02 — We will win in the attention economy.
We will acknowledge that today’s most scarce commodity is attention, and that the enemies of attention are distraction, misinformation, and information overload. We commit to learning how to leverage the vast opportunities the attention economy offers to create transformational change.
As information and knowledge sharing have become democratized in the information era, a new form of scarcity has emerged: attention. Our always connected, constantly interrupted, ever more mobile and convenient digital lives allow us access to more opportunities for information, entertainment, social connection, and digital transactions of all shapes and sizes.
As a social impact leader, this means you have a signal-to-noise problem. How can you boost your signal, cut through the noise, and resonate with your audience?
First, you must understand that you are not competing with other social causes (at least not primarily). You are competing with Netflix. You are competing with Instagram. You are competing with Twitter. How does your brand and digital footprint stack up against the competition?
Is your social impact story and message engaging, emotional, compelling, timely, interactive, and clear? Are you building an audience of loyal supporters who are willing to donate, volunteer, advocate, spread the word, and take action?
Boosting your signal and cutting through the noise is no small feat. And there’s no silver bullet to ensure a successful outcome. It starts by understanding how the game of the attention economy is played and developing a strategy to win. The philosophies and strategies laid out in this manifesto point to a different mindset for running a modern social impact organization. Once followed, you will have the knowledge and tools in place to create a signal worth tuning in to.
The pre-information-era charity doesn’t understand or accept that they are playing in the attention economy — whether they want to or not. The future-thinking social impact leader understands that half the battle is capturing and sustaining attention in our complex, global culture and acts accordingly.