Creating change is complicated. Let’s take the guesswork out of digital activism.
Today, ⅕ of Americans report being online nearly continuously. A speaking point, fundraiser or entire movement can go viral in minutes. It’s not only politicians and businesses that are using the internet to further their interests. From #ArabSpring and #OccupyWallStreet to #LoveWins and #BlackLivesMatter - Digital media is increasingly being used to establish and drive social initiatives.
You can harness the same tools to support the social issues you are passionate about.
In college, I was very invested in campus activism. I didn’t realize that being a professional changemaker was an option. I never imagined being able to dedicate my life to making the world a better place. I figured I’d get a desk job and use my spare time to help contribute to the causes I was passionate about. When I first jumped into the world of professional activism, I had no idea what I was doing or even how to get started.
Fast forward, twelve years later, not only have I worked for several of the largest change making organizations in my field but I’ve also amassed millions of page views, followers, and opportunities from the digital content I’ve created. I’m able to make a full-time income while contributing to helping and supporting my community.
The longer I use the internet as my means of creating change, the more I realize there are so many people out there- who are like the person I was when I got started. Folks looking for an outlet to help create change in their communities, wanting to do more to support causes they’re passionate about, and thinking of ways to follow their heart while still being able to support themselves but just not knowing where to start or how to help. I wanted to dedicate my life to doing something bigger than me, so I studied nonprofit management and I started writing. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote until I had written down every single thing I’ve learned about supporting social justice communities and creating change online and thus…Slacktivist was born.
Making the world a better place doesn’t have to be overwhelming…
Creating change in our communities is a never ending task. When I think about it sometimes, it’s enough to make me freeze. When I take into account everything that goes into building a successful digital strategy - the writing, editing, graphic design, email campaigns, social media posting - plus the emotional toll that many community educators endure, I can deeply empathize with newcomers.
It seems like we have to master all things to create a successful digital strategy that actually impacts the communities we’re trying to serve. We’ve all seen what can happen when it’s done well -The Ice Bucket Challenge, for example, raised $115 million dollars. Working with Ice Bucket money, researchers from Johns Hopkins University identified a protein that fails in the cells of most ALS patients and showed that if they repair the protein, the damaged cell can heal. That is the impact digital activism can have on the world.
It can be scary to get started,
But what if you had a detailed, step-by-step guide to walk you through it?
My goal with Slacktivist was not to write another preachy book about social justice theory and change-maker rhetoric but to single out the most effective strategies to help activists and community educators create tangible digital action plans to impact real-world social challenges.
Slacktivist is filled with empirically validated methods - you can start using today. The information is laid out in a step by step format with worksheets that will help you formulate an action plan applicable to your specific area of need.
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What you’ll learn…
Social Media Strategy
Social media management is a full time 24/7 job. Slacktivist will teach you how to work smart and utilize your time the most effectively. We’ll discuss the major social networks and where to focus your energies to best maximize your reach according to your goals. We’ll cover what networks are best for what type of messaging and you’ll create and individualized social media strategy and calendar.
On the internet, content is king. Content is the single most import aspect of creating a digital strategy. In this section you’ll learn the pros and cons of independent blogging and freelance writing. You will learn how to improve your video and photography skills and leave with details resource lists and step by step tips for creating a content calendar to align with your social media strategy.
Creating Teachable Moments
When you’re working in a mission-based organization you will always face opposition. It doesn’t matter what the topic is or how great your following is - eventually, you will attract trolls, haters, and those who are generally just ignorant to your mission. It’s tough sorting out which one is which. Using real world examples, self-assessment worksheets, and concrete strategies, you’ll learn who to block, who to engage with, and how to support your audience when negative energy comes your way.
Learn how to setup a WordPress website, we’ll walk through choosing your domain and hosting to installing your theme and plugins. You’ll learn how to set up professional social networking accounts. You’ll also learn where to find free tech resources in case you run into trouble. We’ll talk about the most crucial needs for preparing your site from day one, so you don’t waste time fixing problems that could have been avoided.
Digital Fundraising Strategies
You’ll learn about digital monetization and fundraising techniques using a four-tiered approach. Together these three strategies can be used to create a balanced fundraising approach in the form of passive and active revenue streams. From crowdsourcing and advertising to product creation and affiliate relationships you’ll learn proven techniques for generating income to support your cause.
How to Track and Measure Success
You will set actionable goals and meet them while tracking your progress using digital analytics tools. You’ll be able to watch your mission’s influence grow by tracking followers, impressions, and engagement with content. Using goal planning worksheets, industry-wide tools, and detailed step by step tools for placement you’ll learn how to create and measure your success to be used in reporting for sponsors or grant funders.
Keep scrolling to learn more
38 chapters of actionable techniques, 20 worksheets, and numerous strategies to grow your audience, fundraise for your cause, and spread your message online.
Part 1- My Story
- Why I wrote this book
- How to get the most out of Slacktivist
Part 2- Getting Started
- Establishing a baseline
- Checking your privilege
- Reflecting on motives - Why are you doing this?
Part 3- Digital Media as a Tool Box
- My Social Media Strategy
- Independent Blogging - The Technical Stuff
- Freelance writing - The pros and cons
- Representation of diverse voices
- Media Literacy & fact checking
- Creating teachable moments
- Dealing with the haters
- Recommended tools and resources
Part 4- Offline and IRL
- Building consensus & bridging the divide between digital and IRL
- Taking the cause from online to offline
- Combining traditional and novel methods of activism to achieve a cohesive campaign
- Developing and Tracking Goals
- Tracking Progress
- Celebrating Success
- Fundraising via Crowdsourcing
- Influencer Networks
- Affiliate relationships
- Product Creation
- Putting ideas into action
- Building Partnerships
- How do we identify what organizations we’d like to work with?
- Self Care & Protecting yourself
This is an unbelievable amount of information and detail. Slacktivist is invaluable for change-makers.
Meg is one of the most insightful, astute, and innovative colleagues I have ever worked with. Her intense passion, matched with a knack for program design and implementation, made her an invaluable asset on our team. She has the ability to dream big and make those big ideas into a big reality.
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About the Author
Meg Cale is an LGBT advocate and community educator. After finishing her MPA and research focusing on LGBT urban youth policy, Meg went on to inform educational programming at three of the largest LGBT nonprofits in the US. Meg’s first book, “Slacktivist: Using Digital Media to Create Change” will be released in 2017. Meg’s LGBT subject matter expertize has been featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine, Go Magazine, Out Traveler, Gay Star News, Matador Network, Elite Daily, Korea Observer, and India’s The Quint. Her passion lives at the intersection of travel, queer culture, and new media. Follow her on Instagram @MegCale or Twitter @DopesontheRoad.