MSN Butterfly to Flutter Its Wings for Charity

REDMOND, Wash., June 14, 2006—Can the flutter of a wing in one part of the world trigger dramatic changes in another? According to the Butterfly Effect, it can. And MSN is banking on it.

Developed in the 1960s by an MIT meteorologist named Edward Lorenz, the Butterfly Effect is a theory that describes how small, seemingly insignificant events can dramatically alter events somewhere else. For instance, the motion from the wings of a butterfly in can theoretically alter hurricane patterns in the Atlantic.

The MSN butterfly has long symbolized the notion that small acts, such as bringing people together, can make a world of difference. But today, MSN is taking that one step further. The Under the Butterfly campaign, a pilot program launched in April this year, is designed to generate interest and engagement for MSN customers by pointing them to specific and unique content available across the MSN network.

When customers visit certain channels, such as the MSN homepage, MSN Autos, MSN Entertainment, MSN Money, MSN Lifestyle, MSN Travel or MSN Health, they’ll notice the butterfly briefly fluttering its wings, inviting them to investigate further. If they move their cursors over the butterfly, a creative execution called a “Flutter” appears, which provides interesting or funny information associated with the current page and links to relevant content found deeper within the MSN network. These Flutters are designed to bring relevant and varied content to the surface—MSN content that many customers may be unaware of.

How do viewing links and answering trivia questions help make the world a better place? Between now and the end of the month, a limited number of flutters featured on MSN Money, MSN Autos and MSN Lifestyle will transform into a sweepstakes giveaway that has the potential to help Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) continue bridging the gap between hope and opportunity for some 4.6 million youth that the organization serves.

MSN has joined with BGCA to help children across America better realize their potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

Of all the Flutters that appear on MSN from now until the end of June, more than 2,300 of them will be prizes designed to reward users in the United States for being a part of MSN. The prizes range from a year’s supply of monthly gourmet dinners, fruit from Harry and David for one year, and gift certificates for Office Depot/Staples, to tanks of gas, sets of tires and T-shirts.

Customers who discover a sweepstakes Flutter will be given two options: They can keep the prize or have MSN donate the cash equivalent to BGCA (eligible visitors who receive sweepstakes offers will be chosen at random).

“The sweepstakes part of the Under the Butterfly campaign is our way of thanking our customers for being a part of the MSN community,” says Jocelyn Paul, senior marketing manager for MSN. “It is also a great opportunity to enlist our customers in our desire to help youth around the country through Boys & Girls Clubs of America. If the prize isn’t a perfect fit for them, but they are interested in being generous, then we’ll make a donation to the organization on their behalf.”

Bridging the Digital Divide

The Under the Butterfly campaign will help raise much-needed funds for some of the more than 3,900 Boys & Girls Clubs across the country. Based on the amount of funds raised, the organization will be able to subsidize computer labs, provide career training, and supply programs and equipment to foster in children an interest in technology and the arts.

“The Under the Butterfly campaign builds on our already solid relationship with Microsoft by once again finding unique ways in which to increase awareness for Boys & Girls Clubs of America and generate funding to support programs for some 4.6 million youth that we serve,” says Katie Kimple, senior director of YNet, a BGCA-sponsored online community that gives teens a voice, allows them to develop content and be leaders of their own online community.

Microsoft has a long-standing relationship with BGCA. In February 1999, BGCA and Microsoft began a journey together to help bridge the “digital divide,” with a unique pilot program to bring technology access to BGCA youth.

“Based on the success of the pilot and thanks to a donation in cash and software from Microsoft, we launched Club Tech in December 2000, to integrate technology into every aspect of the organization,” says Kimple. “With more than 2,600 Clubs running Club Tech programs today, the initiative has done a great deal to bring technology and technical literacy to more than 1 million youth across the country and on military installations around the world each year.”

“Microsoft’s vision is to help people realize their full potential,” explains MSN’s Paul. “Boys & Girls Clubs are doing the same—helping youth all over the country realize their potential. Because of this strong and continued synergy, the Under the Butterfly campaign is another extension of Microsoft’s commitment to Boys & Girls Clubs initiatives.”

The Second Phase: More Donations

The sweepstakes giveaways are just the first phase of the charitable portion of the Under the Butterfly campaign. The next phase, called “Countdown to Care,” will focus on guiding customers to unique content across MSN channels. Throughout July, MSN will make a donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for every customer click designated as a Flutter on MSN.

During this time, MSN will demonstrate the pass-along power of the charitable flutter by showcasing on the Set the Flutters Free Web site how individual MSN support adds up to help BGCA. Customers can visit this site to see a visual representation of how well MSN and the MSN community are doing in reaching the goals of the Under the Butterfly campaign.

The first goal in Countdown to Care is to provide 40 computer systems to BGCA, valued at US$36,000. The second goal is to fund career training for older kids, valued at $30,000. And the third goal is to provide digital software, cameras and camcorders so that young people can learn to compose music, make movies and create digital animation, valued at $34,000.

So can a few flutters of the wings on the MSN butterfly trigger the Butterfly Effect, to the point where children across America continue to realize their true potential? Boys & Girls Club members are hoping so; the MSN community believes so.

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