In the recent issue of Wired Magazine, there is a telling story about the rise of online fundraising in light of the many tragedies the world has suffered, from hurricanes to the Tsunami. Bottom line, far more money was raised at lower cost online. Advocacy, of course, is about far more than raising money online. True advocacy, in the social marketing sense is about inspiring a belief in advocates that is so strong, they will go into the world and spread the word to their social networks. But the average person can only go so far in the real world – and do so much. Online, people have virtual personalities that can influence more people – and incite them to pass the message along farther than in the real world. Here are eight reasons why Advocacy might work better online.
- Overcomes boundaries of distance & national borders
- Makes it easier for "observers" to participate.
- Gives you a destination to place all supporting content and messages to change minds.
- Reduces the necessity for celebrities, politicians and governments to raise issue profile.
- Provides less-intrusive way for people to pass on the message through email.
- Supports word of mouth activity and provides more venues for messages to travel virally.
- Allows individuals to support sensitive/political causes anonymously.
- Encourages "impulse" donations and makes it easier for organizations to manage donations.
And a few success stories and/or interesting examples of online advocacy (both serious and lighthearted):
- Stop Badware – An alliance launched this week to combat spyware online
- Stop Global Warming – An interesting virtual march concept
- Oxfam Hunger Banquet – A great interactive game from a client of ours
- Stop Drug Ads – Interesting viral example (via John Bell)
- Bad Design Kills – Not as serious, but a great concept with highly viral downloads
- One Campaign – One of the highest profile sites and campaigns out there thanks to Bono.
- The Meatrix – An award winning concept that illustrates how impactful a viral eAdvocacy campaign can be (from the folks at Free Range Graphics – a great eAdvocacy agency).