Author: Jessica McKenzie

Inside Invisible Children’s massive grassroots network

Campaigning, People Lead

Invisible Children’s short film, Kony 2012, was a viral phenomenon. But what went largely unacknowledged in the explosion of media coverage around the film and the organisation was the existing base of supporters who helped spread the video. This network, built and supported by Invisible Children’s “Roadies” grew to include of hundreds of thousands of young people who shaped U.S. policy in Africa and created a wave of youth engagement that continues to impact a range of issues.

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Climate activists call for justice in Ferguson

Campaigning, Leadership

Thousands of people converged on St. Louis for Ferguson October, four days of marches, rallies, sit-ins and prayer meetings protesting the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer. The events drew support from multiple movements, with representatives of Occupy, labor unions, gay rights groups and Palestine in attendance. A climate contingent led by 350.org and Energy Action Coalition was also part of the crowd, quietly swelling the ranks. At least two dozen climate activists traveled to St. Louis from as far away as Minnesota, West Virginia and New York. A few individual climate activists reached...

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Street selfies driving up new supporter engagement

Measurement, Testing

What if adding one extra step to your organization’s street canvassing routine had the potential to bring in an extra million or more in donations in just two years? Those are the potential gains Amnesty International is looking at after conducting a small experiment in Toronto in 2012. The idea was simple: After signing up a new supporter, the recruiter asks if they want to have their picture taken. Amnesty International’s follow up email includes a link to the photo, which the supporter can share on Facebook. That’s it. Nothing else about the recruitment process or the engagement process afterward was...

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Fighting fires sparks dialogue and builds respect

Case Studies, People Lead

As surprising as it might sound, volunteer firefighters are changing the way Russians feel about Greenpeace. Their work fighting peat bog fires in the Tver region prompted Yulia Latynina, a Russian journalist, to call “the guys from Greenpeace” “environmental enthusiasts” just a year after accusing them of spreading “anti-science hysteria” and “mass intimidation.” Every fire they extinguish opens up the possibility for conversation and understanding in the affected community. More than 90 percent of wildfires in Russia are caused by humans, and that is where Greenpeace hopes to enact change by educating locals about the dangers of dry vegetation burning....

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