Seeds for Thought: Noble Arsonist

If you follow Strong Roots’ Twitter feed, you may have noticed that I attended the MoSo conference last week here in Saskatoon. It was my first time attending this particular conference but hopefully it won’t be my last, with some great sessions and resources that were relevant to me as both a social entrepreneur and someone connected with the non-profit sector. I live-tweeted from most of the sessions and keynotes that I sat in on, so if you want to see what I took away check out my personal account around June 13-14 for ideas and insights.

Out of all the presentations, it was the very last one I caught that social change agents would probably find the most interesting. Theodora Lamb from Vancouver-based Capulet Communications specializes in social marketing for non-profits: her talk, “The Noble Arsonist: Tips for stoking fires and igniting movements for NGOs (and companies that care)” provided some great seeds for thought on the use of social media, particularly around creating “remarkable” campaigns. In contrast to the regular “heartbeat” relationship with a core audience that keeps them engaged and informed, remarkable campaigns are something out of the ordinary that makes your group stand out and get people talking who normally wouldn’t be interested.

Lamb provided several ideas and examples of how to run a successful remarkable campaign, all of which is covered in her free ebook, The Noble Arsonist. One insight that stuck with me was the benefit of using humour. Given that most (if not all) issues that non-profits and like-minded folk take on are quite serious, humour may seem inappropriate: however, “serious” can easily tip over into “negative” and discourage people from getting involved, whereas some light humour can facilitate conversation and foster broader awareness. This approach is also useful for criticizing a popular brand or figure while avoiding an us-vs-them battle: check out the e-book’s description of Greenpeace UK’s Dark Side campaign against Volkswagon as a prime example.

Over to you now – how does your organization initiative use social media? What worked well and what fizzled? Have you been involved with any remarkable campaigns, either as an organizer or supporter?

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