There’s a particular vocabulary which we use internally as guideposts to where we focus our activism:
Find a crisitunity (crisis plus opportunity) This is why this is urgent
now. Need a moment. Response rates soar when you are dealing with
something in the news now.Tipping point: the world is going to go one
way or another, but if you take this action now, you effect whether it
goes this way or that way.
Actionability: How convincing is it that my action is going to change something.
Winnability: If we go up this ladder, we’re going to get there.
DO: Make it really easy. Get people in the door. You have to be
fast: Men decide whether or not to close an email within 2 seconds,
women decide in 7. The easier you make it, the higher level of
participations you get.
Ladder of participation: seeing and observing first, take them
carefully up the ladder of participation. First impressions matter in
online organising: open rates are higher in early stage. Go gently,
give people easy asks before you give them hard ones.
Polling and consultation extremely useful tool: Avaaz wants to do a
tracking poll every week, take a segment and ask, look for the 30-40%
differences, not the 5-10% ones because changing a few words may switch
those low difference results.
Dissolve the difference between the organiser and the organised. Through your language it should always be US, WE.
Doing cool stuff: Generates attention. Endless quest for the new,
sometimes you get stuck in ruts, that will be killer to your growth and
Following the media spotlight: Public consciousness is very episodic.
Need to be hitting the email boxes when the story is hitting the media.
Wolfowitz as boss in a Youtube video that went viral (same guy that did Hillary Clinton spot)
Staged a protest in Los Angeles, 35 People demonstrating, 34 Journalists, it was the timing.
People can get excited about offline stuff, Oxfam does great stuff.
Treating politics as theatre, capturing people’s imagination. In the
run up to 2004 we set up a site called Voter Call, said wouldn’t it be
possible to pull off voters names and phone number from the rolls, say
a million in low and middle income areas, have people call them and
encourage them to vote. MAde 600,000 calls.
Darfour, lot of activism, not impacting things on the ground.
Fundraised for Peacekeeping forces to have radios and teargas and stuff
to protect women who are going to get firewood. No foundation wojuld
fund that, but our community could.
Call to action: SMS, mobile. Hello Gracie ringtone. Philipinos are
great at text organising, president fell in a coup d’ text. Somebody
recorded a conversation about the president talking on a cell phone
about throwing the election, and they broke it up into ringtones.
More Iraqis voted for the Star Academy (american idol) in Iraq than voted in the election. With their cell phones.
When you are part of an NGO there is a tendancy toward a corporate
voice. There’s a basic principle: a communication to your members
should be like a message to a friend. One of our most viral
communications was an internal message report back. Guy was suppposed
to hand over a petition, ended up actually delivering message to G8
ministers, the guy’s email was so compelling about how nervous he was
and what he said and how exciting it was, we just put it out to our
Big Don’t: Everything we do is about member service: HOW DOES THIS
SERVE OUR MEMBERS. Don’t think about how it servers your campaign or
yourself. But sometimes your members just don’t get it. There’s a
tension between always being led by our own campaigns rather than
looking at your members. Invest in member services.
Who is leading who: we are grappling with how much you open up. I
would love to have us wiki everything, but there are dangers in that.
It’s not just the control issue. riken got alienated from move on when
he went into the action forum to interact with other members and found
people he didn’t relate to. There’s a danger in opening up entirely as
2.0 and giving your members space to express themselves. Communities
have ups and downs, and big families are good examples of how you don’t
always look forward to seeing everybody.
People want leadership. Our core demographic is not an activist.
It’s amiddle aged mom in the global north and a student in the global
south. They heard something that she wants to do something abougt, she
gets an email and can do something aobut it in a few minutes. We treat
our supporters like presidents.
Accontability is built into the DNA of this model.
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