The collective action on social media

In the article The Structure of Online Activism, the authors concluded that regardless of the assumed transformative potential of social media, there is an opposite relationship between broad online social movement mobilisation and deep participation. For Facebook, the most popular social network site in the world, recruiting and donating for the Save Darfur Cause appears to have hardly mattered. Although more than 1 million individuals registered their discontent with the situation in Darfur, these initial acts of movement participation had failed to transform into a sustained commitment to the work. Only a fraction of the members engaged in any type of activism beyond the basic act of joining. Most members did not recruit anyone into the Cause and did not contribute money to it. (Lewis et al. 2014)

This made me think. If the Save Darfur Cause is considered a minor success, how likely is it for any small, local, non-profit organisation to have positive result in promoting collective action on social media? In an interview with the director of a small, local, non-profit organisation in Nepal, he expressed that people do not give proper attention to their organisation’s cause. He frequently post advocacy issues on different social networks both in English and Nepali for a wider reach but he is facing difficulties to generate action. But one small, local, non-profit organisation in the Philippines found success in moving people to collective action through social media. This organisation is also able to raise small funds through Facebook. The director discovered that people respond to their requests when they present the needs in small portions. In an interview, she shared, ‘Present your need in small chunks. For instance, you are about to have a training for teachers, present the amount you need for the training on Facebook and ask them to send you a private message if they are interested. When they give their support, make sure to acknowledge their assistance by posting photos on Facebook. We don’t acknowledge them by names but just by posting the activities they have supported. And when they see what we are doing, they feel a part of it.’ The daily use of social media is a beneficial platform to inform people instantaneously of what this organisation does. They found social media as a quick and inexpensive way to advocate, raise small funds and influence others.

As Guo and Saxton (2014) mentioned in the article Tweeting Social Change: How Social Media Are Changing Nonprofit Advocacy, social media sites provide a way to expand advocacy efforts by involving new networks of community actors and by mobilising them to take action. Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and other social media sites have convening platforms for organisations to facilitate relationship building and stakeholder engagement. Social media claimed to help organisations engage present and potential stakeholders by sharing, cooperating and mobilising joint actions in near-real time.

What are your experiences in advocacy and fundraising using social media? Do you have positive results? What made the outcome favourable?


Lewis, K., Gray, K., & Meierhenrich, J. 2014: The Structure of Online Activism, Sociological Science

Guo, C., Saxton, G.D. 2014: Tweeting Social Change: How Social Media Are Changing Nonprofit Advocacy, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 43


  1. Hassan Madar

    It is an interesting article. I am mostly interested in the areas of using social media fro advocacy, community mobilisation and fundraising. You used practical example from Save Darfur and your experience in Nepal.


  2. Rudelene Nanette

    Thanks, Hassan, for your comment. As I mentioned, Social media is a quick and inexpensive way to advocate, raise small funds and influence others. The local organisations which I worked with are very keen in how to effectively use social media to help them with these. Please share your experiences in this area. Thanks.

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