Case Studies

Beyond traditional means of social media like Facebook or Twitter, non-profit organizations are using social media in innovative ways. The following case study examples and resources may provide ideas for your own organization’s advocacy work.

  • Which social media monitoring tool is right for you? “A good social media monitoring and analysis tool is an essential part of any social media strategy – but what is a ‘good’ tool for you and your organization?” Trilateral Research & Consulting provides a Comparative Review of Social Media Analysis Tools for Preparedness outlining pros and cons of various tools.
  • What is the digital, social, and mobile usage in your country or region? We Are Social released its Digital in 2016 report, which includes digital data and social stats around the globe, 30 in-depth studies of the world’s key economies, a 2016 Digital Yearbook, and analysis of key trends beyond this year’s report.
  • What is the best time to post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? 
  • Basics that every campaign should consider: 1. campaign strategy, 2. access information, 3. think creatively, 4. online & mobile, security & privacy, 5. campaign analytics
  • Tactical Technology Collective gives 10 Tactics for turning information into action with a documentary film filled with tips, tools, and advice for original and artful ways for rights advocates to capture attention and communicate a cause. A few case examples highlighted in the film include:
    • Bring them to action – mobilize people: Video Volunteers, a group of citizen journalists in India, made a video on land rights in Gujarat, India, that was screened in 25 nearby villages, influencing 700 people to rally and file complaints with the local government to have land fairly distributed to them. Tools used included digital video cameras, editing software, YouTube, widescreen projectors, and VCD/DVDs for video screenings in villages.
    • Someone is watching – witness and record: The Saffron Revolution,  a group of bloggers and advocates in Burma, used blogs to get around the military junta’s censorship of news from Burma, and to spread the word about human rights abuses. In Burma, bloggers and rights advocates faced significant risks in coming forward with their testimonies and evidence. Bloggers disseminated news about two critical events by circulating photos taken with cheap digital and mobile phone cameras: citizen protests against the abrupt end of fuel subsidies, and the resulting increase in military violence against citizens. Blogs, news reports, digital cameras, mobile phones, and photography were used to spread reports about what was happening from Burma to the rest of the world.
    • Picture it – visualize your message: When the Tunisian government blocked video sharing websites like YouTube and Dailymotion to prevent people from seeing video testimonies from people who implicated the government in human rights abuses, Tunisian advocates with responded with an interactive Google Earth mashup, plotting human rights videos on a 3D map in the same location as the Presidential Palace. This allowed people to still see the videos even though direct access to YouTube had been denied.
    • No one is listening – amplify personal stories: Ajedi-Ka PES/Child Soldier Project and WITNESS used video cameras, digital video editing software, and a website to create and promote a documentary film representing the personal stories of child soldiers. Following the release of the video, the international criminal court brought charges against those in the Congolese military who had enlisted child soldiers.
    • Understand your connections – manage your contacts: CiviCRM is a free and open source software tool good for organizing and mobilizing your cotnacts. It can send and track responses from bulk e-mails and be used to help plan events and fundraise. Like an address book, CiviCRM organizes constituents’ contact information in a database, but it also tracks interactions with people including emails sent, responded to, or live events attended.
    • Make it simple – how to use complex data: Advocates and technologists working with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum collaborated using Google Earth, data from the United Nations and Amnesty International, photos, videos, and a website to create a complex 3D map to display damage to over 2000 villages from the crisis in Darfur. The map shows the location of 2.5 million internally displaced persons and refugees with open access to a collection of photos, videos, and testimonies.
    • Report it live – use collective intelligence: Citizens of Madagascar sent SMS messages to Foko about reports of violence by the military and police during demonstrations against a takeover of the government. Together using IntelliSMS, FrontlineSMS, Ushahidi, Twitter, mobile phones, and blogs, these reports were published on an online map with a team of local bloggers checking for accuracy.
    • Technology that listens – let people ask the questionsFreedom Fone, an open source software platform to promote the use of interactive voice response (IVR) by community and development oriented organizations, is part of Kubatana, a media and communication project that aggregates, amplifies, and disseminates information generated by the civil society sector in Zimbabwe.



  • Special data gathering and analysis techniques may be needed to understand the conditions of extremely disadvantaged, hidden, and marginal populations that often are not reliably reached via standard research and sampling techniques. See UNICEF’s Advocacy Toolkit.