If there was ever a doubt about the ripple effect social media and technology would have in our daily lives, all you have to do is walk out your front door to find out. According to a recent article by The Wall Street Journal even a commute to work will suffice. The article reported that workers are enjoying their commutes to the office more because they can use their mobile devices, check email, listen to podcasts or read the news. In a study of 27,556 British rail passengers, those who found commuting a waste of time in 2004 dropped by a whopping 37 percent in 2010.
This study and many others underscore the meaning of Allyson Kapin and Amy Sample Ward’s new book Social Change Anytime Everywhere. In the book, the authors stress the importance of engaging your community via multi-channels consistently over time—not just when you need support or dollars.
“After so many examples of using multiple channels for advocacy and fundraising, it’s important to remember that you can’t build real community around your work and move the needle on your cause if you invest in doing so only during campaigns or fundraising drives. Community building has to be an anytime, everywhere goal too.”
Reaching your community anytime everywhere requires understanding them and knowing where to find them, even if it’s on their mobile device while riding public transportation. I asked Allyson and Amy about getting to this answer through collecting data in our Page to Practice™ interview:
CausePlanet: One of the social media hurdles you acknowledge is accurately collecting data about your online community while facing the complications imposed by intermediary platforms. How should our readers go about proactively tackling this issue?
Allyson Kapin: While it’s important for organizations to communicate with their community on what channels they prefer, it’s important to have a plan to move these people up the ladder of engagement. Capturing data such as their contact information, including emails, their mobile phone numbers, etc., gives your organization an opportunity to reach these stakeholders wherever they are on more urgent campaigns in case they did not see your tweet on Twitter or post on Facebook. Once you have this information you can also survey them to learn more what their specific interests are, conduct A/B testing to find out which messages resonate with them, etc.