The way the message is conveyed matters as much as the message

Causes are primarily driven by communicating them. No matter the focus, causes gain traction through attention. Without attention not much can happen, unless you have all the resources available.

It’s important then to consider those aspects which help communicate causes, whether to help fight disease or make world greener, what it means and where it’s possible to go wrong.

The power of social media

In 2012, a widely-viewed YouTube video aimed at raising awareness of Joseph Kony caught the attention of the world. Called “Kony2012”, it was a video that explained the concerns of the African warlord and the devastating effects his horrible campaign had on people. Of course, there was massive criticism and many consider the campaign to capture and bring Kony to trial, a failure. After all, the man is still at large. Even when it was screened to Ugandans, it was met with anger and resentment.

What worried many people about the campaign was its reduction of complex political issues, its gun-ho attitude, and many other serious concerns.

However, what critics can’t fault the campaign for is its ability to have obtained people’s attention. This is difficult in a world where attention is often the biggest kind of currency.

What Invisible Children, the creators, managed to tap into was a mashup of slick film production, a cute child, helpless foreign children, a vicious and terrible villain, and a way to help combat this villain and help innocent children. People felt like they could do something. They felt informed. The problem wasn’t portrayed as impossible.

Yet its simplification was part of its main problem.

Communication training courses will tell you merely communicating a problem is one of the least helpful ways to communicate. You also should convey possible solution paths.

Personal experience

The major point is that communicating effectively is key. It opens avenues to obtain resources you need to make your cause an increasing success. The key is to put the reason and passion to seeing your cause completed into those with resources you need.

Whether this is one person with a lot of the resources, or lots of people with smaller amounts of that resource – be it time, money, or whatever – you still need to make people care. When they care, they will give you resources. This will lead to your goal’s success.

Overwhelming people with an impossible task, which is a key problem with global warming due to its scale and general unfathomability, is why causes fail. To avoid that, take care in how you communicate, since words have the power to change everything.