promoting plan canada with charlie mcdonnell
Stephanie Palasti

How We Promoted A Not-For-Profit Organization Through Influencer Marketing

Plan International is one of the oldest and largest, not-for-profit international development organizations that works in partnership with millions of people around the world to end global poverty.

This past August, Plan International asked us to come up with a unique strategy in an effort to help them target secondary and post-secondary school students through Influencer Marketing to increase awareness and participation towards their ‘Spread the Net Student Challenge’.  


What Is The Spread The Net Student Challenge?

Co-founded by Rick Mercer and Belinda Stronach in 2006, the Spread the Net Student Challenge is a competition between schools across Canada to raise funds for bed nets to help in the prevention of the deadly malaria disease. The top fundraising elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools receive a visit from Rick Mercer and appear on an episode of the Rick Mercer Report.

 Spread The Net Student Challenge


Finding The Right Platform

Each year, malaria kills an estimated 438,000 people, and it remains the leading cause of death of children under 5 in Africa.

In order to relay that message to students and have them participate in the #spreadthenet Student Challenge, we selected a well-known YouTuber to create highly shareable content that would initiate discussion, and drive donations to this great cause.


Finding The Right Creator

Finding The Right Creator

That well-known YouTuber was Charlie McDonnell, also known as charlieissocoolike.

With over 2 million subscribers on YouTube, Charlie is known for his Fun Science Series where he explains the science behind subject matter like: ‘What Makes Something Cute?’ and ‘Why Do We Love Fictional Characters?’.  

Who better to explain the science behind Malaria in an engaging manner and win the attention of students across the country?


Finding The Right Message

The message was simple…

1 Net.

10 Bucks.

Saves Lives.

Charlie created a ‘Fun Science’ style video for Plan International’s YouTube Channel titled ‘What’s The World’s Deadliest Creature?’.

In the video, Charlie explains what makes the malaria disease so deadly and what Plan International Canada and you can do to stop it.

He also promoted the video through his own Facebook, Twitter, and and YouTube Channels to increase the organic reach and engagement around the video.

Finding The Right Message


The Results

To date, the video has been viewed over 84,000 times and Charlie has received over 10,000 engagements (likes, comments and shares) on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  

Plan International also used Charlie’s video to educate students on their cross-country tour promoting this initiative to elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools; garnering incredible attention around the cause.


The Spread The Net initiative,  in partnership with both local communities and government entities in Liberia and Zimbabwe, has helped distribute more than 2 million of these life-saving bed nets.

Looking to donate?  You don’t have to be a student!  Donate A Bed Net Now.

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