Cause Fatigue #4Change Recap

Thanks everyone who attended or contributed to February’s #4Change Chat on the topic of Cause Fatigue, the chat was indeed interesting and lively! This is not at complete transcript of the conversation, but rather a curated recap which aims to tie the conversation threads together.

If you have any additional ideas, insights, resources or writings on cause fatigue please leave comments, post links or use the #4change hashtag to tweet your post! You can always review the entire chat by searching the #4Change hashtag on twitter.

Q1. How do you define cause fatigue?

amycarolwolff Cause fatigue is what occurs when communication about an issue becomes uncreative and stagnant.

tomjd I think Cause Fatigue is when stories no longer resonate – ppl get used to issue, it comes normal, acceptable. Loss of outrage.

zerostrategist @amycarolwolff A1: I think #cause #fatigue is when you dread having to support a cause that you really love supporting

realize_ink @tomjd Agreed. I’d add that it’s what happens when comms re: issue no longer tap their core values. Values may’ve changed

zerostrategist @tomjd A1: I think Cause Fatigue is when people lose all passion to act for a cause to which they are dedicated or do believe in

Q2. What are some of the contributing factors to cause fatigue?

tomjd Another factor is loss of belief in change. Ppl accept status quo. Consider all parties “interest groups”, all equally suspicious.

zerostrategist A2: Inefficiency in general, lack of a cohesively communicated & executed strategy, few resources can be big factors in c-fatigue

memeshift @zerostrategist I think *attention* is just such a resource internally (org)/externally(supporters)

tomjd @memeshift Totally agree with “attention” as a resource to be more carefully managed. This is why I Q all the big giving comps

tomjd @memeshift like Chase, Pepsi, etc – when orgs r repeatedly mobilizing supporters for these comps their attention resource dwindles

zerostrategist A2: Also lack of top cover, the absence of strong leadership or change champions can lead to cause drift, a lack of direction

realize_ink @tomjd Good pt re: Chase & Pepsi, etc. More collaboration b/t companies might cr8 less fatigue, more change in long run.

zerostrategist @memeshift Couldn’t agree more I have seen lack of internal engagement increase the turnover rates of organizations

memeshift @tomjd keen call, man. Attention is valuable. If something *really* important comes along, than what?

tomjd @memeshift Exactly. And while some orgs do win big from these comps most end up w nothing except lost time/energy

memeshift @zerostrategist leaders to step up. Absolutely. They gotta be passionate too.

Q3. What strategies can be used to reinvigorate support for a cause when supporters get burned out?

tomjd @zerostrategist Making it personal is important – sharing personal stories, not just statistics, not just portraying victims

memeshift @tomjd dig that – not just portraying victims. Easy to take dignity away, difficult to restore.

yellowbuzz Perhaps getting away frm the ‘victim’ language is crucial. “victim” objectifies people in need – taking away thr agency

zerostrategist @yellowbuzz For sure the language you choose to use matters deeply should be customized for audience, empowering & calls to action

yellowbuzz @memeshift @zerostrategist Collaboration with other orgs/networks/indiv = a solution cure Cause Fatigue?

zerostrategist @yellowbuzz Yes I def think that collaboration + cross pollination with other orgs/networks/indiv = a strategy 4 stopping fatigue

memeshift @zerostrategist cross training #4change sounds like it could be a new cause in itself!

zerostrategist @memeshift Heck yes! The great thing is that cross training partners would learn the pit falls, instead of learning the hard way

realize_ink A3: Obvious answer is refined, more targeted messaging so it really resonates. Also need the *right* messengers.

zerostrategist @memeshift @tomjd I think that burning social capital on contests / repeat mobilizing can cause burnout fatigue + diminish brand

realize_ink So what’s keeping orgs from collaborating more if we know non-collab leads to c-fatigue? Brand protection? Is it worth it?

karitas A3 celebrating successes of partner causes brings positivity across your movement

zerostrategist @karitas RE A3 Making a point to celebrate victories & important milestones helps to re-energize across partner causes

meshugavi A3 Bring emotion and faces into the way you communicate your mission.

karitas @realize_ink its about going from a legacy mindset to a Put-yourself-out-of-business mindset. Collab is essential to meeting mission

realize_ink @karitas Spot on! Wish more ppl, orgs, org leaders would share this view

karitas @realize_ink me too! And when we don’t see how much our partners are doing, new orgs pop to “fill in the gap” and stratify support

dpmichel 3. look to what is resonating and how your cause fits into that

zerostrategist A3: Rotating your people across different sub-causes & partner campaigns can keep them fresh + lend more perspectives & ideas

zerostrategist A3: Making sure everyone gets + are taking adequate vacation & sick time when they are ill goes a long way to improve participation

neddotcom “strategies” used to reinvigorate support? Impact reporting. Traction and results. Quick feedback loops. Open collaboration.

Q4. When do you expand your campaign to outreach to new supporters?

tomjd @zerostrategist I would think those would be 2 diff campaigns – one for existing supporters, one for new. Need diff communication

yellowbuzz @tomjd maybe the distinction is not so hard. a organizer-operator-supporter-peripheralsupporter-propagator continuum? #4change

zerostrategist @yellowbuzz Like the idea here of the O-O-S-PS-P continuum, wish the there was no distinction. But there is much of the time.

realize_ink I’m with @tomjd – sounds like 2 diff campaigns w diff messenging and messenger, but same ask #4Change

zerostrategist @realize_ink @tomjd They do require different comm strategies as long as the objectives are different, but combine what you can.

Q5. When do you contract your campaign to focus on the supporters you do have?

MeganMurray A5 #4Change Consistently.. but with respect to their time. Consistency is important.

zerostrategist @MeganMurray RE A5 Meaning that keeping the campaign effective, requires continuous trimming? No big cuts or sudden drops?

MeganMurray @zerostrategist #4Change Moderating vs. trimming. These are relationships. They operate in waves, you have to respond to those rhythms.

Q6. What tools can be used to keep communities engaged in the midst of cause fatigue?

memeshift @zerostrategist A6 a simple hello (Tweet, email, txt, call) before you even need anything, I reckon.

socialedge #4Change chat is pondering What strategies can be used to reinvigorate support for a cause when supporters get burned out? RT’d by hnajam

socialedge #4change @bbravo http://bit.ly/aUOJLZ @hildygottlieb @kanter http://bit.ly/9fTkU8 great resources for #socialmedia cure for cause fatigue

realize_ink @socialedge Gr8 @kanter post, but even Soc Med fatigue exists. I hear “not another FB fan page!” a lot. Need variety of pltfrms

realize_ink @zerostrategist A6: communication that doesn’t involve an ask. And, plenty of thank yous along the way.

zerostrategist @realize_ink I like ur A6 I think that a soft approach tends to be more effective too! TYs are critical.

yellowbuzz A6: a blog that archives work in progress. Documenting process engages communities, interested or semi-interested

MeganMurray A6: Reward mechanisms and balanced engagement (meaning = ratio of rally & fun)

rootwork A6: Describing your past successes – storytelling!

memeshift Yes! RT’d @rootwork

MeganMurray @rootwork Good one! Excellent point.

rootwork @MeganMurray To me, organizational/movement histories are one of the key things that create sustainability, but often aren’t done

MeganMurray @rootwork So true. Generally as a species we have a lil trouble learning from our past. ;)

realize_ink A6: opportunity for change agents to “own” part of the process. Implement their own ideas working toward common goal.

memeshift Yes! RT’d @real

meshugavi A6 Celebrating small victories

tomjd @meshugavi And identifying clearly how the work of supporters contributed to those victories

insearchofsanuk Say Thank you. Often.

meshugavi @tomjd yes @350 does a great job of that

zerostrategist The KISS answer to A6: #blogs #wikis #forums #mashups #geo #microblogs #socialnetworks #socialbookmarks #cloudcomputing #badges

yellowbuzz @zerostrategist How about something in-person, like an ice cream social?

zerostrategist @yellowbuzz You know funny that you bring that up because cupcake socials seem to be a #socialmedia #meme & have raised a lot of $$

yellowbuzz @zerostrategist Yes – FOOD #4change! We’ve mobilized lots of artists/enthusiasts/supporters with pancakes, donuts, cupcakes, scones indeed!

memeshift @yellowbuzz nice! My current FB tagline: “media arts + pizza”

realize_ink @zerostrategist I’m a huge fan of collaboration & working w multiple groups 2 time R asks & vary them so ppl dont get overloaded

zerostrategist @yellowbuzz Something tasty (pastries, microbrews, eats) can be a powerful force to converge, mobilize, #4change and combat #cause #fatigue

realize_ink @yellowbuzz @memeshift I know I’m always motivated by food. And, hey, I’m most causes’ target audience. :)

realize_ink @socialedge Yes! Almost unusual to hear “offline” contact these days, but still so necessary. Long live meet-ups!

zerostrategist A6: Use the tech tools sparingly (cause it can be the source of the burnout), have real world events that allow people to just be

realize_ink A6: Also fond of influencer strat. Citizen ambassadors (non-celebrities!!) who champion the issue & inspire others 2 take action.

rootwork @realize_ink Yes – and thus, map your network of support first (shades of @valdiskrebs)

rootwork lesson #4change RT @echoditto Ben Wikler fr @avaaz on tcktcktck “Key to doing this effectively is listening to ppl you’re trying to inspire”

Q7. How do economic conditions effect cause fatigue?

rootwork #4change A7: People who have to work more are (or at least feel that they should be) volunteering less

yellowbuzz @rootwork true, although unemployment can lead to more time for reflecting/mobilizing/getting-involved.

rootwork @yellowbuzz I think it depends on your socioeconomic base. Those with means can volunteer for awhile, it’s true.

rootwork @yellowbuzz NYT actually wrote about the phenomenon of well-to-do unemployed volunteering at higher rates http://nyti.ms/9CPyuL

zerostrategist #4Change A7: Those with jobs will be expected to more for less…or else! :( Those who don’t will become more become more active!

yellowbuzz A7: economic downturn motivates ppl to question status quo and existing social condition (one hopes). An opportunity #4change. 2 optimistic?

zerostrategist A7: …as a result #change #fatigue will go up on both sides of the cause, creating pressure + stress, but also making opportunity

socialedge @pamelahawley tips on engaging folks as volunteers http://bit.ly/a7cLb6 in bad econ-be part of something greater, gain new skills

Q8. How can cause fatigue be prevented?

insearchofsanuk Best strategy is not to let them get burnt out. Work #4change for the right reasons and dont let supporters loose sight of those.

realize_ink @zerostrategist A8: keep campaign realistic and asks under control. And, whenever possible, collaborate, collaborate, collaborate.

yellowbuzz A8: streamlined mission statement with clearly defined goals. a strong communication network that allows flexibility/feedback.

zerostrategist @yellowbuzz You are right Wendy if you don’t have those things lined up, #cause #fatigue will ensue…the trick is to be dynamic 2

zerostrategist A8: I think an emphasis on the informal tends to be a most effective way to involve and educate is what lasts over the long term

dwightturner Variety. Have diverse ways people can participate. Know the signs of burn out. Make people take breaks.

zerostrategist I think @dwightturner is right on this one, the secret to preventing #cause #fatigue is to know the signs and know your people

yellowbuzz @dwightturner totally agreed. Spread the networks widely. a #4Change diaspora? agents in various locations/backgrounds can refresh org

realize_ink A8: Needs to be fairly organic. Let change agents, not org, play key role. Org sets goals, agents can guide tactics, platforms.

yellowbuzz A8: media/event-detox – reconnect with close friends and family – reevaluate/reflect life’s mission
Q9. How do you “recharge” when completely fatigued?

rootwork Is Q9 about us as organizers/staffers, or how we encourage supporters/volunteers to recharge?

realize_ink @zerostrategist are we talking internal recharge?

zerostrategist @realize_ink Totally an open question answer it however YOU like! :)

realize_ink A9: If internal, I’d again lead with the thank yous. Not nearly enuf expressed to staff, organizers.

rootwork A9: Valentines to your volunteers!

insearchofsanuk Why did you participate to begin with? Clear distractions & let the initial energy be used to reinvigorate you.

realize_ink A9: Personally, I go back to root source & remind myself why I’m championing the cause in the 1st place. Works wonders!

insearchofsanuk @realize_ink whoa. we tweet alike

zerostrategist A9: The way I recharge #4Change: disconnect from technology, be with family, friends, nature, ocean and just being me http://bit.ly/aMySug

socialedge “what if we could create a way to give back that doesn’t feel like sacrifice at all?” http://bit.ly/dvOxr7

realize_ink A9: Our shop has volunteer days -use work days 2 cr8 hands-on change. Often gets folks recharged. Goes back to letting agents lead.

realize_ink @zerostrategist Yes! Falling off the grid is a fabulous recharge. Think we all need to do it more often.

zerostrategist Lastly I want to dedicate today / this month’s #4Change Chat to @engagejoe who is currently recharging in the mountains of Vermont

Chat Resource Roundup

I know everyone appreciates case studies and links to resources that #4Change Chat participants share. While the conversation is happening not everyone has the time to click through and read all of the resources. So here is a round up of the relevant links shared:

Disaster Donations in the age of Disruption -

http://philanthropy.blogspot.com/2010/01/disaster-donations-in-age-of-disruption.html

Why We are in the Age of the Citizen Philanthropist –

http://mashable.com/2010/01/28/citizen-philanthropist/

Issue Fighting for Attention and Funds in an Aware World –

http://www.socialedge.org/discussions/funding/issue-fatigue-2013-fighting-for-attention-and-funds-in-an-aware-world-1

Chase Community Giving Contest Ends With Yet More Controversy –

http://beth.typepad.com/beths_blog/2010/01/chase-giving-contest-winners-announced-amidst-controversy-.html?cid=6a00d8345159b069e20120a801b3a7970b

Without a Job, but Working on the Campaign Trail –

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/08/nyregion/08campaigns.html?_r=1

Help Maximizing Volunteer Impact -

http://www.socialedge.org/discussions/business-building/archive/2009/09/10/help-maximizing-volunteer-impact

Issue Fatigue: What’s The Cure? –

http://havefundogood.blogspot.com/2009/02/issue-fatigue-whats-cure.html

The Social Enterprise Conference: Reflections on Service –

http://www.socialearth.org/reflections-on-service-and-the-social-enterprise-conference

Disclosure – This post is cross-posted on Zero Strategist and #4Change Blog