In this day and age, technology is used in every aspect of our lives. Companies, big and small, organizations, big and small, all use social media. The reason is pretty simple--social media allows you to connect with groups of people that you would otherwise not be able to connect with. In the NGO community, social media is particularly important since it enables organizations to organize, launch campaigns, and mobilize thousands for a cause. While many NGOs use social media for the reasons that I’ve previously mentioned, social media tools are still underused. Mainly, when it comes to using social media as a way to get multiple organizations or coalitions working together.
I have firsthand experience of what can be achieved by collaborating through social media. In Europe, in the summer of 2015, I had the opportunity to take part in the “supply cha!nge” campaign, the goal of this campaign was to mobilize European consumers to demand ethical and fairtrade products in different supermarkets across the E.U in order to combat inequality, slave labor, and exploitation. NGOs from every cornerstone in Europe worked on this campaign together and of course, used social media to make this an easier task. Let me emphasize that what all of these NGO’s had in common was their desire to address inequality--all of the NGOs had different issues that they tackled.
In collaborating through social media, these NGOs brought all of their audiences together to one space. Not only allowing them to learn more about the campaign but exposing various NGOs that work on different issues. This sort of collaboration allows from NGOs to support each other and in the long run, this can only help--not hurt. Now, how did NGOs come up with a social media plan, content, strategy, etc without actually ever meeting in person? Well, google docs were very helpful in allowing for various heads of communications representing NGOs, work collaboratively on a document. This enabled for every organization to voice their opinions and concerns. In order to present a cohesive brand and campaign, two individuals were the designated heads of the campaign, this is in order to ensure that every step of the social media plan and content is executed and implemented.
A website was designed with information regarding the campaign and the ways in which individuals could participate. This included a photo competition that asked participants how they want to envision their food and the food industry. The site also had a section of all the organizations involved and what each NGO was accomplishing in their country. Each organization had the opportunity to take over the social media campaign for the duration of a month. Each organization’s communications team managed all social media platforms which included mainly facebook and twitter, this gave every organization to post information related to the work that they were doing tied together with the efforts of the campaign.
Overall, the campaign has been extremely successful and this is due to the united efforts of all the participating organizations. NGOs have the same goal in that we all want to promote equality and justice through different frameworks. Why not unite our efforts to create a larger impact not only in our community, in our city, in our country, but worldwide? This all begins by collaborating online using simple social media tools--that once again, can mobilize thousands.
by Glindys Luciano | intern in the Communications Department of Nonviolence International