Online Advocacy: The Basics for Global Citizens for Change

Global Citizens for Change - Spring 2008 retreatLast week I had the honour of presenting at the skill building retreat for Global Citizens for Change, a public engagement initiative of volunteer cooperation agencies in Canada.

Once again I went with the ‘walk before you run’ theme. My presentation was in four parts: the basics of online campaign communications, the basics of campaign websites, list engagement for campaigns and ‘everything else’ : how to evaluate other online opportunities (which admittedly was pretty short: how does it compare to email?).

The key learnings were:

1. Campaigning online is primarily a communications challenge, not a technological challenge.
2. The internet is made by and for people.
3. ‘Best list wins’: create, engage and grow your list before you…
4. Choose wisely from the low hanging fruit.

Download the presentation here [PDF, 3.5 MB]

While the presentation focused on the relatively narrow topic of online advocacy campaigns, I like to think the principles of effective online communications have a lot of carry over to other activities.

And I suspect I learned as much as I taught.The groups that make up Global Citizens for Change are working with people who, in any other context, would be called ‘Super Volunteers’. Their audience is people who have volunteered months and years of their lives for their organizations. Working with that kind of committed audience would be a real education in how to take campaigns beyond online campaigning and into real world engagement, and so it was great to hear how that process was managed.

I mentioned a few resources, which are in the presentation, and one that didn’t make it: an excellent book called “Fostering Sustainable BehaviorAn Introduction to Community-Based Social Marketing – by Doug McKenzie-Mohr and William Smith.

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Posted in Online advocacy, People Doing Good Work, The work I do, Workshops

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