How campaigners are transforming pre-internet orgs for the modern era

4 Lessons in NGO Innovation from UNICEF, Greenpeace, Oxfam, and the Sierra Club

From the Clean Air Act and Women’s Suffrage to an end to slavery and the Civil Rights Act, there are plenty of examples of successful grassroots campaigns that occurred in a pre-Internet era with the leadership of many decades-old organizations. Under next-generation leadership, however, many of these organizations, such as UNICEF, Greenpeace, Oxfam, and the Sierra Club, have recognized shifting campaign trends and are pursuing radical innovations in order survive, and often thrive, in this new digital landscape.sxswnonprofitsession2014

In recent years, these changing trends have been highlighted in multiple outlets, including Bonnie Koenig’s 2013 piece in the Stanford Social Innovation Review on the topic. Koenig writes:

How should NGOs and other civil society organizations deal with this tide of change? People are tackling this challenge, but conversations are often limited to institutes, think tanks, and exclusive gatherings. We need to take these conversations to new cross-sector, multigenerational venues and include practitioners who can help focus the conversation on how to transition from talk to action.

Of course, many smaller organizations don’t have the budget to fund a full innovation team internally. But as digital activism consultant, Mary Joyce, wrote in an Open Society Foundations piece, sharing information amongst campaigners can diffuse costs and enhance collaboration. Joyce writes:

…examples of digital innovations can be shared in whatever format participants prefer: a list of links in a monthly email to the staff listserv, a monthly video hosted by a staff member tasked with increasing innovation awareness, slide presentations at staff meetings, video conferences where an innovative team shares the story of their success with staff working on other campaigns.

Back in March, a handful of these leaders sat down at SXSW 2014 in Austin, Texas, to review how their institutions are using technology to adapt their internal structures, campaign work, and ideally, break through the noise. UNICEF’s Erica Kochi, Mobilisation Lab’s Michael Silberman, Core Collaboration’s Karina Brisby, representing Oxfam‘s shiftLabs, and Sierra Club’s Michael Grenetz, now at ActionSprout, lead the discussion and presentation.

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Catching Kerry’s attention: Ocean campaigners elevate Twitter tactics

Strategic combination of online and on-the-ground efforts take issue to next level
help fish

The Greenpeace oceans campaign team embraced a unique opportunity to catch the attention of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and open up conversation around the country’s position on high seas protection. The main strategy? Mimicking and … [Read more]

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Changing Trends: New Power, Neuro-Campaigning and Leaderless Movements

New Report: Four Key Trends for Campaigners to Watch
occupy featured

Thanks to Ben Hewitt and Hannah Lownsbrough of Save the Children for this guest post. Defending funding for rural schools in Thailand. Stopping the US President from securing FastTrack authority to approve secretive trade deals without … [Read more]

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Google Nest parody pushes limits of NGO tactics

Jean presents Google Bye to a room of media folks at Re:publica on May 7, 2014.

Grassroots activist collective draws attention to privacy issues, draws lessons for campaigners When activist duo Jean Peters and Faith Bosworth of Peng! Collective presented a spoof line of “new Google products” at a major media conference in … [Read more]

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Internet trends for campaigners: More mobile. More data. More edges.

User interfaces (and human interaction) are being reimagined using big data and more community-oriented platforms. Illustration by John Maeda, KPCB.

Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends report provides a comprehensive dive into global Internet use. This year’s report was recently released and here are our key takeaways for campaigners and advocacy leaders (along with a longer list of … [Read more]

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5 Lessons for Success from Real-World #BrandJam Campaigns

Photo © Greenpeace/Ann Johansson

Campaign victories come in all shapes and sizes. When facing a well-funded, multi-national corporation as an adversary, the challenge set in front of any campaigner can feel daunting. These brands have reputations to uphold and customers to keep, so … [Read more]

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Grassroots-led petition site boosts Greenpeace India supporters, reach and power

Campaign platform site Greenpeace Extra makes way for new leaders to step up
A screenshot of the Greenpeace Extra online petition site.

Some Greenpeace India campaigners spent the last year experimenting with a shift in their roles from running the campaign control room to providing a space for grassroots supporters to step up and lead. This new approach is in action through … [Read more]

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People Power is real power

Update from the 2014 Global Volunteer and Engagement Skillshare
posledný blog

This is a guest post from the 2014 Global Volunteer and Engagement Skillshare by Dianne Mc Alpine. Greenpeace is changing; we are becoming the people powered machine we have long planned for. No longer do we decide what needs to be done and ask … [Read more]

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Online media analysis for campaigners and ‘non-digital’ staff

5 lessons for effective conversation analysis from Greenpeace's Arctic 30 response
Social Media Analysis

Digital campaigners stay connected to the pulse of online conversations surrounding their campaigns. But what happens when a crisis occurs, bringing a surge of attention to your issue? This was the situation Greenpeace encountered as it plunged … [Read more]

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