Nonprofit Online Tools and Strategies for Effecting Change
Because the world needs you now
Video advocacy and digital media strategies are some of the most effective tactics in the change-inspiring movements of today. Increasingly, we’re seeing social media play a huge role in social movements and calls for change. These platforms are an excellent medium for individuals, organizers and activists to share ideas and cultivate support, and they can be incredible tools for helping nonprofits do the same.
Digital tools allow your nonprofit to facilitate storytelling with the goal of impacting social discussions by creating attention in and around your chosen community. They help impact learning by providing a gateway for educating and sharing, and they play part in changing the world by highlighting perspectives on policies, structures, practices, and individual and collective minds and behaviors.
Understanding how your organization can measure, monitor and take advantage of digital technology to effect change is key to contributing to your impact on social justice around the world.
Key Objectives for Nonprofits in Digital Advocacy
The goals of using digital technologies for social change include:
Tools for Advocacy & Storytelling
Social movements are complex systems with many attributed tools and processes. Today, streaming video, as a tool, is at the forefront. “Show, don’t just tell,” is incredibly important in terms of reliable, empathetic and action-inspiring storytelling. If this wasn’t self-evident in the past, one need look no further than the flood of calls for social justice and the Black Lives Matter movement after the video of George Floyd’s unjust death spread virally across social and traditional media channels. Use video advocacy, in ways like this, to spark engagement and action from your audience.
Looking for more tools for social change? We shared “Online Tools Nonprofits Can Use to Create Social Change” a few years ago and recently updated it with new additions. Check out the 15 platforms and tools your nonprofit can use.
Video Platforms and Apps for Change
Facebook & Messenger
Use video to tell stories about volunteers, employees and those you serve. Share impactful videos that relate to your company message. Encourage followers to feel more connected to a cause to facilitate donations and the spread of your message. Start conversations by sharing milestones and inviting supporters to participate in decision-making. Go “Live” on the scene or host an interview with an expert in your field. Post videos, photos and articles detailing your contributions, involvement and progress, and encourage followers to share.
Similar to Facebook Live, Instagram Live is a feature on Instagram Stories that allows users to stream video to followers and engage with them in real time. Instagram is, like Facebook, a great resource for posting videos, photos and articles detailing your contributions, involvement and progress, and encouraging followers to share your message.
ACLU Mobile Justice app
The ACLU Mobile Justice app is a video live streaming application developed for smartphones by various state chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union. According to their charter, “it was intended to allow instant, secure video recording and transmission of interactions with, and perceived abuses by, law enforcement officers,” to promote accountability and justice for the abused.
Besides providing authentic video content, ACLU promotes nonprofit support for petitions, hosts organizing meetings in small communities, and allows organizations to make donations in the organization’s name. Doing good, with good PR exposure for your brand, is a mutual win.
The Citizen app is a mobile app that sends users location-based safety alerts in real time. It allows users to read updates about ongoing situations, broadcast live video, and leave comments.
If your organization has advocates, protestors or activists on the scene, encourage them to stream live. Use it as a platform to establish your voice, your credibility, your passion for the movement and willingness to put your beliefs into practice.
TikTok is a social media platform for creating, sharing and discovering video content, especially popular with younger demographics.
One major advantage to nonprofits and organizations wishing to broadcast a wide message is that TikTok’s main feed features content from users across the globe (differing from other social feeds that follow a “friends”-oriented chronology to the main feed). Create original content and utilize TikTok’s broader platform to reach more than just your regular followers.
Additional Platforms for Changemaking
How nonprofits can use it: Nonprofits can become a Change.org member and can start verified petitions at any time. Change.org allows nonprofits to contribute through a subscription membership model and allows for petitions to be promoted on the site, which can amplify your reach for contributors. Promoting your petition across your media channels is a great way to broaden your message and allows for further audience engagement and sharing.
Crowdfunding (GoFundMe and others)
Nonprofits can register a mission as a GoFundMe Charity account, similar to Change.org’s model, but with crowdfunding at the base of the campaign. Most platforms will allow you to share your campaign across all social media channels, and provide verified payments, and enhance the community-movement aspect of your cause.
How nonprofits can use it: Use the power of your brand and followers to reach out to elected government officials. This is a great resource for individuals and organizations alike; there is power in numbers.
Taking Action for Your Nonprofit
With these tools and platforms at your fingertips, you can start incorporating digital technology into your nonprofit’s storytelling today. Video advocacy and targeted social media strategies are just the start of a sweeping social technology revolution.
We’re here to help.