Engaging people in sustainability remains one of the cause’s biggest challenges – ensuring their behavior reflects their engagement is another. A number of studies have been devoted to bridging the gap between people’s attitudes and their actions, and it remains a conundrum for many organizations on a mission to promote positive behavior.
Luckily, tools such as myActions are helping companies not only engage certain groups on the merit of more conscious behaviors but motivate them to follow through.
myActions builds and designs online communities and social tools that track the digital sharing of real-world actions. For every action taken, a donation is made to the cause of the user's choice. The company partners with organizations from municipalities (Ohio Valley) to nonprofits (Net Impact) to brands (EKOCYCLE) that provide the greatest opportunity for impact through their networks.
For instance, in partnership with zoos, city government and regional business across the Ohio Valley and sponsored by Johnson & Johnson’s Care to Recycle initiative, the platform is driving a challenge to inspire one million “green” shared actions by Earth Day in April (with over 250,000 achieved since the challenge began six months ago). Net Impact’s most recent Small Steps, Big Wins Campus Challenge — launched in September — which empowers undergraduate leaders who care about sustainability to take action, utilized myActions’ platform for the first time this year.
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"myActions brought us expertise and best practices developed to increase millennial engagement across both digital and real-world experiences,” said Net Impact CEO Liz Maw. “Our Small Steps Big Wins Challenge leverages their platform, engagement methodology and real-time insights, most recently driving a 300 percent increase in program performance." According to myActions, the Small Steps Challenge has inspired 67,000 shared actions in less than four months.
myActions is quickly picking up steam, with two high-profile initiatives launched in the last week alone. On March 6, animal conservationist Bindi Irwin — daughter of the late Steve Irwin, aka “The Crocodile Hunter” — announced a new parternship with SeaWorld Kids aimed at inspiring the more than 74 million kids, tweens and teens in the US and change the way they understand and prioritize conservation.
Irwin, 15, is the new youth ambassador for SeaWorld Kids’ new Generation Nature™ (GenN), a multimedia engagement platform where kids can participate in environmentally responsible activities and monthly conservation challenges, learn and share their actions. The platform includes a website, apps, video blogs, games and activities that highlight a new animal each month. Kids and their families are issued a monthly conservation challenge and can log their actions online to earn badges and points — for each point earned, SeaWorld gives to the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, and kids can choose which programs that money supports.
“Millennials and kids are social natives,” said Bridget Croke, VP of Business Development at myActions. “Providing them an environment to share their impact socially, view the actions of their peers, and get recognized for it, drives more real-world action and creates new environmental norms.”
And just this week, EKOCYCLE and Global Citizen launched #ADayWithoutWaste, a recycling awareness campaign that aims to inspire and educate people to understand how individual actions can amount to change. Users can register at ADayWithoutWaste.org and make a one-day commitment to zero waste, and share and measure the impact of their actions on the myActions platform.
Through their participation, users can enter for the chance to win free concert tickets through the Global Citizen Tickets Initiative and the Global Citizen Nights concert series. EKOCYCLE and Global Citizen hope to inspire 150,000 actions from participants around the world beginning today through Earth Day, April 22.
"Inviting every citizen to support sustainability is powerful and #ADayWithoutWaste will encourage everyone to take a closer look at how lifestyle choices can help achieve the mission of a world with zero waste," said recording artist and EKOCYCLE spokesperson will.i.am. "Each of us has the power to make better choices every day. EKOCYCLE is proud to team with Global Citizen to encourage every person to make more sustainable choices, including seeking out and using products that contain recycled materials."
“Across our audiences, we find that teens and millennials share the highest barrier actions, like volunteering, in addition to daily environmental behaviors at home and in the world. Further, they are sharing images of those actions, often with friends,” Croke said. “With debate around clictivism, our members are proving that online action is evidence of offline participation and peer motivation.”