Changing the World on a Shoestring Budget

Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.  ―Benjamin Franklin

Nima’s Story

Nima was 5 when she and her 3-year-old sister escaped from a life of horrific abuse at the hands of their father.  A hollow tree in the woods served as their home, until the rainy season when Nima’s sister became gravely ill. In a frantic effort to save her sister, Nima went to the market to beg for someone to help.  To Nima’s relief, her sister was taken in by a family who agreed to care for the sick child.  Nima was left on her own, and lived on the streets, until she was taken and used as a domestic slave.   Nima was beaten regularly for “poor housekeeping.”

It didn’t take long before the couple decided they could make money by selling Nima to a brothel. She was raped, abused and used daily by men.  By the time she reached the age of twelve, Nima was an alcoholic and had given birth to two children.  One fateful night, a rescue worker befriended Nima on the streets and eventually helped her escape this nightmare so Nima could receive the physical and emotional care needed to begin healing. Nima is now happily married and leads a program for other girls that have been rescued from slavery.

The number of people just like Nima who are ruthlessly enslaved around the world is heartbreaking and mind boggling.  Tragically, most of their stories do not end with freedom.  From brothels to private homes to fields and factories, more than 27 million people are living as modern day slaves with little hope of rescue:

A Wake Up Call

I sat dumbfounded hearing this story.  Awareness has a strange way of doing that to a person – a lightbulb turns on and you think “How did I not know this before?”  It felt like somewhere in the back of my mind I had heard something about this somewhere, but it hadn’t cut through the clutter and planted itself firmly in my reality.  Until now.  Sitting with my daughter at a Conference for 18-25 year old students my eyes were opened to a reality that I could not just walk away from. I was now responsible for the knowledge I had gained. The 60,000 attendees were challenged to take up the cause of justice and determine to end the scourge of slavery in their generation.  CNN covered the gathering (I’m there in the crowd somewhere – it was a powerful night!):

A Campaign and a Crusade

And so, a marketing campaign called the End It Movement was born.  It’s an awareness campaign, but isn’t that the same thing?  Trying to break through the clutter that surrounds people to get them to focus, even if it’s just for a minute, on a message.  The difference? This message, if successful in raising awareness to a level that cuts through the noise and compels people to focus has the potential to truly change the world.

The campaign tactics of the End It Movement are very similar to other mainstream marketing strategies.  Take for example the launch – creating buzz from a live venue in the hope that the momentum creates a viral wave.  This is Apple’s preferred method of product launch. Another similarity to the Apple strategy is the fact that all branding elements drive the interested party to the End it Movement website, which serves as the hub of information. It is here one can find videos, link directly to organizations fighting to end modern slavery, and be launched to the presence of the movement on the internet via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The branding elements are simple, and are used consistently throughout all touch points.  Where this campaign diverges from larger marketing endeavors is budget. The group has no corporate headquarters, no multi-million dollar budget.  Media buy consists of one full-page ad in USA Today donated to the group. A college tour has launched to continue to raise the awareness level on campuses across the country. The goal of the movement’s organizers is clear – create maximum impact for minimal investment.  They long to make the cause of freedom viral.

It’s a noble mission. So, my question is: Will it work?  Is it possible to launch a campaign that can radically change the world for 27 million people on a shoestring budget? What are your thoughts?

Thank you for taking the time to engage in the cause of justice.

End It Logo

Kellie Clinebell

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6 Responses to Changing the World on a Shoestring Budget

  1. kull says:

    Kellie,
    Thank you very much for your post. I was completely unaware of the fact that there are more slaves in the world today than in any other point in history. I’m going to visit the website and share information via my social media channels.

    I have a question. Since there’s no headquarters to the charity, it makes it feel less “solid” to me. I want to be sure my donation is really helping people. What communications methods does the charity use to convey that this is a safe and effective place to send money?

    Amy Kull

    • clinebel says:

      Hi, Amy –

      That’s a great question. The End it Movement actually serves as a hub for many of the excellent organizations that are on the front lines battling this horrible reality. If you go to the site there is a list of those organizations with information and links to each one. That way you can know exactly where any donation would be going and what group it would be used for.

      At the event in January attendees could donate, and it was handled the same way. The donation went toward whichever justice organization you chose. I’m sure some people donate directly to End It, and those funds would be used to raise awareness as there is little to no overhead for the movement.

      Spreading the word is a powerful thing!

      Thanks!
      Kellie

  2. lavenia says:

    Hi Kellie,

    What a powerful post. The way they have coordinated End It as a grassroots movement means it can create ambassadors who will spread the word. It is daunting to know that slavery exists in US to such a large extent and we are otherwise clueless. If the organization can stay transparent and create solid partnerships to spread their message they can be successful. I think the shock of the story you shared will help separate it from the clutter. But they must be consistent in messaging and outreach.
    Thanks for sharing.

    ~LaVenia
    CMGT541 (A)

  3. lynnhoff17 says:

    Kellie:

    This is really powerful, and shows what a complete and total game changer social media can be. I mentioned in my assessment of The Image for 502 that social media would have blown Boulding’s mind in terms of its immediacy and reach; setting aside for a moment the funny image of Abraham Lincoln on an iPhone, can you imagine his reaction to today’s anti-slavery movement?

    In answer to your question as to whether it will work, that may depend on how you define “work.” Is the End It movement going to get the job done by itself, and right away? Probably not. But it’s another log–an important one–on the fire of ever building awareness that will culminate in the elimination of human trafficking.

    Lynn

  4. aflores says:

    Kellie,
    Thanks for sharing this powerful story. A grassroots movement aided by social media can really make a difference in this campaign. Awareness if the first step and your post is certainly making us aware and can lead to action.

    Adriana

  5. clionberger says:

    In today’s social media world, we can do an incredible amount on a shoestring budget. I do it every day. There are so many campaigns I do for a K-12 school system that have absolutely no budget.

    So can it happen? It already has. You’ve written a blog post about it and now I’m commenting. That’s two more people aware of this movement. As Lynn noted, these are all just twigs helping to fuel the fire. With some luck and continued pressure, those who continue to use slavery will change and end a horrific practice.

    — Chuck