It’s a Basic Right to Know
How much does the environment really affect human health? Are air pollutants and tainted water shortening our lives and those of our children? What should we look for and where can we find credible answers? These questions and many others have been driving environmental awareness in recent years.
Other health issues associated with emerging environmental hazards, such as chemical products, are also being brought into question. Chemical products are used in virtually every man-made product and play an important role in the everyday life of individuals around the world.
People want to be informed; they want to have accurate information to make the right choices for themselves and their families. There is power in information. And with information, many can take the action necessary to protect human health and the environment in which they live.
Caring Enough to Take Action
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) uses the power of public information to protect public health and the environment. Their focus is to protect the most vulnerable segments of the human population – children, babies and infants in the womb – from health problems attributed to a wide array of toxic contaminants. Specializing in providing useful resources to consumers, the EWG simultaneously pushes for national policy change.
As a major driver of information, EWG’s research brings to light unsettling facts that citizens have a right to know. It shames and shakes up polluters and their lobbyists. It rattles politicians and shapes policy. It persuades bureaucracies to rethink science and strengthen regulation. It provides practical information people can use to protect their family and community.
EWG’s supporter base is 100 percent organically grown, meaning each person has opted in to the organization. They have a large list of 1.1 million supporters thanks in part to the strength of their operational teams providing relevant content and engaging web pages on high traffic websites. In the last 30 days, their combined website traffic has shown 1.4 million unique visits. With nearly 130,000 likes on Facebook and multiple twitter channels, social media has also been a useful tool to engage people and disseminate information.
“We’ve never bought or traded a name and that says a lot for our organization,” said Colleen Hutchings, deputy director of online fundraising, EWG. “We try to really engage our supporters with information that they are looking for. When we know there's going to be a big media hit with a particular topic of interest, we use a lot of flash pages on our website. We target those pages and make them stand out – it’s a quantity driver.”
Because of its focus on really effective content produced in a readable and interesting format, EWG hasn’t had to do much campaigning to grow supporters. The challenge the nonprofit faces is not about getting people to care and visit their website; it’s about figuring out how to convert the people who read the content to those who are willing to take action or make a donation.