Today we really have a lot of power. The Internet creates a great opportunity to promote any social movement in a few clicks. For instance, look at the social movement ‘2017 Women’s March’, which started protest and reaction in January and now it’s gone viral, mainly from social media. Let’s go deep into the details concerning the start of any new social change campaign.

 

Digitalization And Its Impact On Social Change

Before starting our guide of how to make a social change movement real, we probably should figure out what we take into consideration when we say «social change». Broadly speaking, it is the transformation of culture and society. Everyone can name a long list of such transformations, which will include the civil liberties, feminist, environmental issues, gay rights, gun control, don’t drink and drive, living wage movements and many more. Nowadays, with high expansion of digital opportunities available with the use of Internet, the whole process of setting up a social campaign is quite different. People’s 24/7 engagement in online resources, particularly in social media, makes creators find new ways how to reach out to them in digital.

 

Step 1: Choose A Cause You Truly Believe In

First of all, before launching any social movement campaign, you should think over a cause that is very close to you. The one you really believe in. Only in this case you’ll be able to make people, sharing the same views, involved. Surely, this cause has to be a clear one aimed at a particular targeted audience. If you say something like «Hey Everyone! Let’s advocate policies regarding human rights!» with no further details, that’ll not work. But in case if you address in a way like 2017 Women’s March‘ does in its facebook group, providing 17 different suggestions how you can «make a difference», that will surely influence the minds of your followers.

 

Step 2: Make A Clear Goal

The goal of any social movement campaign should be clearly defined. It starts with the language which is used in your campaign name/slogan/description and finishes with the platforms you use to make people engaged in the movement. If you make your goal a clear and sincere one, it will definitely attract people who have the same attitudes towards the problem you are solving. And this is a key point for a campaign to go viral. If we again refer to ‘2017 Women’s March‘, we will see the following catchy slogans:

At this step you also should make sure your slogan/headline/story are put in a way, that will attract people’s attention. To do it, you can simple go to any newspaper or news website and see what is on the front page. Catch the latest trending things and visualize the lines of your stories the same way.

There is an interesting check list published on this website, which contains the most popular topics that make people move. Here they are:

  • Kids
  • Animals
  • World Peace
  • Celebrities in trouble
  • Diseases
  • The Bizarre/Funny
  • Politics
  • Sports/health/fitness

Well, if your idea matches one of this topics – then conceive that it is in the bag. If not, then make it so relevant and exciting that it will take the first place in this check list!

 

Step 3: Show Your Own Involvement

If we deepen in the virality of any social movement, then we should mention that it is closely connected with the ability of people to empathize on a human level. By providing your personal reasons/beliefs to support the aim of the campaign you increase the likelihood of the same beliefs and personal commitment of people.

One of the most touching personal involvement I’ve personally come across is a true-to-life story about the experience of Afghanistan expedition, written by American journalist Masha Hamilton for ‘Afghan Women’s Writing Project’. Having read it, you start looking for all the information about the campaign on the website and social media with no doubt.

 

Step 4: Collaborate And Be Ready To Interact

At this point you should canalize your energies to build a coalition, or a group of individuals or even organizations, who are working towards the same goal. The character of this coalition can be either formal or informal – there are particular benefits from both sides. Whichever type you choose to establish, don’t forget that the trust amongst coalition members is invaluable.

You also should be ready to take part in listening/sharing and contributing your time and effort to the stories of your followers. In the vein of how the Guardian states it: «The most effective campaigns have a human touch that people can connect with and that prompts them to share their experiences. A campaign must provide a platform for contributors to express what a particular cause means to them. It should also give people the flexibility to share in a manner that suits them best – the It Gets Better Project enables contributors to share both video and written submissions of their stories».

 

Step 5: Select The Right Tools

The tools you choose should depend on your objective. At the moment, there are so many free tools available in the Internet. Take social media for example. If you want to raise awareness and promote your movement, then Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are the best ideas. For more efficiency, it is better to use all of them, applying the most impactful pattern that work in this particular social media.

For instance, check the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, that clearly shows that social media is «more than just pictures of meals and cocktails».

#bringbackourgirls

A post shared by bringbackourgirls (@bringbackourgirls) on

Surely launching your own website is a great resource to promote your campaign. There are many free templets all over the Internet to implement. So you even don’t have to be a skillful programmer or designer.

You can witness a significant number of social movement campaigns, that launched their official website with full description of their mission, vision, manifesto, action, stories, resources, contacts info and donate button 😊 And that’s one of the most important things! You can work for free, but obviously you’ll need some financial background to pay your co-workers and any services or technologies you’ll need (you are looking forward to expansion, aren’t you?).

Check Idle No More, for instance. A reasonable and detailed site, and promotion via Facebook and Twitter, that helped their campaign gain international recognition.

You also know a petition platform named Change.org. Its members address their existing and future subscribers via various social networks. Now this social platform unites more than 100 million people from 196 countries, according to the statistics published on its official site.

End FGM Campaign is another good example in this point. Aiming at gathering and showcasing personal experiences, they provide an easy way for people to share their stories with the world.

 

Step 6: Fundraise

We’ve already mentioned the necessity of getting financial aid in the previous step. Now we are getting in the details of it. Surely, money can be raised via traditional routes: for example, by hosting events (sounds old-style, doesn’t it?) or placing donation jars in local businesses. Nevertheless our digital world claims more sophisticated ways of fundraising. So your «helpers» here are your official website, previously mentioned social media networks and some donate programs, in which you can apply to.

A tip for you: more creativity leads to more engagement. It is very vital to be creative here, as many people more and more don’t pay attention to donation bars, as they become a part of their everyday routine. Make something unique. And this will work. Here I want to draw some statistics about Movember, a campaign that runs through November. I guess you know, but still: it encourages men all over the world to stop shaving, growing their facial hair wild, in order to attract attention to the health issues, affecting men. In 2011, when this campaign had the pinnacle of success, Prostate Cancer Charity managed to raise £26 Million globally. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?

 

Step 7: Keep Supporters Engaged And Move Forward

With the amount of existing content on the Internet, keeping supporters engaged over time is a difficult task. Here a MUST is to post frequent blog posts and status updates with prominent headlines aimed to promote your campaign. Don’t forget that you have them everywhere: official site, social media and donation platforms. It takes time – but give you a result.

Never assume that today’s interest in your campaign is enough. If you stop supporting this interest, it will rapidly fall down. You need to inspire existing supporters and attract new ones, pushing your initial goal forward. Don’t be surprised, but starting a movement is a never-ending cycle (if we don’t take into consideration that you want to quit. why then have you started? right?). Revise your plan and strategy, build awareness with new potential members, collaborate, access blocked information, create new sources of fundraising…

Well,

All this sounds challenging, doesn’t it? Surely, it does. But being not afraid to risk, you can push the idea you’re truly passionate about far forward. And then wake up one day and understand that you end up changing the world.

As Hunter S. Thompson ask: «So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?». The answer is up to you.

 

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