The National Basketball Association typically showcases greatness on the basketball court, but for about a month at the end of 2013, the league also highlighted acts of greatness within the communities that house its NBA teams.
The initiative wrapped up December 31, after trying to encourage what the NBA calls great work in the community during the holidays, share said efforts online and inspire others to action.
To foster charitable work among players, fans and staff during the NBA’s Give Big campaign aggregated tagged efforts on a microsite.
In order to participate, fans, teams, players and “all members of the NBA family” simply needed to use the hashtag #NBAGiveBig on Twitter and Instagram to share photos, videos and stories from their seasonal community projects.
According to the NBA, by including the hashtag of a team’s three-letter abbreviation like #OKC, #BKN or #BOS within their posts, fans could also show the location of their contribution and sort charitable activity by team to learn how people are giving back in each city.
To further showcase these efforts, the NBA created what it calls its first-ever social media photo mosaic on the NBA Give Big website, to “celebrate and inspire charitable efforts around the world,” it says.
The NBA Give Big campaign also included charitable events hosted by all 30 NBA teams and 17 NBA Development League teams, such as meal service, food drives and toy drives. The NBA says players, coaches and front office staff also posted highlights from their events using the hashtag #NBAGiveBig.
According to an NBA rep, as of December 30, the #NBAGiveBig hashtag had been used 20,442 times and the campaign had resulted in nearly 775 million potential impressions.
The effort also helped teams and players expand their followings on Twitter. As of December 12, the Miami Heat had gained nearly 14,000 followers, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers, which had gained 12,000, and the Chicago Bulls, which had gained 11,000. Those figures add up to a total of more than 100,000 collective new followers for all teams.
In terms of individual players, Chicago’s Carlos Boozer was up 14,000 followers, Portland’s Damian Lillard 8,000 and LA’s Pau Gasol 6,000.
In addition, as of December 23, the NBA rep says the teams most often tagged in posts with #NBAGiveBig include Cleveland, Utah, Sacramento and Houston.
According to Todd Jacobson, the NBA’s senior vice president of social responsibility, the #NBAGiveBig hashtag was borne out of a desire to use the brand’s social strength to share its charitable efforts with fans and inspire others to help those that are less fortunate.
“Our main focus is to give, share and inspire. We want to make sure we’re giving back during the holidays,” says Jacobson. “The purpose of the program is really to use it as an opportunity to connect the community and share great things and help others and inspire others to do the same.”
That includes a season ticket holder in San Antonio who donated his tickets to the Wounded Warrior Project during the holiday season and a Utah fan who helped shovel out neighbors’ cars, he says.
The league is also working with sporting goods companies Dick’s Sporting Goods and Spalding to donate basketballs to NBA Cares community partners. For every NBA Spalding basketball purchased at Dick’s Sporting Goods through December 24, a basketball was given to charities such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the YMCA up to 30,000 balls, Jacobson says.
NBA Cares is the league’s social responsibility program through which the NBA, its teams and players have donated more than $225 million to charity, completed more than 2.6 million hours of community service and created more than 830 places where kids and families can live, learn or play, the league says.