Elly Woolston, MD, DMS
It’s no surprise digital has enabled charities to capture the interest of young people (nma 5 November 2009) as there are now generations of digital natives who have lived their whole lives with the internet. But while digital is getting young people to interact with charities, I would question how well these campaigns engage them with the issues being championed.
Games, co-creation or social media can drive interactions and, while young people are happy to spend hours with an online game or crafting their avatars, are these campaigns delivering long-term benefit?
Charities may argue that getting their messages on the radar of youth is mission accomplished. However, digital can be made to work much harder. True engagement will come from talking to young people, not just through their medium but also by using their language.
The RNLI is one charity which is setting the standard with its work with young bloggers, who were challenged to address the public’s misconceptions about young people. The issue was adopted and championed by them, producing results which were more powerful than any marketing campaign.
Charities should stop thinking about channels and focus on what will inspire young people. Make a connection, show you understand and have a common link. If charities can do this then they’ll move from young people merely interacting to becoming advocates for life.