Guilt learning is uninspiring…not to mention just plain old
When campaigning for peace in war torn countries or trying to inform new audiences about government atrocities – NPOs need an extreme makeover.
Some of the scariest websites are designed by NPOs. Either you get blasted with horrific statistics about violence, rape, government wrongdoing etc., or, straight up – someone asks you for a donation. Then they list a number of dry reasons as to why you should part with your hard earned dollars.
It’s scary. And, it’s pathetic. Sometimes, NPOs act like doing business is a dirty word. The tendency to adopt an attitude of martydom towards their own campaigns sucks all the life out of advocacy work. If you are fund raising for women’s rights, peace or to end conflict - don’t act like that’s the only reasoning you need to provide potential (new) donors or advocates.
Unfortunately, it’s not enough.
It’s lazy. Or, perhaps, it’s naive incompetence. Focusing so much on guilting people into learning about their cause, NPOs forgo engaging in a lasting dialogue. The dialogue is a conversation that can resonate with newer audiences (and add relevance). The goal is not, necessarily, to keep the same audience.
The key is to spread your mission to new learners.
Pictures are a 1000 words…maybe
NPOs have a bad (PR) habit of using photos that make the viewer shrink back in utter horror …or not care at all. It’s one thing to show the true realities of living in Darfur or surviving in the Congo – but it is truly another to showcase photos of disembodied body parts of violence survivors.
How are you truly empowering the people you seek to help? There is nothing empowering about a victim remaining a victim.
In reality, these tactics create even bigger distances between the NPO’s mission and the people they hope to reach.
Simply, social justice NPOs are competing for people’s time - not just their money.
It’s the attention that keeps the campaign relevant. If such organizations reposition their mission around that, they can gain an even larger momentum around their cause.
Poor, poor social media – where for art thou?
If an NPO has caught the social media holy ghost – it doesn’t mean they’ve become true believers. They might be on Twitter, but they haven’t tweeted anything in months. They have a Facebook page – but that’ s it. No notes or photos attached.
If there is a blog, it’s updated sporadically with press releases, which I can see on their website anyway.
Visiting these websites is equal to an exercise in master level brain teasers. They are either dense, poorly updated, or (God forbid) both.
Website visitors have no idea these other tools are connected with their NPO of choice. Largely, this disconnect is working against them. And, to some degree, NPOs know that. But they don’t care.
Because they haven’t fully embraced the value of incorporating such tools into the larger sphere of their conversation. The purpose is to widen the conversation, not shrink it or have it exist in individual vacuums.
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