United We Stand

We were so excited about the success of the March For Our Lives campaign that it took us a while to realize that something even more profound has occurred on Betterplace. Citizens using the app to take action on gun violence went on to take action on climate change. On protecting immigrants. On fighting homelessness. All in all, nine different causes benefited from the upsurge in activism by the high school students of Spokane.

Why does this matter? There are an overwhelming number of causes out there for citizens looking to help make their world a better place. Most are vying hard for attention and membership, and trying to distinguish themselves from other causes in order to garner maximum support, thus creating a competitive and divisive environment. This divisiveness is counterproductive, and isolates rather than consolidates efforts towards change.

We built Betterplace as a platform that exposes citizens to a wide variety of organizations on a wide variety of causes. What’s more, Betterplace does this in an organic, harmonious, and collaborative rather than competitive way. Inherent in the design of Betterplace is functionality that enables a user to select actions they’d like to undertake from a range of organizations in an open forum. A user’s energy is channelled directly toward performing tasks that align with their abilities, preferences, and individual circumstances.

The recent March For Our Lives organized by students in Spokane using Betterplace provided some great insight into just how much citizens want to help various causes. With no direct messaging or prompting, an impressive number of individuals who originally registered for the March For Our Lives campaign went on to undertake actions from organizations such 350, or the Muslim Association of Puget Sound, or the Tenants Union. Almost 15% of all actions taken were related to these other causes.

Betterplace has cross-pollinated social capital from one cause to many others. We have witnessed the emergence of a new and much more collaborative method for grassroots to organize. If one march organized using Betterplace can accomplish so much, not just for its own cause but also for others, the sky really is the limit.

Ben Rowswell