Spark Change Podcast Episode 13: Online Advocacy Year in Review

Watch on

Written by Denise Miller, Firesteel Advocacy Coordinator

We’re in the second half of December — that time when everyone is reflecting on the year. So Erin and I thought we’d take a few minutes to talk about some of the most interesting and moving online advocacy campaigns of 2014.

Ice Bucket Challenge

Over the summer, it felt like everyone and their mother did the Ice Bucket Challenge. Even Kermit got in on it:

The campaign that took over our Facebook feeds for a few weeks has raised $115 million in donations for the ALS Association since July 29. It also stirred up controversy, with critics calling out the campaign for wasting water during a drought and promoting “slacktivism.”

Pass the Peace

We cheered when Seattle’s hometown hero, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson launched a campaign in October to build awareness about domestic abuse and raise money for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

People are still engaging with the #wnypassthepeace hashtag, but there have been no updates on the campaign’s social media accounts since October. We’d love to know how much money they’ve raised, and if they have any plans for next steps.


In October, a nonprofit focused on ending street harassment posted a video in which a woman is repeatedly catcalled while walking silently around the streets of New York. The video went viral and sparked conversations about whether unsolicited greetings are acts of kindnesses or harassment. People took to Twitter to share stories and thoughts using the #notjusthello and #thatswhathesaid hashtags.

In early November, Week in Blackness CEO Elon James White started the #dudesgreetingdudes hashtag, which points out the hypocrisy of men who say they’re just being friendly when they greet or compliment women they don’t know. What would happen if guys approached each other in the same way? #Dudesgreetingdudes playfully looks at that question.


Shirin Barghi designed a series of simple images featuring the last words of black men who were killed by police in the United States. “I created these images to raise awareness about racist police violence in America and as an expression of solidarity,” she tweeted. “I experienced police brutality in my native Iran, and the struggle here to confront that violence resonated with me.”

Here are a few moving examples:


#RareBrief1Time is a fledgling hashtag that’s starting to spread in our own advocacy community. It describes our goal for “ending” family homelessness. We may not be be able to prevent all experiences of homelessness, but we can ensure that they are rare, brief, and not repeated. We hope this hashtag catches on!

We want to hear from you

Which online advocacy campaigns stood out to you this year? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

At Firesteel, we test a lot of new media tools as we advocate for an end to homelessness. The purpose of the Spark Change Podcast is to share what we’ve learned, and to help other advocates use these tools. Please let us know what you think of Spark Change so far! Your feedback will help shape future episodes.

Subscribe to Spark Change on iTunes and never miss an episode!

Get the Firesteel Blog in Your Inbox