Gowalla in the Park

While working with National Public Lands Day in 2010, I wondered what could be done with a location-based service to help promote the annual volunteer event held at the end of September. Then, I came across an article in the Austin American Statesman that led with this quote:

Over coffee on a rainy Monday a couple of weeks ago, Gowalla Inc. CEO Josh Williams defined his idea of success. “When we’re influencing people to go out and visit a national park because of this social network,” he said, “that’s when I get excited.”

I thought it could be a perfect fit to help promote NPLD and to help Josh Williams get excited!

After a little investigating, I was connected with someone at Gowalla who put everything in motion. They worked with us to add the 2,000 locations hosting NPLD events and develop a custom stamp that would only be available when their users – and our volunteers – “checked in” at those locations on NPLD.

In addition, they helped promote the event in advance by pushing a message to anyone who checked in at one of the NPLD locations in early September. Those users earned a custom NPLD pin from Gowalla and they received a message suggesting that the visitor come back to the park to volunteer on NPLD. They also promoted the partnership on their blog and Twitter, and their employees came out to participate at the event in Austin (their hometown).

They even produced and mailed some limited edition Gowalla/NPLD mashup t-shirts for volunteers to wear while they worked.

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