In recent years, we’ve seen many social justice movements from Climate Change to Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ, and Me Too. Through history, most have aimed at making things better and fairer for people. And thanks to technology and social media, it’s never been easier to spread the word about important movements. Whether you’re just one person or work at a large nonprofit, you can encourage your supporters to help spread the word with social activism.
By definition, social activism seeks to bring social change. Many people who get involved in the work of nonprofits are passionate about the cause. And, the work that they do advocating, donating, and volunteering are all examples of social activism. So, even if you’re the executive of a charity that helps youth with financial literacy or small animal rescue, the people who support you can be your social activists.
Why is social activism a good idea for your nonprofit
As noted earlier, anyone who cares passionately about a social cause is a social activist if they take action. And, once you understand that, it’s easier to plan to get your team and supporters more engaged with your brand. When you give your champions a reason to remain engaged and passionate, they’ll want to spread the word about the work you do.
For instance, let’s say that your group seeks to eradicate breast cancer. By developing a marketing and education campaign that explains all of the issues related to the social ills of breast cancer, you’re positioning your supporters to become social activists. You could say that when women get treated for breast cancer, aside from their diagnosis, they have other issues to address. They lose time from work, as well as money to pay their bills. They suffer feelings of anger, sadness, and depression, which may require additional support. If they are single heads of households, they still have to care for their children while they get treated for cancer.
By educating your board and supporters on broader issues that happen, you create an opportunity for your people to become social activists. In other words, they can speak to the direct problems of dealing with breast cancer. But, they can also educate others about secondary issues.
How to get supporters involved in social activism for your nonprofit
So, now that you know that social activism can benefit any group let’s take a look at 5 ways you can do it in your nonprofit.
1) Passion matters for social activism
The first thing you have to do is to recruit people who care about your work. Hire a passionate team that includes everyone from your board, to staff, volunteers, and supporters. Social activism is about passion. Meaning, people have to care about your work so they can help you spread the word. And it’s your job to help people understand all of the reasons why your work matters.
2) Gather your information
Go beyond the obvious issues of your cause. Try to understand all of the underlying topics related to your mission. Take your time and do the research. What you want to gather is both qualitative and quantitative information. Facts and statistics matter. But, so do the personal stories. Once you know all issues related to your work, you can begin to incorporate them in your messaging.
3) Positioning and marketing
After you know all the issues associated with your work, you have to position your nonprofit. As an example, consider our athletic sneaker fundraising client. They collect athletic shoes from people for small business owners in developing nations to sell. However, a secondary issue that’s part of the brand positioning is the environment. When people give away their gently worn sneakers, they help keep these items out of landfills. That positioning has helped us recruit social activists.
4) Create opportunities for social activism
Once you’ve got your research and positioning done, you have to create opportunities. Your social activist supporters will be happy to get engaged, but you have to give them something to do. So, think about creative ways you can get them involved. For example, you can create a program of social media “ambassadors” who take the time to post about your work often. You can also create public events that get the attention of your local media.
5) Show your supporters the love
It takes a lot of work and effort to keep a movement going. But, you can do it with organization, preparation, and consistency. Always remember that your supporters don’t have to serve as social activists for your group. But they do it because they care about your work. So, make it a point to express, on an ongoing basis, your thanks for their support. Do this by engaging with them on social media. You can also do this by sending thoughtful, direct messages, texts, or handwritten letters.
Those 5 tips should get your nonprofit on its way toward a robust social activism program. And, remember if you want more ideas for nonprofit success, please take a look at the Funds2Orgs YouTube channel. On it, you’ll find quick and easy videos to help you with fundraising, marketing, and social media.
Author: Kristy Fonterela, VP Marketing Funds2Orgs. Kristy Fontelera is a creative professional with a background in corporate and nonprofit social media advertising, content creation, and brand strategy. As the VP of Marketing, she works with a suite of global fundraising brands as well as manages national and local social media accounts for clients and entrepreneurs. Kristy enjoys new books, traveling, Fleetwood Mac, and picnics with her pup. Most of all, Kristy is a passionate individual that loves nothing than more than to help others make an impact in their market and the world.
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