It’s a daring mission, to say the least.
Caravanning across Africa through treacherous territories within Sudan to serve civilians in one of the world’s most war-torn and impoverished nations is all in a day’s work for the members of No Greater Commission (NGC).
Started by Kurt Parson, a Navy Vet and current CEO of Platform Systems, Inc., No Greater Commission was devised as a way for members of the military to apply their skills to solve problems around the world. How do you run supplies to missionaries who are cut off behind enemy lines? How can you build schools and roads in a warzone? These specialized skills members of the military are equipped with can help solve complex issues in dangerous locations.
The noble mission caught the eye of Rady School of Management alum Justin Wells (MBA ’16). As an active duty service member and instructor pilot for the Navy, he felt compelled to get involved.
“There’s an outpost in Bor, South Sudan that is the center of stability for hundreds of miles,” he said. “NGC actually went on a trip there last year, but they were attacked and had to flee for their lives and take all the supplies with them.”
Wells, along with three Rady School students – Dan Lindsey, Rich Lee and Manupriya Sharma – helped No Greater Commission devise a social media marketing experiment to raise awareness about the mission and increase donations. The challenge is to raise $130,000 for the organization to travel to the war-torn country to attempt to deliver supplies.
Using skills and strategies obtained through Rady School curricula, and under the direction of Ken Wilbur, associate professor of marketing, the team devised a plan to help No Greater Commission increase its online presence and audience reach.
“We started off by gathering information about the organization, South Sudan and the mission they are going to help,” Wells said. “We put it all together and came up with four different versions of marketing copy. Then, we put it out to a few hundred people in the form of a survey and asked them ‘Would you be willing to donate to this cause?’”
After extensive research, the team learned which advertisements performed better and continued to test those versions on Facebook and Instagram.
“We put some pictures up with the four different versions of marketing copy,” Wells said. “Each version was approximately 150 words in length. We put them out to about 10,000 people using a broad segmentation strategy and saw which version drove traffic, and specifically who was clicking. We ran another round with refined segmentation.”
To bolster No Greater Commission’s online presence, the team also reached out to influential Twitter users to garner support and spread of the word about the upcoming mission.
“At the end of the day, we’re going to provide them with a report and recommendations,” Wells said. “We each learned a bunch from working with Professor Wilbur. We hope the experiment translates into a deeper understanding of what aspects of NGC’s organization help drive web traffic, and ultimately donations.”
The four Rady School team members crossed the Commencement stage in June. In addition to working with No Greater Commission, the team of four is also involved with starting a business called AirCourse – an in-airport food service company that provides travelers with a way to access food options. The idea for AirCourse was came to fruition in the Lab to Market Sequence and is now housed in the Rady School’s StartR Accelerator.