Rally Saint Louis: Crowdsourcing for a Better Community
In December 2011, in answer to a bombardment of negative coverage about St. Louis, Elasticity partner Aaron Perlut penned an article for Forbes titled “Saint Louis Doesn’t Suck.” Within hours it went viral, resulting in hundreds of thousands of views and a wellspring of opinions on the health of the city. In the wake of these discussions, an idea was born: develop a platform to empower the residents of St. Louis, enabling them to help shape the future and perceptions of their city. Rally Saint Louis was born.
Unlike traditional, centralized efforts managed by a singular organization, Rally Saint Louis is designed as a grassroots movement powered by its most valuable asset—its people. The Rally Saint Louis project is a first-of-its-kind crowdsourcing and crowdfunding platform that uses funding from the region’s residents and generates ideas to help market Greater St. Louis. It is an effort unlike anything ever attempted, not just in the St. Louis region but across the U.S.
We developed a fully integrated program to sustain the project. We started by rallying business and civic leaders to support the project and asking for their help with initial funding. This culminated in a launch event on November 14, 2012, attended by more than 200 of these influential people. At the center of the program was a custom-built website, RallySTL.org, that enabled users to submit, vote for and fund ideas. It also featured a blog that allowed Elasticity to make announcements and keep supporters informed of the latest activities.
Throughout the program, we’ve systematically leveraged our media contacts to drive coverage, raising awareness and engagement with the program. At the same time, we’ve been online tapping into the fabric of the community, connecting with influencers in social media.
Rally Saint Louis is an ongoing campaign. However, to date, the results have been well beyond our initial expectations. For the first three months:
- Rally Saint Louis has crowdsourced more than 500 unique ideas from the community and has registered 6,000 unique users.
- Nearly 50,000 votes have been cast.
- Ten ideas have moved into the funding phase. We anticipate several ideas will reach their funding goals within the next few weeks.
- The pages of the website have been viewed more than 400,000 times by more than 100,000 unique visitors.
- Rally Saint Louis has been covered by all major local media, as well as The New York Times.