Change.org is a two-year-old online community that seeks to bring attention to world issues: climate change, immigration, ethnic cleansing and so on. But this week, the organization looks set to make its biggest change. The subject: herself. The site, which despite calling itself the “change” is not affiliated with any of the US presidential candidates, has made this theme its own. The community is transformed into an electronic media group with the publication of 13 blogs, each dedicated to a specific key topic.
Josh Levy, the site’s editor, sees the new site as a new hub for its 120,000 members, a one-stop shop for the latest news on a given topic and tools for action. “People want to do something, but how do you make it easy, fun, and connected to their lives? It’s an attempt to fix the problem,” said Levy, who had once been an associate editor of the blog for the personal democracy forum group, techPresident. “We use blogs to build communities around issues and to inspire people to take action. The Global Climate Change blog, for example, is regularly updated by journalist Emily Gertz with climate change news and analysis.
Change.org “allows us to reach audiences that we wouldn’t normally reach,” says Linday Sparks of World Neighbors, a grassroots development organization that has raised nearly $20,000 from the site. “People are learning more and more that they can give smaller gifts. They don’t have to give $100; they can donate $5 and have an impact. The site was so good at exposing the issues that she registered her own NGO there: she added a page for her NGO and quickly got $100 – which despite the small amount is still $100 worth. more while waiting for better.
“I think there’s definitely a role for this in the world of social entrepreneurship,” says Tom Watson, author of an upcoming book on peer-to-peer philanthropy called “CauseWired: Plug In, Get Involved , change the world” (Wiley). “It’s like what happens in the online political space.” The political blog which talks about Memo points, for example, exploded the audience scores thanks in particular to the voice of its editor, Josh Marshall. Everyday Kos has found a place as a refrigerator for a group of fellow loggers. The popularity of these two blogs attests that so-called millennials have not only grown up with the web but are becoming politicized there: 47 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds voted in the 2004 US election, while they were only 36% in 2000, according to the Case foundation. This year,
Of course, this is largely due to Senator Barack Obama’s fascination with young voters, but also to the technological sophistication with which his campaign was conducted. The “Obama campaign showed this enthusiasm and energy among young people to organize and bond with each other to get something done,” said Levy, who doesn’t support any candidate at least publicly. “I see this ‘the new version of Change.org’ as: what do we do after, after November 4th? How do we maintain this energy and this mentality towards real social goals? »
“Change was very smart in how they positioned themselves to recruit from this group that got involved in the Obama campaign,” says Nancy Schwartz, a marketing consultant specializing in NGOs. “But that level of participation was not sustained even throughout the campaign. Schwartz would also like to see each of these dedicated blogs have more than just one voice, if not multiple perspectives. “If they do it on the Huffington model, that could be really interesting. »
In the meantime, Levy and Al can revel in the following statistics: From 1989 to 2005 the rate of teen volunteerism more than doubled, to 28.4%, according to the Corporation for National Civic Service. The number of student volunteers grew by 20% between 2002 and 2005. This means that students are getting more and more involved in social activities since this kind of blogs exist on the net.