In today’s world, it doesn’t take a large organization to motivate masses of people to change the world. In fact, this year alone we’ve seen several of our clients like RYOT News, Acres of Love, Plant with Purpose and many others make a huge impact by empowering their global followers to fight for their cause.
In reviewing the campaigns of non-profits we’ve worked with over the past five years, I’ve identified a few critical components that are necessary to successfully mobilize masses of people around a cause in order to gain the money and tools you need to accomplish your mission.
1. Communicate A legitimate Need
A few years ago, a small fledgling organization displayed dirty water next to clean water in a NYC park for everyone to see. The people they’re mission served had dirty, diseased water, and they wanted to provide clean drinking water. That’s legitimate, and people responded. Today, we know that fledgling organization as charity: water. People are moved to action when they know your organization’s mission meets a critical need for the people or cause you serve.
2. Tangible Solutions
Mobilizing folks around your organization’s cause requires a clear and effective solution. Your solution should empower the people you serve, and sustainably meet a legitimate need. Plant With Purpose, an organization we work with, identified that when forests are destroyed, so are poor rural communities. Their solution is to provide local farmers with microloans, and sustainable farming education, so that they can build their own economically and environmentally sustainable farms and keep thriving forests. They also replant trees in areas where the forest has been destroyed. This is a clear solution that moves people to organize on behalf of Plant With Purpose. If you want to transform people into active evangelists, fundraisers, and volunteers for your organization, you have to communicate tangible, effective solutions.
3. Powerful Storytelling
Creativity and visualization< can bring understanding and simplicity to otherwise complicated problems, and this moves people to action. You have to tell a compelling story that people feel they can become a part of. The way you tell the story matters, though. Think about the components of a good page-turner, because that’s what your story needs to consist of. However, instead of a conclusion, you should have a clear call to action. An organization we work with called End the Cycle, does fantastic story telling. Check out their video here for an example.
4. Communication Channels
Go to the people. That’s the takeaway here. Today, most people are online and many use their smartphones to get online. There are still a few more traditional folks who you’ll need to call on the phone, or send a letter via snail mail. This means you’ll have to use a variety of mediums to get your story out: a good website and donation platform, social media, text messages, MeetUp groups, direct mail, phone calls, and compelling videos are all examples. You need a really strong web presence. When people hear about you the first place they’ll go is to your website. You want to make sure it’s both (1) telling your story in a compelling way and (2) allows people to donate easily.
5. A Clear Call To Action
You have to tell people what it is you want them to do. Do you need money to fund a specific project? You’ve got to ask them directly. As I said above, make sure you have a good place for them to give on your website. If you want students to organize groups on their college campuses, or middle-aged folks to share a film with their friends at the next rotary meeting, you’ve got to clearly ask. A strong and clear call to action can change the world. Make sure you have one.
Simply put, people want to know that the story you’re telling isn’t total bullshit… Unless of course, you’re using actual bull dung to create alternative energy sources or something like that. The world is beckoning to be changed for the better, and people will mobilize around your cause and make sure you have the money and resources to accomplish your mission, as long you have 100% transparency. Tell them where their money is going, and clearly map out the impact of your efforts.
7. Be Committed
Mobilizing people to change the world for the better isn’t easy. There is no quick fix to complex social and environmental problems, so you’ll need to show people that you’re committed. Someone once told me that sustainable impact takes at least 10 years. If you want to mobilize people to help make a lasting impact, be in it for the long haul.