As I noted yesterday, Allyson Kapin and Amy Sample Ward have written a new book, Social Change Anytime Everywhere: How to Implement Online Multichannel Strategies to Spark Advocacy, Raise Money, and Engage your Community. Since I get so many questions about how to best integrate online and mobile efforts into an overall strategy, I thought I’d ask them to share their thoughts with us.
This is the second half of our conversation (I posted the first half yesterday).
Katya: What can advocates of online and mobile do if their organizational leadership doesn’t see the potential?
Allyson: Read Social Change Anytime Everywhere of course;) Seriously, my best advice is to educate senior leadership about the different online channels by showing them examples of how other organizations are using them successfully. Also give them concrete suggestions on how your organization can start using them. Make sure you are setting realistic expectations though. You can’t go from A to Z overnight. It takes time to develop a strategy, experiment and test to determine what is going to be successful for your organization.
Katya: What’s one organization that we can look to for inspiration because they’ve really mastered social change tools on a shoestring?
Allyson: I’m a huge fan of Epic Change. As a volunteer led organization by Stacey Monk and Sanjay Patel, they have been able to inspire and mobilize friends and total strangers online to raise money to build two classrooms and a library for Shepherds Junior School in Arusha, Tanzania. Epic Change has used every channel at their disposal to connect with people and build relationships with supporters. They even have a Facebook group to organize and plan campaigns with a core group of volunteers.
I have also been impressed with how much they treat their donors like rock stars. Donors receive personal, hand written thank you notes from Stacey and Sanjay and other members of the organization. This past year, donors had the opportunity to meet Gideon and Leah, two of the students who traveled to the United States and hear all about what they are learning in school and aspirations. We learned that Gideon wants to explore becoming an astronaut. And Leah wants to become a doctor to find cures for different diseases. Supporters are also sent updates from the children and teachers about how the school is progressing and how the children are advancing academically. It’s really inspirational.
Katya: If you could go back in time and tell your younger self the most valuable lessons you’ve learned about advancing causes, what would be at the top of the list?
Amy: I think my beliefs and knowledge have expanded and gotten a bit more seasoned, but I still truly believe the same thing today as I did when I was in elementary school: we really can make change and it’s a lot more fun when we do it together.
Allyson: The people working at our organizations are not necessarily our target audiences. They are already very committed to our movement. Our activists, donors, volunteers, and decision makers are our target audiences and they should always be the focus. I feel like we lose site of this all of the time to get multichannel campaigns approved and launched by senior leadership.
Thanks to Amy and Allyson for this conversation.