Digital mobilisation: inspiring change online

Róisín McGovern
Head of Programmes
12 May 2021

The COVID pandemic has created an urgent need for nonprofits to rapidly scale up digital advocacy and digital fundraising. Organisations need to be reaching their supporters where they are, and in 2021… they are online. A rapidly changing world post-pandemic demands new approaches to engaging the public and winning their support.

With digital mobilisation at the forefront of Lightful’s BRIDGE programme, building resilience in digital growth and engagement for nonprofits across the world, we were delighted to welcome Paul de Gregorio, digital engagement expert and founder of Rally, to join a recent webinar for our current cohorts.

Paul has worked with a variety of organisations including Oxfam, Greenpeace, WWF and Amnesty International, to help deliver exciting fundraising and awareness campaigns that engage the public at scale.

He shared his expertise on how charities, both big and small, can use digital content as the catalyst to inspire online communities. Here are some of the key takeaways which you can apply to your own digital communications to gather momentum, and inspire action!

Long-lasting radical change needs broad and deep engagement with the public.

Paul reminded everyone of the importance of engaging people where they are and we know that in 2020, everyone was online.

He added the two principles that drive his thinking on digital mobilisation - engagement and movement building.

If we want to simplify digital mobilisation, here are four things to consider.

  • Attract a crowd - use your values and mission to attract individuals who care about the same things you do. Lead with your cause.
  • Convert the crowd - present a series of actions to let supporters know the variety of ways that can support your cause. The ask is more than money, from sharing social media content and signing petitions to attending events and recruiting volunteers... make it easy for them to act.
  • Think about how you speak - include supporter-led language. Rather than speaking as ‘we’ the organisation and ‘you’ the donor, use phrases such as ‘together we can…’, ‘here’s how you can have an impact’. Build that sense of collectivity and shared responsibility.
  • Take supporters on a journey - be clear on your digital movement story. Your story should identify a problem and a solution, articulate your organisational values, and inspire the public through shared goals and a sense of community.

Getting started with movement building

We’ve asked Paul his thoughts on how an organisation can get started with movement building:

“The biggest thing for me is that all organisations, whatever their size, can learn from movements of the past. They should focus on being clear on their vision, their plan to deliver the vision and the things people can do to help them. And all communications need to be framed in an active voice as we are looking for the public to stand with us and take action.”

Moreover, we wanted to hear his thoughts about our BRIDGE participants after delivering the first guest session with us:

“It was a brilliant experience - it was wonderful to connect with so many groups from all over the world.”

The online world is a community of people living their everyday life through digital technologies. By posting authentic and engaging communications, your content can impact lives and appeal to the real people behind the screens.

At Lightful, we’re proud to work with organisations across the world, helping them turn strategies into action, and inspire movements all with a goal of driving social change.
Find out more about the BRIDGE programme here.

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