Social networks and mobile apps are keeping online Americans engaged on an ongoing basis with charitable and environmental organizations than in the past—when involvement was defined by year-end giving.
Approximately 64 percent of those surveyed by marketing agency Cone Communications said that a "like" or a "follow" usually led to their more active involvement with a non-profit organization in the form of volunteering, donations or information "sharing."
Personally, that's my biggest takeaway from a research study I'm reading early this Wednesday afternoon (over a sushi lunch)—the 2014 Cone Communications Digital Activism Study (registration required to download it, sorry). The sample included 1,212 adults at least 18 years old (583 men and 629 women). Aside from the stat I've already cited, there are other intriguing stats, such as:
- 35 percent of those surveyed had made a donation using online methods (which is actually not as high as some of the other data points suggest it should be); still it marks a shift from "traditional" methods, such as writing a check.
- Slightly fewer (32 percent) watched a video with an overly environmental or social slant (same as the above).
- Millennials and Hispanics were the most engaged when it came to using social and mobile technologies to learn about specific corporate social, environmental or sustainability practices.
What sort of content captures people's attention? Surprisingly (although nice for someone like me), the written word comes out slightly ahead, followed by videos and images of the cause in question. A caveat: respondents who fell into the Millennial age bracket were also interested in games and quizzes that enhanced their knowledge of a particular issue.
"Digital engagement around social and environmental issues allows everyone to be an activist, a philanthropist and a hero," said Alison DaSilva, Cone's executive vice president, in a statement about the data. "The challenge for organizations is to convert that click of a button into a powerful gateway for deeper impact."