Eradicating the world of extreme poverty isn’t a quick fix, but joining the fight for awareness only takes one click.
When Hugh Evans, CEO of the Global Poverty Project, brainstormed an altruistic music festival, he didn’t want it to be a typical benefit concert — he wanted to build a movement. He found the most effective way to do so was to create a “tool to amplify and unite a generation’s call for justice.”
Branched off the Global Poverty Project, Global Citizen and its associated Global Citizen Festival gave concertgoers a unique opportunity to earn their tickets. The premise of the experience is gamified; users earn points to take action with social media.
Instead of purchasing regular tickets for the Sept. 29 event in Central Park, hopeful festival attendees had to earn at least three points by tweeting, posting on Facebook and getting involved with Global Poverty’s mission via other social means. Those actions automatically entered participants into a ticket lottery.
“If we did it through a regular ticketing scheme and just sold the tickets through Ticketmaster or something like that, that would be a relatively expensive ticket, and that would be the end of their engagement,” Evans said.
Simon Moss, COO of Global Poverty Project, said there are close to 70,000 active users with more than 3.5 million pageviews on the website, which launched less than a month ago.
“If we can use the power of the citizens who are attending it and their social networks and their friends’ and families’ social networks, we can urge governments to donate over $500 million to the world’s poor through this event, which is what we are on track to receive,” Evans said. “If we’re going to end extreme poverty for the 1.4 billion people on this planet, we can’t just be thinking of a traditional solution.”
Legally, Global Citizen could only give out 27,000 pairs of tickets, although more than 60,000 people entered the drawing to see Neil Young with Crazy Horse, Foo Fighters and The Black Keys perform.
Although all the tickets have been distributed, there are a limited number of VIP tickets available for purchase on the festival’s website, and there will be three different livestreams partnered through YouTube, Vevo, AOL, Yahoo, MTV, VH1, CMT and NYTimes.com on Sept. 29 and 30.
“Hundreds of millions of people will have the opportunity to participate, albeit through the digital sphere, in what is becoming a historic event,” Evans said. “I think we recognize that the digital world is increasingly the way all of us interact, and therefore, the underlying experience is as important to us as the event itself.”
In the past 25 years, the world has made amazing progress in fighting poverty, Moss said, but he hopes the concert will shift conversations all across the country by touching millions of lives.
“That through-line is a commitment to global development and a commitment to improve the rights of children and a commitment to ending extreme poverty, and that was really the purpose of Global Citizen,” Evans said. “What has evolved out of those things is something much greater than we ever anticipated.”
Evans and Moss believe the festival is the perfect opportunity to break the mold in the fight to end extreme poverty. And within the next few weeks, Global Citizen will announce a big campaign to eradicate polio.
“Together, we actually see progress,” Moss said. “What we’re working toward is creating an entire wave for people to be able to join dots across the whole ink of issues related to extreme poverty, to earn rewards and say, ‘Technology is a wonderful enabler and way for us to build community, to bring people together around a common purpose and help us end extreme poverty.’”