I am obsessed with “new media.” In particular, I am constantly on the lookout for ways to help animals in fresh, innovative ways (in addition, of course, to good old-fashioned grassroots tactics). I am therefore a fan of mobile advocacy, and a proponent of its potential to significantly affect animal advocacy for the better.
What does this mean for you? Well, for one thing, you need to keep an eye out for organizations who are already utilizing mobile advocacy — and sign up. Or, if you are starting up an organization (or already have one, or work for one), perhaps mobile advocacy would be a good fit to further propel your outreach.
Websites like Mobile Commons and Mobile Giving Foundation serve, as Mobile Giving puts it, “as the glue between a charitable giving campaign, the wireless industry and the 250 million wireless users in the United States.” Thus, for the individual, mobile advocacy can help you turn your mobile device into the effective little activist you always knew he could be. For advocacy organizations, mobile advocacy can dramatically increase the ability to quickly communicate with and “mobilize” supporters.
Mobile advocacy can manifest in a few different ways.First, there’s text action alerts. Groups like the Humane Society of the United States are putting this to use with their text alert system. From their website:
You can expect to receive text alerts from us on breaking news, important events, and key issues where your voice can make a critical difference for animals. You can opt-out from text alerts at any time—just reply with STOP to any text message
Next, there’s legislative call campaigns. Mobile Commons calls this the “Target Congress” option. Though the price-tag that advocacy organizations must pay for this is heavy (plans for this start at $500 a month), Mobile Commons boasts that this option allows campaigns to target geographic regions, specific legislators, or a particular office, making them exponentially more effective. From their website:
By combining text messaging, phone calls, location information and congressional district matching technology, Mobile Commons offers the most effective application for legislative call campaigns ever created.
Lastly, there’s donations via text messaging. This is also something that HSUS has utilized, and their success speaks for itself. According to Mobile Commons, the Humane Society’s “supporters who received a text message donated online with an increased response rate of 77%.”
The profound impact that mobile giving can have is undeniable. That certainly was proven just recently, after the crisis in Haiti. At one point, text donations were ranging upwards of $50,000 per hour through Mobile Giving Foundation.
With the power of mobile advocacy, my hunch is that — as more and more animal groups jump on that virtual bandwagon — the implication for animal rights is profound.
Photo: Courtesy of Jessica Mahady.