After visiting a predetermined number of sites in the South End Foursquare users will unlock a South End badge on their profile.

Here's what's different.

  • I plan to recruit a corporate sponsor for my badge. A biz in or around the South End would be great - b.good, Hampton Inn and Target come to mind.
  • When users unlock their South End badge they would get a message: Congratulations! You just unlocked the South End Badge! Target [for example] has made a donation on your behalf to the Preventive Food Pantry at Boston Medical Center.

The program could incorporate additional elements, some of which I've discussed in other posts. Target could host a pinup program to promote their involvement and raise more money. South End stores could offer shoppers a reward when they unlock their badge.

All I need now to make my dream a reality is for someone to create my badge and work with Foursquare to set things up. That's where I could use some help. Foursquare worked with Harvard to create their badge. I'd like them to do the same for me. How 'bout it Dens?

The great thing about my badge is that it holds the promise of revenue. If Foursquare can get causes coming up with creative ways to get businesses to sponsor badges, it's a great step in the right direction for their business model.

Harvard is a great place to get an education. But if Foursquare is ready to graduate and make some money, they might want to try cause marketing.