10 Tips for Connecting Offline and Online Action for Your Do Good Project

8 years ago


Source: DotRights Campaign

Britt Bravo and I have been working a series of posts for those just getting starting designing and implementing a "Do Good" project online.   Each post includes 10 starter tips on a different aspect of a do good project.  So far, we've covered:

Ten Questions To Get You Started Using Social Media for Your Nonprofit's Do Good Project

Ten Elements of an Effective Nonprofit or Do Good Blog

Ten Tips for Nonprofits To Do Good With Facebook Fan Pages

A couple of months ago, a post on Foreign Policy about "slacktivism" triggered a flurry about the concept of Slacktivism.   If you don't know, is the pejorative term describing, in the words of Barbara Mikkelson, "...the desire people have to do something good without getting out of their chair."  

There are different views on what exactly that term means and what the implications are.  I come down on the side that you need to ask what the impact of your project will be offline, design your messaging and call to action to support that objective - whether it is a behavior change or an advocacy call to action.  As Allison Fine recommends, get more intentional about your offline results.

When you get to thinking of tactics, remember that your social media strategy works in harmony with other channels - whether it be email, PSAs, or offline, low tech tactics like letter writing campaigns.   Here's ten tips or ideas for ways that you can connect online and offline actions.


1.  Create and implement the right "meet up" event.  These are events where people who connected online around a cause or movement, meet in the real world.   One of the best examples, is Twestival, where in Feb. 2009, over 200 cities organized "Tweet ups" where twitter users met offline for a party and to donate to charity:water.   

It is important to think through the best model for your offline event based on your community's orientation - socializing, donating, learning/sharing, or taking action.   The Wiser Earth Blog suggests asking these questions:

  1. How would you blend the best elements of the event models  with your ideas for face-to-face events?
  2. How can you partner with and/or support already-existing local events (combining forces for good!)?
  3. How do you frame events so various organization representatives within a particular sector feel welcome to attend and participant?
  4. How can you best use social media to promote and weave stronger connections between event attendees?


2.  Encourage Others To Self-Organize Offline Events.   Netsquared has done a terrific job for the past couple of years with its meetups, Net Tuesday, where people meet and learn about social media for social change.  To encourage self-organizing events, you need to invite people give them some guidelines, and get out of the way.  

3. Take Joint Action.   Maybe your do good project is about raising awareness for a cause, or encouraging people to take action - like sign a petition.   Some examples include:  Genocide Intervention Network and 350.org

4. Offer A Wide Range of Offline Actions:  Give people a wide range (in terms of difficulty or time commitment) of activities to do offline. That way you can meet the activist "where they're at" and they can easily help you.    For example, a recent campaign for a food bank that used social media suggested a couple of offline actions - from donating canned goods to volunteer a Saturday afternoon packing up food boxes.

5.  Don't Forget About Paper:  A really simple way to connect online/offline is to add your Do Good project's Facebook Fan Page url or Twitter id to your business cards.  When you're doing networking offline, and about to exchange cards - tell people to join your Face Fan Page or follow you on Twitter.

6.  T-Shirts and Stickers:  T-shirts are like offline bill boards.  You can have t-shirts printed up and give them out as prizes.  Or use a site like Cafe Press and have people purchase T-shirts as part of a fundraiser.  Don't forget about laptop stickers, particularly if you have a geeky group of supporters.

7.  House Parties:   What better way to spread the word by asking your most passionate supporters to host a house party for you!   Tweetsgiving, which raised $10,000 on Twitter last year by having people retweet messages of gratitude, is asking its supporters to host Tweetsgiving house parties.

8.  Hold A Sign Meme:   The hold a sign meme started on flickr several years ago. You ask your supporters to write a message on a sign, photograph themselves with it, and share it online.  It's also been done on Facebook Fan Pages.    This is something you can easily add to an offline event and it creates content at the same time.

9.  Recruit Social Media Volunteers:   Recruit some social media savvy volunteers who can take or create videos about your cause or project and put online.

10. Start with your offline supporters:   Maybe you already have a core group offline that is passionately interested in your cause and connected with other groups online.  Activate them offline to go online and promote your cause.

Beth Kanter, BlogHer Nonprofit CE, writes Beth's Blog.

More from living

by Colleen Stinchcombe | 2 days ago
by Sarah Landrum | 6 days ago
by SheKnows Editors | 10 days ago
by Nirupama Kumar Hecker | 11 days ago
by Fairygodboss | 15 days ago
by Justina Huddleston | 23 days ago
by Colleen Stinchcombe | a month ago
by Aly Walansky | a month ago