UNICEF Sweden issued a bold call to its social media supporters two months ago: Don’t “Like” us; give us your money.
Though it likely caused more uproar among those of us in the “social media for social good” community than among the organization’s own supporters, it certainly raised some important questions about the potential trade-off of encouraging online support at the expense of offline support, and of the growing value of influence relative to other contributions and individual can make.
We explored many of these same questions in a study that Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication conducted last summer in partnership with Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. We wanted to gain insights into the “engagement life cycle” (from learning about a cause, to deciding if and how to support it, to perceptions of personal impact) among the highly desirable group of individuals who are both active participants in social media and active supporters of charitable organizations and campaigns. The “Digital Persuasion” survey, fielded among 2,000 American adults, yielded a wealth of nuanced data and further illuminates some important trends.