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Category: social media

Memes as a campaigning tool

If you spend more than a few hours a day on the Internet (which, you must admit, is the case for nearly all of us), there are certain things you will come across wherever you are. On Twitter, it’s a food ordering site, on Instagram, some parody account. You can even find them on the hook-up apps. A smiling grandpa with gleaming teeth wearing  doctor’s clothes a guy watching a girl pass by while another girl next to him labels him, as an evil Kermit … They’re everywhere. Literally everywhere.

What they are?

They are memes.


Defining ‘memes

This word seems to have crept into almost all languages. We communicate with memes more and more often. Whether it’s pointing out serious problems or just as a joke.

All righty! We will start, in an academic, nerdy manner, to first define what memes are, by consulting serious researchers and sources.

According to MW Dictionary, this word dates back to evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins’ 1976 book The Selfish Gene. In Dawkins’ conception of the term, it is “a unit of cultural transmission”—the cultural equivalent of a gene.

Meme found its place in dictionaries, from 2015, which define it as an amusing or interesting item (such as a captioned picture or video) or type of item that is spreads widely online especially through social media.

Okay, great, but not every digital content that gains popularity is a meme, right? There is a whole lot of fun contents on the internet, but not all of them are meme.s

So, another question arises – what are essential elements of a meme?

It is an extremely challenging to try to determine the anatomy of such an elastic and evolving concept as a meme.

There are several features.

  • Reproducibility: digitally produced pieces of content must be infinitely reproducible and exploitable across a wide breadth of platforms.
  • Searchability: finished versions of memes, as well as raw templates, should be easy to find.
  • Scalability: digital material is created for a specific audience, but with the knowledge that it can be shared with a much wider audience, wherever the internet reaches.
  • Persistence: although digital items may not last as long as physical objects, they are infinitely transferable and storable in many locations.
  • Adaptable model: memes should have recognisable structures, with spaces for new content.

Maybe it isn’t very appropriate to say, given the times we are living in, but internet memes are probably quite comparable to viruses. They are dependent on living hosts, have the capacity to infect anything and everything, the ability to evolve, to mutate, to grow and, most importantly, to spread.

Because they are ubiquitous and very popular, everyone starts to use them. Just everyone. Businesses, politicians, celebrities … Even activists. Particularly activists! Quite simple to make and even simpler to distribute and disseminate; they can communicate a stance or message at a glance, revealing an issue in such a plain, yet appealing way.

As they have the tendency to spread quickly, constantly evolve and transform, it makes them hard to eliminate in the way that other forms of communicative protest can be silenced.


A wide breadth of international human rights organizations have recognized the importance and capacity of memes in combatting various types of discrimination such as racism, homophobia and transphobia.


Let’s take a look at examples of how memes have been used in LGBTQI+ activism

Political Satire

Do you recall “gay Putin” meme, that became viral in 2013?


As this altered image with lipstick and makeup gained popularity and mobilized the queer movement across Russia, it seems that the Head of State, either out of fear of massive, nationwide mobilization, or dissatisfaction that an internet meme which depicted him with mascara and rainbow colours disrupting his masculine image, started to crack down on both sexual liberties and online speech.

In the very same year, 2013, Russia passed its first “Internet extremism” laws. A year later, President Putin signed a law imposing prison sentences on people supporting banned online posts. In 2015, Russian law enforcement began shutting down websites of Putin critics, restricting virtually all anonymous blogs.

Eventually, in 2017, the Russian Justice Ministry included the “Gay Putin meme” in a registry of “extremist materials,” together with others such as anti-semitic and racist pictures and slogans. It became illegal to distribute the image of a Russian president wearing makeup.

The fierceness of the repression is a clear indicator of how powerful the Russian authorities see this new form of political satire.


Collaborative campaigning

Another example is the “Gay culture is…” meme.

Queerty traced the meme’s origins to early September 2017, when one man’s tweet about his wasted teenage years went viral.



Immediately, Twitter users started producing content in the same format, expressing their own vision of what “Gay Culture” means to them.

The format here is different as the meme invites users not only to share a set content but to collaborate with personal inputs. This format is clearly the expression of the present age of activism that focuses more on active participation than passive sharing.

The final question that remains to be asked is whether memes be considered a ‘slacktivist’ tool, and if so – how strong are they really? In practice so far, it can be said that memes are possibly responsible for helping fuel ongoing discourse on many issues.

Current research suggests that internet memes play an important role in civic expression and citizen empowerment. Queer activists and campaigners have already leveraged this, and with certainty will continue to do so.

Creating your memes

And yeah, I’ve left the best news to the end – memes are very easy to make!

You don’t need  knowledge about design, or be skilled in Photoshop. Just visit THIS website and generate your own meme. You can use some that are already popular or you can popularize your template – simply by uploading the desired photo.

If you want to make a meme out of a gif – just visit this website.


Good luck!


Engaging with supporters outside of campaigns

These precious insights were shared by the UK agency More Onion. More onion works with progressive non-profits to deliver high-impact digital campaigns and fundraising.

One of the biggest challenges of non-profits is how to keep their email audience engaged when there’s no campaigning action to take. Relationships with supporters shouldn’t stop just because you don’t want something from them right now, engaging communications are vital for year-round relationship development and growth. We have been especially impressed at AgeUK’s work in this area and wanted to share one example with you below.

What we love about their emails:

  • The tone and content are clearly developed with a strong understanding of their audience.
  • They clearly value the expertise and experience of their supporters and ask for their input as equals, not just using supporters to amplify the organisation’s own voice.
  • Their communications are brilliantly joined up with other parts of their work, including fundraising. In our experience, this pays off in terms of engagement and income.
  • They take the time to craft thoughtful loyalty emails showing the impact that your past actions and donations are having, not just in numbers, but through personal storytelling and photographs.

4 SMS Best Practices for Your Next Campaign

Tnis article was curated from New Mode

By Rachel Phan, Community Engagement Specialist @ New/Mode

Online course “Communications for Advocacy” in 6 languages

Sogicampaigns and the PITCH program (Aidsfonds/Frontline Aids/Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs) are launching a free 10-lesson online course on Communications for Advocacy. 

This course s based on insights of hundreds of campaigners worldwide and aims to help activists and advocates to truly engage, rally and influence people to their advocacy cause. 

The course contains many examples of successful campaigns, many exciting and inspiring videos, interactive exercises, quizzes, and concludes with a 10-step plan to build your communications for advocacy strategy.


We encourage all creative campaigners to check it out: If you think your communication can be improved, it will give you many ideas and examples and will guide you in becoming more strategic about your communication. If you think your communication is already ahead of the curve, this course will help you test your assumptions, and maybe challenge you on some aspects.

Access the online course in EnglishRussianPortugueseBahasa IndonesiaVietnameseBurmese



Reaching your target audience through personalisation engines

Reaching your target audience is often a big challenge for campaigners who want to take their messages beyond the “choir” of existing supporters. So how can you locate your potential supporters, and how can you engage with them?


Targeted advertisement on Facebook/Instagram via  Facebook Business Manager is a solution that a lot of organisations go with, even if many will be very conflicted about funding a social network that is all but politically accountable.

But targeted ads are not necessarily “personal”. Even if the target group is very specific and organisations tailor the message exactly to this segment, it will be a generic message. Even “Hey, young British Trans person!” will read to Gen Z as a “random” message, and might be dismissed accordingly.

The Serbian organisation Da Se Zna offers psychological counselling via a free helpline. To get the information across particularly to people outside of the capital, they practise “classic” FB/IG advertising based on the demographic of FB/IG users. But DSZ also realised that many of the visitors of their website did not get the information about the helpline, or did not use the service. In order to engage with this particular group of people (people who had visited their site but had not called the helpline), they set the Facebook Pixel plugin on their website.

The app identifies the FB/IG profile of the visitors of the website and creates “target groups”. In this case, visitors of the website were getting FB/IG ads that related to their website visit, such as “You were on our site. Do you need additional support, or do you want to talk to someone a little more? We remind you that we hold online consultations every day and that you are always welcome again.”

The plugin lets you further segment sub-groups, in this case a sub-group was created of people who had visited the website and were living outside of the capital city, who got more specific messages such as “It doesn’t matter that you don’t have an organisation to contact! Come back to our site, and feel free to speak with our activists if you feel comfortable enough.”

The drawback of this technique is that people will know that they are being traced. For environments where being traced as LGBTQI+ can cost one’s job, social life, family support, or even life, this can make people very nervous and actually have the opposite effect of having people refrain from searching for help. For FB/IG users, this is mitigated by the fact that most people are rather “open” on social media, but tracking user behavior outside of FB/IG poses many ethical and legal challenges.

As a matter of fact, concerns over privacy and data usage are increasing, and in some countries, this is reflected in new legislation — such as GDPR in the European Union. A facet of GDPR is that data can no longer be captured without getting explicit permission from users, and these guidelines are applicable worldwide. Don’t consider personalization without involving the compliance and regulatory teams in your organization.


Organisations which are confident that they want and can go down the route of personalised targeting will need to travel the complex field of Personalisation Engines.

Personalisation engines function much like Facebook Pixel but work beyond FB/IG. Their application includes placing an organisation’s ads when the targeted user browses the net, or customising their user experience on the organisation’s website: For example, if a college student visits a website, they may see more video options than a senior citizen who wants to read large print.

Integrating a personalization engine into a content management system (WordPress, for example) is not hugely complicated but is better dealt with by professionals. 

This article gives you the basics you need to know in order to stay in the driving seat.

And to help you through the swamp of products, Gartner recently identified 18 in its Magic Quadrant for Personalization Enginesreport.

TikTok – leading LGBTQ youth platform!

TikTok, the app famous for launching newly out rapper Lil Nas X, is a space where many LGBTQ teens feel safe to come out and connect. The best part? Their parents aren’t on it

This Peter may not be Peter Parker, but he is St. Louis, Missouri’s very own Amazing Spider-Man. The 17-year-old recent high school graduate is a member of the Spider-Gang, a cohort of devotees to the comic book character. He’s amassed nearly 21,000 followers on TikTok, the popular new social app whose young users have built massive followings by creating and remixing funny short-form videos.

Peter, who posts under the handle @crashlovesyou, has found his niche slinging webs in a Spidey suit at conventions around the country. He could be a stand-in for Spider-Man: Far From Home actor Tom Holland: He looks, talks and even shares the same name as the fictional webbed warrior. But at the end of Pride Month, Peter cautiously announced one major difference to his TikTok followers.

“TikTok allows us teens to express ourselves more openly, because the majority of our parents don’t know about it,” says Karol, a 17-year-old from Connecticut.


Karol is an up-and-coming TikTok creator with 33,000 followers. But offline, her friends and family don’t know she’s posting satirical videos about being the “disappointing” lesbian daughter of straight Catholic parents. “Parents are on Instagram a lot now,” Karol says. “So in a way, TikTok is definitely ‘gayer’ than Instagram.”

For some LGBTQ teens, the appeal of TikTok is how easy it is to go viral on it. The app functions around a default, algorithmic feed, known as the For You page, which features trending videos curated for each user based on who they follow and what videos they’ve previously liked. Unlike Instagram, TikTok’s default feed is centered on discovery; it’s not filled solely by accounts you follow. As a result, hot new content tends to bubble up quickly. Most teens I spoke with said they had a video go viral within months of creating their account.

While for some users, the intention isn’t always to create “gay” content, TikTok communities form naturally when liking videos with LGBT-inspired hashtags or TikTok’s curated video playlists around themes like “Show Your Pride.” Engaging with LGBT content prompts more LGBT content to surface on your For You page. TikTok is, at its core, a feedback loop. It’s easy to find your people.

That’s why many users create queer content more intentionally. “I wanted to post videos of me being a lesbian so others can relate to my content and push themselves to feel confident with their own sexuality,” says Serenity, 15, a California high schooler with over 107,000 followers.

TikTok’s top queer posts are largely positive. Many are sincere coming-out videos scored to “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross; others involve witty commentary on all the various “types of gay guys.” But sometimes the flood of support can turn punitive.



TikTok may be working out its moderation issues, but it remains a leading platform for LGBTQ youth to connect. “Trans men are getting some representation,” Damien says of one of the communities most often left out of LGBT spaces. As for the haters in his comments, Damien couldn’t care less about what they think of his content. “If they can post their progress with bodybuilding, I can [do the same] with my voice. It’s just a screen.”

Whom to follow on TikTok? This list might be helpful


Source: MEL Magazine




Video content – campaigning trend on fire!

Although the videos have been used for campaign purposes for a long time, they have only recently gained in serious popularity.

Why is video content becoming so popular right now?

Video as a format is certainly and without any doubt more compelling and visually appealing.

But making a video today is easier than ever!

With the help of easily accessible apps like Tik-Tok, it is possible to create viral content without prior design knowledge, or investing large sums of money in the production of video animations.


As well as more brands and organisations tend to utilise videos, consumers are now watching more videos than ever before!

It is estimated that the average person will spend 100 minutes every day watching online videos in 2021.

This is a 19% increase in comparison to daily viewing minutes in 2019, which stood at 84min!


Even though it is not a brand new tactic, vlogging continues capturing social media attention in 2020. People want to feel connected to the organisation or campaigner they invest their resources in! 


Let’s check some useful tips to make your video an effective campaigning tool! 







  1. Have a SEO strategy – or precisely, add keywords, have a title to catch attention, use tags properly and create high-quality thumbnails! 
  2. Make it clear what the video is about! What is this supposed to mean? Add accurate synopsis, plot the main points, or try subscribing the entire video.
  3. Provide testimonials – case studies, likes, views, comments, any sort of social proof showcasing your content is valuable and informative. 
  4. CTAs – Call to actions are a must for your videos. Because once you have encouraged people to watch your video, you should get the most out of it! Incentives, direct links to your landing page, giveaways, presents, free courses, or simple direct message would be beneficial. 
  5. Try maximising the reach – engage with your audience, ask them for feedback, respond to all the comments and invoke a dialogue. Always try to have some budget for paid ads over social media outlets. 

What is a handraiser ? And how can it help you win more supporters?

Handraisers are forms of engagement which ask visitors to add their name in support of a values statement or policy, without an explicit target like a petition.

How can your organisation make the best use of handraisers? This interesting article from Forward Action UK share precious advice

Handraisers with an action daisy chain, promoted by Facebook ads

We find that petitions and handraisers (which ask visitors to add their name in support of a values statement or policy, without an explicit target like a petition – examples from some of our partner organisations here and here) are usually the most cost-effective way to rapidly recruit large numbers of supporters, who you can then re-mobilise via your email programme. Crucially, they can also be very effective at driving people to take a higher bar action (such as donating or messaging an advocacy target) on the thank you slide, straight after signing – provided you’re using technology with an optimised action daisy chain (example here). We’ve worked on projects where the organisation has recouped as much as 50-70% of their ad spend immediately through the daisy chain donate ask.

  • Start by developing a set of 3 – 4 different handraisers with a mix of framings, to be promoted via Facebook ads (also test other channels like Instagram if you have capacity, but Facebook typically drives the best results).
  • Draft a range of Facebook ad creative for each handraiser – at least 4 copy variants and 4 image variants per handraiser, but ideally more – and set your ad campaign up to automatically test and optimise between handraiser framing, ad creative, and a range of target audiences. A lot of the same tips on audiences and ad structure from direct-to-donate Facebook ads in the Tier 1 blog apply here too.
  • If you have (or are able to quickly launch) a telemarketing programme, integrate optional phone fields so people can opt in for calling (example here – organisations using this format of consent for calling typically find 20 – 30% of signups leaving their phone number, but we’ve seen as high as 60%).

If you’re also running direct-to-donate ads, the handraiser Facebook ads should be directly tested against them, as both sets of ads will be targeting similar cold audiences. If your primary goal for both sets of ads is fundraising, you should compare their lifetime return on ad spend (ROAS – i.e. the ratio between ad spend and lifetime income received) and use this to decide how to allocate your budget. You’ll need to give it a couple of weeks of equal spend to give time for people to get to the end of the welcome series (see below) before making your decision.

Unless the ROAS of the direct-to-donate ads is significantly higher, we’d typically suggest prioritising handraiser ads, because they have the big advantage of delivering much greater email list growth (which you can turn into many more high value actions down the line). If the goal of your handraiser ads is primarily advocacy, then you’ll need to manually balance spend against the direct-to-donate ads to ensure both ads sets are able to deliver their goals.

Welcome email series for new signups

Draft a four-to-six email automated welcome series to be sent to everyone who signs up via the handraisers. We find including a welcome survey in your first email, ending with a high value advocacy ask or donate ask, is a really effective way to both drive high levels of engagement (40-60% of email openers click through to take the survey) and generate high value actions. Including the first question in the email itself dramatically increases action rates – we’ve seen by as much as 100% in testing. Here’s an example from Dignity in Dying:

Dignity in Dying's welcome email


After this, each email in the series should contain a single high priority advocacy or fundraising ask. When it comes to planning emails, people often assume they “can’t ask too much too soon” or need to warm up the new supporter with some passive content before asking them to do anything else. However, the data we see suggests in fact the opposite is true: people are most engaged and motivated to take action soon after they’ve signed up, and it’s giving people things to do that feel valuable and impactful that keeps them engaged longer term. You can still tell a story about your organisation in these emails – just do it by bringing the supporter and the impact their action can have into the centre of the narrative.

Optimise your opt in ask format and copy

Getting your opt in ask working well is essential to running a cost-effective handraiser campaign. You should be aiming for a benchmark of 50 – 65% opt in rate; anything lower than that and you’ll start to substantially increase your cost per subscriber from your handraiser ads and reduce the number of high value actions and donations you’re driving through your email programme.

Setting up petition/handraiser technology optimised for driving post-sign up action

As with donation technology, having an optimised user experience for your handraisy action daisy chain has a massive impact on performance. For example, we’ve found adding a Yes/No ask between the signup and donate/share slides increases donation rates by as much as 50%, while adding a “Signed -> Shared -> Donated” progress bar increases people donating as well as sharing by 40%. So if you’re going to be driving increased traffic over the coming months, it’s worth investing in getting your handraiser tech in order now to make sure you’re not missing out on significant numbers of actions or income. If you think this is relevant for you, get in touch and we can discuss getting you set up on our Blueprint handraiser platform as soon as possible.


10 boxes your digital activism must tick

A good campaign is not about your audience passively receiving your message. It’s about interaction, engagement, connection. Here are 10 key success factors to make this happen.




1.Go where your target is. It can never be repeated often enough: engagement happens best where users already are, as opposed to where the campaign is. Hence, the golden rule is to spend 30% of the time on the campaigns’ media and 70% on the media/spaces that the audience already uses. For how this worked with using make-up influencers to increase engagement see this article

2. Make it relatable. People might care for your issue but not enough to take action, unless you frame it in a way that makes them realise the mobilisation is also towards their own interests and motivations. So talk to people’s interests before talking about yours. And it’s best to not assume you know what triggers your audience. A bit of research into this is always a good idea.

3. Make it as easy as possible while still making it meaningful (people are not naive enough to believe they will solve a big problem with a simple click, so infantilizing them is not recommended). Everybody has heard of “slacktivism” or “clicktivism”)

4. Make it innovative. There is lot of digital campaigning going on, so your audience beyond your faithful followers is unlikely to participate in your campaign unless you make it attractive enough, especially if you expect people to share.

5. Make people feel good about their actions. People need rewards. This can be gratitude, visibility of results, etc. For people who strongly focus on recognition, easy tools like leaderboards might be effective

6. Create a community of action. A great example was the “Home to Vote” campaign for the Irish referendum on marriage equality: people who flew back home just so they could vote on the referendum posted images of themselves travelling back and shared pics with #hometovote, which made them part of a small community of “hardcore” supporters. More info HERE

7. Follow up and build on people’s engagement: Keeping people informed of the results of their specific participation is better than sending them « standard » newsletter info. New calls for action should reference and pay tribute to past engagement: it is so annoying when you have participated in several actions and still receive messages as if you had just joined.

8. Make it real. A SMART objective is winnable, targeted, concrete.

9. Enable people. Audiences which are already regularly engaging with your cause don’t appreciate being commanded. They consider themselves committed enough to take a meaningful decision on their involvement. They might appreciate being consulted on new ideas, being invited to webinars, etc.

10. Give people control over what type of information they will receive. This  will make this information more impactful as users consider it as a response to their request and therefore take better ownership. This control can take easy forms such as pre-formatted questions (e.g. “what does my religion (really) say of same-sex relationships?)



Specific engagement strategies on INSTAGRAM 

How to find your audiences where they already are (instead of just hoping they will come to you): an example of how to talk to online gamers about toxic masculinity while they play

How to use unusual influencers to reach your target audience: make-up vloggers become activists

And some resources in general about digital campaigning:

For example this article about what makes people share your content (or not)


Don’t give up the fight – Digital activism in times of COVID19

Physical distancing doesn’t have to mean social distancing. Communities are more important than ever and physical distancing should mean getting socially actually closer.

May 17 will provide a key opportunity for this, and here are some ideas about how to make it happen.

There is an online collaborative version of this document so that everyone can contribute their ideas and share tips on how to organise these activities. We warmly invite everyone to participate


LGBTQI+ people are particularly vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19 as many are part of the poorest people and are already victim of many forms of discrimination, stigma and persecution. Funding is desperately needed and May 17 can provide a good entry point for a call for solidarity. There is an infinite list of resources on how to create a fundraiser. This article is a good place to start

One additional tip that we would like to offer: Underlining the vulnerability of LGBTQI+ people in the face of COVID-19 is important, but it is likely to get unnoticed in times when people are concerned mainly about themselves. A more effective frame to connect with people in these times could be to share advice and tips on how we, as a community of people who have been often forced to live in isolation from others (either physically or mentally),  have learned to cope with this. Showing understanding and providing support (“This is how we can help you now. Help us to help you more in future”) could be an effective tactics to generate some reciprocity.

Flashmobs from home:


For May 17, a specific LGBTQI+  anthem can be played (and sung?) simultaneously by people at their windows. The information should be available early on online so people can get  ready to join and the event should be well referenced so that when it happens curious people who wonder what is going on and search the net can find the answer easily.

  • Cacerolazo: Banging pots and pans has been used around the world, more to express outrage than in order to voice support, but it’s been used these days also to support health care workers


People hang flags, posters or banners at their window or wear something identifiable when they take walks. More permanently visible than a flashmob.

For May 17, there could be a special hanging of Pride flags together with banners (or handmade “red cross” flags) supporting health care workers, both to show support and gratitude to health care workers in general but also to salute LGBTQI+ health care workers who risk their lives:

A gay man is the first nurse reported to have died of the virus in New York City, reports The New York Times.

Online community events:

Homo Sapiens is not a solitary animal. Forced to confinement, this species finds every possible trick and tactic to keep connected to mates. From  Zoom yoga classes, Skype book clubs, Periscope jam sessions to Cloud Clubbing, the internet is rife with creative ways to keep engaged with others. Some of these can definitely be of inspiration to creative campaigners for May17

  • Virtual church services

With online/TV/radio preachers all over the world, online services are nothing new. The challenge is to try to replicate the feeling of community, which makes services so important for worshipers. This tutorial offers a large range of technical advice

Here is one example of what this can look like

  • Cloud Clubbing

Most clubs have now taken their parties online and DJ rely on voluntary donations to keep them afloat.

For May 17 it would be interesting to customise the party so that it has a distinctive flavor. For example there could be a “protest” dress code or playlist could feature plenty of protest songs. Looking for inspiration? Here might be a good place to start looking.

  • Online performances

Cabarets, drag shows, standups, can all be taken online with a minimal technical equipment. But whole festivals can also be taken online, as for example the Digital Drag Fest.

This article reports on a nice initiative that brings drag artists from different countries together

  • Meditation classes

Members of the LGBTQI+ community are particularly vulnerable to social isolation. Meditation can be extremely helpful to help people cope.

For May 17, a special event can be designed to help people overcome internalised stigma.

If you don’t have the ability to conduct a meditation yourself, you can organise a collective watching of free online meditations and psychology talks. I would personally recommend Psychologist, Bhuddist and Meditation teacher Tara Brach. Her inspiring talks are all free online on her site. Of particular relevance : Her talk on how to confront the pandemic fear and her talk on how to confront addiction. You can check many more meditation classes on the free and collaborative app Insight Timer.

Start engagement journeys

The idea behind engaging supporters is that it requires GIVING before asking. So instead of asking people to like, share, sign, donate, etc., an engagement journey starts with offering something to the target group. At a time when the COVID-19 crisis has everyone yearning for ideas of things to do at home, to keep the kids entertained, to eat healthy, etc it could be a good idea to start by inspiring people.

For the whole week around May 17, global organisations could prepare a whole 7-day “anti-homophobia diet”, with recipes from around the world (or the neighbourhood!) that could be shared with the life story of an LGBTIQ+ person from this country. And why not go vegan, by the way, as an acknowledgment of the environmental damages that partly provoked the COVI-19 pandemic.

Or organisations could launch each day of the week leading up to May 17 week a quizz program which could, with minimal back-office management, lead to an “IDAHOBIT award”

Another idea is to tap into the specific experience and skills of the LGBTQI+ community and make other people benefit from. Drag artists could share make-up tips and tutorial. Non-Binary people could give gender-neutral clothing lessons, etc.

Live programs

Live programs (Facebook lives or online radio programs) can be a good way to connect people. Watch this tutorial if you haven’t organised one before.

Viewers/Listeners can be invited to call in and share their opinions or stories, which makes it more interesting than just listening.

May 17 could be a good moment to launch an online radio station, or at least a regular online event (e.g. on the 17th of each month), with a distinctive flavor that can keep a specific target group engaged (“17” could be appropriate to target young people)

“Collective” film screenings

Now movie theaters are closed and we can’t organise movie watching parties at home, there are other ways of creating that special feeling of watching a film with other people. This is pretty easy to organise on zoom.

With teleconf apps like zoom, skype, team, etc.  you can also organise collective screenings through screen sharing, which can be more fun when watching a comedy, a sing along, a horror movie, etc.

These moments can become a good way to engage with your community members who usually don’t engage with you, either because they are too shy or because they are generally not interested in community activities.

For May 17, a special event can be organised around watching a documentary on a topic which you feel passionate about. If there is a silver lining to the COVID crisis, it is that a lot of community members have much more time and interest than before to engage in deeper reflections. We have started updating a list of documentaries we published some time ago that deal with many aspects of our lives. All these documentaries are interesting material to organise community discussions around.

Watching one of the fabulous films from that list that specially focus on LGBT activism can be a great way to make your audience gain more insights into the fascinating work that your organisation does, and maybe get them hooked to become volunteers.

And you have of course a host of LGBTQI+ themed movies to choose from. Take this list of 50 as a good starting point

Reader circles

More demanding that movie circles, reader circles invite people to collectively read a book, an essay or an article and facilitate a discussion, possibly also bringing in the author or selected authoritative commentators. This is a good upgrade from online events with no preliminary reading, as in these reader circles people start with a common framing of the debate, which makes conversations more relevant.

For May 17, a reading list can be sent in advance with a list of 7 topics that will be discussed during live event on each day of the May 17 week

An interesting list of books to get started

Offline virtual protests:

  • Political art display

Creating political artwork is a great activity to do when you are stuck at home and want to express yourself.Some organisations like 350.org are engaging with their supporters and provide them with training kits for creative aRtivism. A clever way to keep people engaged and to get them to use this time of social distancing to develop new skills

When physical gatherings are not possible, it is still possible to show the power or people offline in other ways: gather photos made of individuals with signs, print them out and display en masse publicly at the specific target. Consider chalking outlines of participants.

For May 17, people can be invited to create artwork, which can be displayed either online or printed out by organisers and hung as a banner.

This can be a good opportunity to connect with a virtual political art making party. Check out this guide to making political art by 350.org

  • Projections

Guerilla projections and protest holograms require just a few people, and often require no permit! Consider projecting a live feed of comments as well.

For May 17, a hologram demonstration can be a powerful way to show that sexual and gender minorities are respecting the lockdown rules but that freedom of assembly is, in the long run, not negotiable.

More ideas on how to make this happen on our Creative Campaigning Resource Center

Taking your conference online

If you were thinking of a conference or a panel discussion to mark May 17, taking it online might provide an opportunity to change the format, as lengthy presentations are not an option for an online event. These tips for creating lively panel discussions might seem basic but make sure you tick all the boxes.

Facilitation of the interaction with the audience will be all the more difficult online but here are some useful tips on how to make it happen.

Release your advocacy reports and research

Every year, many organisations choose May 17 to release annual reports on the situation of LGBTQI++ people, or other pieces of research and advocacy papers. This year, it might make sense to publish specific pieces of research on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the community. This report from Egale Canada provides inspiration for this.

Personal connections

Helping people connect to each other, not necessarily (only) to your organisation, is a powerful objective, and not necessarily easy. But some initiatives provide great inspiration for this. On Amnesty’s model of writing personal letters or postcards, May 17 can be a good moment to launch a virtual postcard campaign, inviting audiences to connect with people from around the world. The COVID-19 crisis can potentially be a powerful frame to connect people over. And this article provides advice on how to run such a letter-writing campaign

The global LGBTQI+ federation ILGA has just launched this type of campaign

This initiative from a former Trans inmate is also a powerful example, as is the Rainbow Cards  campaign, which also provides inspiration

Sometimes the challenge can be how to deliver the messages to people in isolation, more than to actually get the messages written. In which case it makes sense to team up with LGBTQI+ organisations on various continents, which can also provide a great way to educate your supporters about the diversity of gender expressions and sexualities. The initiative can also be directed at specific minority groups in the country/area you are in, for example migrants/refugees. In that case it is important to team up with an organisation that works with them and channel the support messages through them. The organisation Freedom from Torture for example channelled the messages of support to migrants that their supporters wrote through the psychological support services these people accessed.


Inviting for contributions from you audience in order to create an original piece of work is a good way to build a sense of community

This lip-sync video on Lili Allen’s pop hit “fuck you very much” is a very old example of this tactic, but we still like it 🙂

Living Libraries

For May 17, you can invite audiences to dialogue directly with specific people. This can specifically draw users from “neighbouring” communities who are curious, but not yet supportive. Organisers obviously have to publish a very specific code of conduct (what questions/language are appropriate, protection of data, etc.) and make sure it is complied with.

Selfie contests

Arguably, selfie contests have been around for many years and campaigners had better find creative angles in order to make this kind of action still appealing but there are now a lot of special apps that can bring new momentum to this. Check some out here.

Here is an article with some ideas around this.

(Re-)Launch a survey

Many people are likely to still be under lockdown by May 17, unfortunately. So with more time on their hands, they might be more likely to respond to that survey you wanted to do, or on which you got too little feedback. A good moment to reiterate.

More resources

There is a lot of thinking and innovation taking place at the moment on how to react to the COVID-19 crisis. We are building the list below as we go. Please send us your suggestions on the collective working document

Digital Charity Lab: Digital projects for non-profits during the Coronavirus crisis

More Onion: Digital Engagement during COVID-19 crisis Webinar