Posts from the ‘Online Advocacy’ category

Here Comes #GivingTuesday and the Thunderclap

What if you could plan for 100s, 1000s of people to all share your message at the same time?

Now, you can. With Thunderclap.

Thunderclap is a tool that lets you and others share the same message together, spreading an idea or call to action across Facebook and Twitter at the same time. With a click of a button, Thunderclap makes it easier for your communities to participate in your cause’s online advocacy efforts.

The concept of the Thunderclap is similiar to the “tweet bomb” tactic that was recently used for the #hungertohope World Food Day social fundraising campaign. Currently, there is no charge to use Thunderclap. However, if you create your own clap, you do have to go through a painless approval process as a way to cut down on message spam.

Bringing the Hammer

Thunderclap has already been used by a number of causes and is being called upon for the upcoming #GivingTuesday campaign, an effort encouraging people to give back the Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday organizers are looking for 500 fellow clappers to help jump start the social campaign. Right now, they currently have 61 including myself. Will you consider joining?

Stay Integrated

Already, too many people and organizations treat social media as a broadcast mechanism rather than putting emphasis on content, people and relationships. Don’t be one of them. Instead, use your Thunderclap as an integrated part of your campaign. Include a call to action in your message along with a link. Optimize your landing pages. Measure your success. Go beyond one and done.

Shape Content for Action

Photo by Derek Lyons

Public health is in dire need of increased online advocacy.  I was reminded of this while reading Search Engine Watch’s recent article, Why PageRank Doesn’t Matter. The author writes:

What matters varies from campaign to campaign, but there is one global truth: the one constant in metrics is ROI. How that is defined depends on the purpose of the site (easiest on an e-commerce site, harder on an information site that’s focus is education).

“An information site that’s focus is education” describes most public health websites, especially those in the Federal arena. So, how do we obtain ROI? Shape content to drive measurable actions and demonstrate impact.

On Digital Metrics

The U.S. General Services Administration recently announced its new Digital Analytics Program, a much needed step in advancing the development of user-centered products and services. As a part of this initiative, GSA launched the Digital Metrics Toolkit which outlines the 10 required Web metrics government agencies must collect. This is great news. But it doesn’t get us to ROI–yet. As the article shared above says:

Marketers and website owners need to not just educate themselves on how metrics work but pause, think about how the various data points connect, how a proper campaign is structured, and make clear what is to be reported and why.

In his presentation, Social Media ROI, Lee Aase also offers the following advice, “Don’t hold social media to a higher ROI standard than what you’re already doing.” No matter your approach, measuring ROI takes integrated planning and involves tying content and evaluation strategies together. To achieve this of course, you must first know your goals and objectives.

On Context and Convention

Online advocacy helps connect the dots, report on ROI and tell a richer story. If you share that a million visitors came to your website during World AIDS Day–that’s a strong data point of your reach but it leaves you with a lot of questions:

  • Who are those one million visitors that came to your site–are they even relevant?
  • Did those one million visitors find your HIV/AIDS information?
  • Of those that came to your site, what did they do next?

But what if you had a strategy of online advocacy integrated into your online presence? Say you know you had a million visitors to your website the week of World AIDS Day, but you also know:  Of these one million people, 1 in 2 people read HIV/AIDS specific information and that of those who read that information, 60% shared it with a friend via email. Now you know:

  • The people coming to your website were information-seeking which aligns with your communications strategy.
  • Half of those coming to your website found your HIV/AIDS information.
  • Of those that found this information, 60% shared it demonstrating they saw value in the information and that your reach is actually greater than one million.

On Online Advocacy

Online advocacy lives at the intersection of cause involvement and behavior change. It’s a communications strategy that encourages and empowers individuals and organizations to move from receivers of information to ambassadors of that informations and can help blur the line between online and offline efforts. Some evidence:

A number of theories also support an online advocacy approach to optimize use of social media:

The next time you develop content for your website, think about how you can give it context, emphasize action (subscribes, downloads, pledges, shares, and more) and capture data points you can measure to add a touch of online advocacy.

I’ve shared examples of online advocacy in Federal public health before. More recent examples include’s “Facing AIDS” campaign and CDC’s “Flu Vaccination” campaign. Branching ouf of the Federal arena look at the #hopetohunger World Hunger Day Campaign. Granted, it’s a social fundraising initiative but their primary success metric was an online advocacy measurement: word of mouth referrals from donors.

How is your health campaign capturing word of mouth referrals? It starts with your content. Go beyond what you want someone to read. Think about what you want people to do.

Tonight: Live Chat About Empathy, CSR, American Idol and More

Quick note: Tonight is our Read4Change Book Club chat via Twitter at 8pm EST. To join us, just follow @read4change or follow the hashtag #read4change.

Book: Wired to Care

Special Guest: Co-Author Pete Mortenson

Topic: Empathy + CSR as an Approach to Change

From Chase Bank to Pepsi to now–American Idol, many are integrating social media into their corporate social responsibility and/or their cause marketing efforts. Join us to discus what’s working and what’s needed–could it be more empathy? Co-author Pete Mortenson joins us to share his insights and the lessons gained from the concept of empathy.

FYI: During our chat, American Idol will be highlighting its latest cause initiative with Idol’s Kris Allen and the UN Foundation in Haiti. Thus, it’s a book club and a watch party all in one. (#UNFIdol) Hope you can join in on the fun!


Piqued your interest? Learn more about the Read4Change Book Club –including future topics and books.

Four Phases of Online Social Change

red heartYou may agree or disagree with me on this, so I encourage your thoughts as I’m transcribing some of my own observations into the online social change field. These observations boil down to four “phases” of online social change that I think reflect our maturity into using social media tools to meet our organization’s aims:

  1. Awareness Building
  2. Fundraising
  3. Contests and Competitions for Change
  4. Advocacy

In the beginning, I feel many tools were leveraged as awareness-building mechanisms. From the initial launch of Causes to recruiting fans, followers and friends, many tools were initially set out to further awareness-building of an organization.

Then, I felt like the tools and our use of them matured as we discovered ways to leverage the tools into dollars–from Twestival to Tweetsgiving to Goodsearch. Even Causes adapted and identified birthdays as a way to increase micro-donations. You could say that online fundraising in and of itself has seen a phased formation and continues to evolve. See Beth’s Kanter’s recent post: 5 Social Media Fundraising Trends for 2009.

Then, enter the behemoths–contests and competitions like “America’s Giving Challenge,” hosted by the Case Foundation entered in the next rendition. You could say this ties into a more advanced type of fundraising, but I felt like it deserved to be on its own. As, I don’t yet think this area has been “tapped out” and neither do organizations according to Andre Blackman who interviewed the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation who uses contests and competitions to further public health innovation.

However, where I feel we are still in our infancy is with online advocacy for social change. It’s starting to creep up–just look at LiveEarth’s 2009 campaign “Love, the Climate” where people were encouraged to write love letters to office holders who worked to prevent climate change or the “Be a Voice for Darfur” movement which utilized activist and blogger toolkits to further realize the campaign’s objectives. Even provided a way for people to create and spread petitions with a call to action via Twitter.

Like I said, I think advocacy is where we have the most potential to further expand. I could be biased based on my government and citizen engagement day-job type of work–but I think there’s more ways we can get involved, as citizens, in decision making and peace keeping in our local, state and Federal governments–even internationally. What about you? Where do you think we have the most room to grow and what do you predict as being phase 5? Perhaps, partnerships and collaborations might be a phase five as we see how online and social media open up new doors of opportunity across organization firewalls. Or, another phase 5 might be storytelling–as more of these functions become interwoven and organizations get better at telling their story.

What do you think?

flickr credit: flatfield

Why Advocacy Is an Important Social Marketing Tool

Concerned about obesity? Either personally or within your community? You are not alone. One way to combat obesity is by promoting and advocating for more fruit and veggie consumption.

Your mother may have always told you to eat your fruit and veggies. If so–consider yourself fortunate. According to new data from the CDC in the first ever State Indicator Report on Fruits and Veggies, more us need to dish up.

The CDC report provides information for each state on how many fruits and veggies people are eating and importantly, it highlights three key areas within communities and schools that can be improved to increase access, availability and affordability of fruits and veggies. According to the report, it shows that no state is meeting the national goals that were outlined in Healthy People 2010 (as an fyi, you can now comment on the Healthy People 2020 objectives to help frame our nation’s health priorities).

Fruits and veggies are essential to healthy living, preventing obesity and protecting us from chronic diseases and certain cancer–yet simply put, the CDC report found that many of us can’t eat the recommend amounts because we can’t fruits and veggies may not be easily accessible, available or affordable. What I like about this report, is that is not only states the problem–but offers ways to overcome it. And many of them, tap into the social marketing tool of advocacy.

  1. Did you know that only 8 states have a state-level policy for healthier food retail improvements? Is your state one of these? If not, advocate for policy to address this concern.
  2. Did you know that only 1 in 5 middle and high schools offer fruits and non-fried veggies in vending machines, school stores or snack bars? And did you know that only 21 states have a state-level policy to increase fruit and vegetable access in schools? Check to see if this is your state, and if not, advocate that policy addresses this concern.
  3. Have you ever heard of a food policy council? According to the CDC, a food policy council is a “multi-stakeholder organization to improve food environments.” And guess what–only 20 states have a state-level food policy council and only 59 local food policy councils exist across the nation. I can’t vouch for their effectiveness, but it seems like a great way to start a conversation about the issue and presents another opportunity to advocate and organize.

For further inspiration to fuel ways to advocate for healthier behaviors in your community, check out CDC’s State Indicator Report on Fruits and Veggies as it provides fruit and vegetable consumption–as well as policy and environmental support–within each state. As an added resource, the CDC has also put together this report outlining recommended community strategies to address obesity.

At the CDC conference in August, we were reminded about the power and ability to leverage advocacy to meet social marketing objectives…looks like we have quite the opportunity here. Feel free to share what you and/or your community is doing to address this epidemic. We can continue spreading awareness about the obesity epidemic, or we can choose to do something about it.

flickr credit: mightmightmatz

What Creates a Revolution?

“A revolution doesn’t happen when a society adopts new tools, it happens when a society adopts new behaviors.”

–Us Now Movie Trailer Preview

Today, I was skimming through my RSS feeds and one of my favorites had an update: Mike Kujawski’s Public Sector 2.0 blog. Mike gets social marketing (the real kind), and he is also a savvy social media professional. On his site, he posted the Us Gov movie trailer, which I had seen before on Maxine Teller’s blog, but today, the last quote (located above) really stood out to me the most.

It stood out because in it I saw a profound statement being made on behavior change. It may be due to me coming away from my talk with a class of smart Yale students, where their *good* questions focused a lot on the why of social media (measurement, literacy, behavior change, clutter vs. content, society’s relationship to technology, etc.). But, I feel like this quote gest to the heart of the relationship between social media and social marketing, and why the relationship is important.

  1. It’s not about the tools (i.e. being cool or shiny)
  2. Change (i.e. revolution, small or big) is a result of adopting/influencing new behavior (whether it be that of a society, an organization or an individual).

Currently, at an increasing rate, society is experimenting and applying social media tools, both for the good and the bad. Thus, we as practitioners need to be aware of this and how it is affecting one’s behavior. For example, I tease that in 10 years, we will be doing public health campaigns for internet addiction…but how far away is that really? We already have them for TV addiction. Take a quick look here at the Us Now documentary preview, as it’ll provide some more juices to step back and do some introspection and reflection.  

If you find this interesting and what to dig beyond the tools and really get to “what does this all mean?” Then, I also highly recommend visiting the Digital Ethnography blog and getting introduced to Professor Michael Wesch, who was named Professor of the Year for 2008. He and his students have some interesting and compelling videos on what “more than the tools” have to mean and why it’s important to know.

If you want to continue discussion on “what government may/can look like,” then I also recommend following both the Government 2.0 Club and the Government 2.0 Camp conversations (if you can’t physically attend the gathering coming up soon at the end of MArch) on Twitter too.

…because after all, what creates a revolution? and what does a revolution look like?

flickr photo credit: Wesley Fryer

Bloggers Unite for Refugees United

Bloggers Unite

Today, over 10,000 bloggers from around the world will unite to raise their voices on behalf of more than 40 million voiceless refugees.

Some have wondered about the potential of blog awareness days and what their potential and impact may be beyond raising….[wait for it]…awareness. However, awareness can lead to action. To be honest, before Bloggers Unite announced it’s “Bloggers Unite for Refugees United” initiative I was not that connected with the issue. However, due to BU + RU efforts, I am now more engaged. And that in my book, is a direct result of Bloggers Unite.

As the BU resource page says, “Knowledge can bring change.” Though it may not be a direct correlation, change begins with individual action, and individual action must be born with passion and knowledge. (Some of my social marketing friends will argue there is much more involved in behavior change. I concur. This being one of the reasons I encourage the study and application of social marketing.)

Because I concur, Bloggers Unite brings the issue before us. The challenge then, is how will we respond? On the BU resource page, they offer a number of resources to begin with, including:

UK Refugee Services

Lutheran Refugee Services

Aotearoa-New Zealand Refugee Services

United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrant Children

Church World Service Immigrant & Refugee Program

Women’s Commission for Refugee Women & Children

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Disclaimer: In my professional life, I currently have a working relationship with Bloggers Unite for an upcoming project that I am looking forward to share with SB readers in the very near future. =)

Join the Pledge for a Humanitarian Lion at Cannes

Awhile back, I wrote about a video that surfaced on YouTbue that was sending a message to Cannes to create a Humanitarian Lion at Cannes. The video has always been featured on my Events page. Now, I am excited to report that the video has turned into an official campaign.

We support the Humanitarian Lion

Join us in sending a message to advertisers and clients everywhere: we want to elevate the good and generate a shift in the way we do business and increase our reputation as an industry. I just signed the pledge today, at did the folks over at Osocio.

The Cannes are a worldwide event, so this movement can be a worldwide effort.

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Web 2.0 Wednesdays

With the growth of Web 2.0 (and the up and coming uses of Web 3.0), I plan to showcase an organization/cause that’s using great Web 2.0 strategies to further its mission within its social marketing strategies.

Today’s Web 2.0 Wednesday honors The National MS Society’s site centered around its latest re-branding for raising awareness and support for MS, their micro-site Join The Movement.
Changing MS Logo

On this site, they have ‘The Wall’ and the option to ‘Create Your Mark.’ Here, users of the site can literally draw their own statement against MS, including the cause’s new logo and rebranded mission. Then, it can be submitted to The Wall, with hundred’s of other users’ drawings. This not only reenforces the newly packaged mission, but allows for customization, interaction with the cause and shows how the disease affects others.

Props to the MS Society! PS: They also have another cool micro-site they use to share and submit various personal stories about the effects of Multiple Sclerosis,