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Nonprofit Community Embraces “KONY 2012” Example, Minimalist Activism

IMAGINATIONLAND – Taking note of the unprecedented success of Invisible Children’s “KONY 2012” campaign, nonprofit organizations across the world have begun to develop redesigned, stylish marketing campaigns targeted at catching the attention of young people.

The “KONY 2012” campaign, with its emphases on awareness over action, has many nonprofits rethinking how best to address some the world’s most chronic and intractable problems.

“We realized that our previous awareness campaigns, full of meticulously researched information and nuanced solutions, really didn’t jive with an internet culture fixated on immediacy,” said Angela Svenkoshna, Communications Director for the American Red Cross. “The KONY 2012 campaign inspired us to simplify or message and offer broader goals that are not as rigidly defined.”

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An example of the new approach, as explained by Ms. Svenkoshna, can be witnessed with the American Red Cross’ new “AIDS = BAD” campaign, which is meant to increase the awareness of the AIDS epidemic in Africa. According to the American Red Cross, the bite-sized messaging is meant to gain large, generalized support from social media users and then allow said users to “explore options” to “make the situation better, or you know, whatever”.

Experts that study trends and institutional shifts within the nonprofit community tend to agree that this prioritization of branding and style over substance and action could positively affect the sector by “freeing” organizations from “actually explaining” their methods, goals, and actions.

Calling this new way of approaching global issues “minimalist activism”, many experts see the “KONY 2012” campaign as a radical reinvention of the typical nonprofit, where an issue is expected to be solved simply by making as many people as possible aware of the problem as opposed to taking any action to change reality.

Marcus Grendly of ocean enthusiast magazine The Atlantic explains: “By repeating vague, easily understood, and over simplified statements of morality, nonprofits can unshackle themselves from the difficult and unforgiving job of having to actually having to do anything.”

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