Social Movements: How to Spread Awareness and Inspire Change | by StartSomeGood



Let’s say you’re passionate about a particular idea. It’s a great idea — one that could bring about big changes for the betterment of society. You spend time building a website, creating a catchy social media hashtag, and perfecting your storytelling techniques. You do what you can to gain momentum, but your efforts fall flat. No one outside of your circle of family and friends jumps on board.

What could you have done differently to help people see the value in joining your movement? It doesn’t necessarily have to do with the cause itself. Rather, it may have been the way you marketed it. You simply didn’t reach enough people to get your campaign off the ground.

Whether you’re starting your first social movement or reimagining your current approach, there are many simple ways to tap into your supporters’ emotions, ignite their passion, and inspire them to band together in pursuit of a common social change. By resonating with people, you’ll be able to harness the collective power of hundreds, maybe hundreds of thousands, of people. Throughout this quick guide, we’ll walk through some powerful marketing strategies, empowering you to connect with more supporters to generate change.

Create and sell t-shirts

Nothing says, “I support this cause” quite like wearing a t-shirt that represents it. When you effectively design and tie t-shirts into the campaign, you get the triple benefit of marketing, raising money, and strengthening relationships with supporters.

Let’s say you’re organizing a march for your mission. Wouldn’t it speak volumes if everyone showed up in matching t-shirts with your campaign’s slogan? Not only would everyone feel unified, but after the event, pictures of participants in your t-shirts would start circulating on social media and across news articles, raising visibility for your mission and the event itself.

Whether your organization is brand new to social movements or has already made a name for itself, well-designed t-shirts can bring momentum to your movement. Additionally, those who can’t join you for local events can still support the cause across the globe by buying a t-shirt to wear in their own communities.

Create a t-shirt that increases your campaign’s visibility by:

  • Incorporating branded elements. When your t-shirt clearly represents your cause, it helps to emphasize the purpose of your campaign. Infuse your campaign’s logo, colors, slogan, and any other recognizable elements into the design.
  • Pairing it with a fundraising campaign. Try spreading the word about your t-shirts by having supporters sell them on your behalf, either by sharing your crowdfunding page or starting a peer-to-peer campaign. They can ask others to purchase one in support of your cause.

A t-shirt fundraising platform like Bonfire makes it incredibly easy to create and sell your campaign with limited upfront costs and easy-to-use editing tools. Upload your artwork to make sure your cause shines through, and select the fonts, styles, and colors that will connect with your supporters.

Overall, people are much more likely to give to your cause if they get something in return. By putting thought into your design and how you sell it, you can use it as a way to connect with supporters and invest even more into your movement.

Don’t underestimate the power of the share button. Social media has empowered social movements to amass large followings, and moving online with your outreach can empower you to connect with a vast, new audience despite geographical barriers.

However, there’s a lot of clutter you’ll have to cut through to make your social movement stand out on your supporters’ newsfeeds. Consider the following strategies to make your messages rise above the white noise:

  • Create a memorable hashtag. Campaigns that have a notable online following tend to have a hashtag that people can add to their posts about your campaign. This is typically the name of the movement but could also be a short slogan. Think about movements that reached a global audience like #BlackLivesMatter, #HeForShe, and #MeToo.
  • Share pictures from events. Show how you’re inspiring change and others to get involved. This is a great way to combine your in-person and digital efforts.
  • Spread the word about your fundraising. Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are a great initiative to leverage financial support on social media. Plus, this is also the perfect place to market your campaign’s branded merchandise. Post links to different places where people can give and invite your followers to do the same.

From social media to your fundraising website, technology can certainly be a powerful part of your campaign, helping you to connect with supporters beyond your immediate vicinity. But technology shouldn’t make up your entire campaign. Rather than letting digital efforts be the only driving force behind your campaign, pair it with your offline efforts, like events, to maximize your outreach.

As versatile as the internet and social media may be, it can be difficult to form real connections through a screen. Remember, you’re trying to connect with real people and let them know that your movement is worth their attention. Here are a couple of ways you can do that:

  • Storytelling. Getting Attention’s nonprofit storytelling playbook explains that stories are one of the most reliable ways to influence people by tapping into their innate senses of empathy and compassion. They provide context for why the change you’re pursuing is important and how your organization is actually working toward that change. Show your supporters the faces of real people who are affected by your cause and invite advocates to tell their own stories.
  • Be authentic. People can smell inauthenticity from a mile away, especially if the person who’s being inauthentic is leading a social movement. Why trust someone who doesn’t believe in the own change they’re fighting for? Real emotion helps you connect with real people who share your goals.

The successful development of a movement hinges on your ability to authentically connect with your community and convince them your movement is worth joining. You’ll have a considerably easier time doing so if you know how to get through to them in ways that actually speak to them.