Four Keys to Building Movements in Philanthropy

Movements in philanthropy thrive when strategic communications is more than an afterthought. Need proof? Just look at successful movements supported by philanthropy — everything from the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading to the digital success of the ALS Association’s ice bucket challenge.

When creative communications is woven throughout the process– from the campaign concept to rallying support for your mission or cause — the results truly show how much good can be done when funders invest in mobilizing people, ideas and communities.

Here are the four keys to building movements in philanthropy:

Passion – We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — passion is the only pre-requisite to start a movement. From supporting social justice and children to healthcare and the workforce, passionate people are the sparks that bring movements to life. Are you part of a foundation that is passionate about communications? Even better. Funders can play vital roles in supporting movements by investing in strategic communications to help spur on social-good movements.

Emotion – What’s the story behind your movement? That doesn’t mean simply describing the cause. How can you humanize the big idea? The story is what creates an authentic connection and ties supporters to the primary goals of the movement.

Engagement – What do you want people to do? Engagement is what makes movements scale. Supporters will choose to participate based on their passion for the cause, their emotional connection to it and their ability to engage. Knowing this, it’s important to develop ways to participate that vary from sharing something on social media and donating money to volunteering and showing up to take action.

Tools – Paired with many ways to engage, online and offline tools will also work in tandem to grow your movement. Choose channels based on the audiences you are trying to reach and consider building a microsite to connect all of the ways people can share and communicate about the movement.

What are others steps your nonprofit or foundation are taking to support movements?


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  1. Pingback: Building a Movement: Connecting One by One - MagnifyGood

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