Last week I got the opportunity to speak at a panel hosted by Karen Luttrell of Luttrell Communications and Amy Sept of Nimbyist Communications as part of Social Media Week. The title of the panel was "From Slacktivist to Activist: Partners in Change, One Small Act at a Time" and it looked at this topic from various perspectives, including fundraising and activism.
My key message was: "Build the Activist, Celebrate the Slacktivist". Here's why I think that's important:
In order to get your "slacktivists" more involved, you need to take the first steps to (a) look for opportunities and (b) provide concrete actions that supporters can take to get involved. For example, at TechSoup Canada we have a blog (which you are reading right now!) and I'm always on the lookout for guest bloggers to share their experiences with the broader nonprofit community. While I do sometimes take the more traditional route of asking someone to write a blog on a specific topic, most of our good guest blog posts actually come from spotting good opportunities. For example, if someone takes the time to engage with me and ask a question or share ideas - whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, on the phone or in person - I ask if they want to write a blog about it. This has been how we've got some of our most popular blog posts.
My second point was a reminder to value your slacktivists for what they do bring. While it may well be possible to get some of them more engaged as described above, some of them may always want to be slacktivists. I talked about my own personal experience - there's so many important causes out there, and I don't have time to engage with all of them to the same level I'd like to. However, social media allows me to keep in touch with what some of these groups are doing and get involved in small ways from time to time. To the organization I may be a slacktivist, however from my point of view I am someone who cares but may not have the time or resources to give more.
Amy Sept created a great recap of the event on Storify (this is also a great example of what is possible with this tool - check it out if you haven't heard of it before!):