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3 books to inform your advocacy communications

Have ever had a conversation with someone about a cause you care deeply about and suddenly thought “huh? You think that about this cause?”

As disheartening as it is, they’ve done you a favour – they’ve just highlighted to you how lot’s of people think about your cause, and perhaps even told you why it is that your cause hasn’t succeeded yet.

Here are 3 books to help you build the case for your cause in a way that will resonate with people.

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Two guides to make your change making effective

Make things happenDo you ever get the feeling that making change is like paddling against a strong current?

As change makers our end goal may seem like trying to reverse the waves: advertising, lifestyle expectations, career norms, social media and more often seem to pull our supporters in the opposite direction.

Below are two key resources that when used well, can not only turn the tide for your cause, but will have knock on effects for causes like yours.

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Four lessons from Keith Johnstone for conducting training

Impro by Keith JohnstoneThose who speak with me about training or read this blog regularly will know I’m a fan of Keith Johnstone’s book Impro. I was fortunate enough that one of my best friends lent it to me when we were doing improvisation at uni, and it’s been a constant source of inspiration.

And before you think I’m talking about acting training, I’m not.

Corporate training, volunteer training, leadership training or sustainability workshops, Johnstone has valuable lessons to apply to all of these.

Not only is it full of his joyful philosophy on teaching and the theatre, but it’s enjoyably well written too.

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Advocating a cause? You should learn about framing

Ducks Advocating a CauseWhen I first started advocating for causes, I thought the important thing was to tell people as much knowledge as quickly as possible. Surely if they knew the facts that I knew, they would want to take action?

I would later come to learn that this is known as the information deficit model, and that it almost never works.

What then is an effective way to inform people and move them to action?

Continue reading “Advocating a cause? You should learn about framing”

Is your messaging undermining your cause?

Think about the cause you care most about. When did you first commit to that cause? What was it that tipped you from vaguely interested to a committed advocate?

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that economic benefit to yourself wasn’t what did it. Probably not even the broader argument of cost benefit for the economy.

More likely, something resonated deeply with in you.

We’ve all seen campaigns that frame doing good in terms of helping ourselves – “save the earth, save money”, “donate now and win!”, “It’s good for the economy” – but is this the best way to motivate people? Could this strategy even be hurting our work in the long-term?

How can we help our supporters find the same deep motivation we did?

Continue reading “Is your messaging undermining your cause?”

What I learned from a conversation with a climate skeptic

Getting asked a tough questionIn my first week with Climate for Change,  I sat in on a focus group to hear what the community knows and feels about climate change.

The participants handed their survey’s in and I glanced over them. Oh no! Someone in the room was a hard-core climate skeptic: they thought global warming was a complete hoax.

I am so glad he was there.

I am even more glad that it was a focus group.
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What I learned about communicating climate change at Climate for Change

Conversation squareWhen I came to Climate for Change we were just finishing focus groups, and I was there for two design iterations of our gathering program. This was a great chance to get feedback and reflect on effective ways to engage people on climate change.

Some lessons we learned the hard way, some were thankfully passed on by the many wonderful people I encountered along the way who generously shared insights, knowledge, and critical thinking with us. (thank you, you know who you are!)

Here’s 6 takeaways from my six months at Climate for Change.

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Using AngularJS, Tabletop and Google Sheets to extend signup pages and user tracking on NationBuilder

When we implemented our action program at Climate for Change, we needed to create a system to support it on our website that was relatively easy to administrate and grow, and that allowed us insight into user behaviour.

Essentially what was needed was a bunch of signup pages, one per action that the user could take, but they would need some custom details to support all the dynamic generation of content and tagging of users.

NationBuilder doesn’t support custom fields for pages, but Angular, Tabletop and Google Sheets allowed me to quickly roll my own. Continue reading “Using AngularJS, Tabletop and Google Sheets to extend signup pages and user tracking on NationBuilder”

Dynamic tags on a NationBuilder Signup Page

If you want a bit more flexibility than what’s offered by NationBuilder for tagging people on signup, dynamically adding tags from Javascript is quite straightforward.

If you examine the code for a signup page, NationBuilder just uses a hidden input element to add tags to a user when they submit the signup page.

We can use this to dynamically add tags to a signup page by inserting or altering the tag. Continue reading “Dynamic tags on a NationBuilder Signup Page”

Dynamic destinations for NationBuilder Signup Pages

NationBuilder’s features out of the box are pretty versatile, but when I built the take action section of Climate for Change’s website, I wanted some more flexibility on the way Signup pages worked.

Why would you want a dynamic destination for your signup page?

In our case, there were two reasons – first, we wanted to guide our supporters through several activities they could do, and we wanted to know both when they started and when they finished. Continue reading “Dynamic destinations for NationBuilder Signup Pages”