KONY 2012 is a half-hour documentary, backed by Invisible Children, that’s tapping into the power of viral to reach a global audience. It’s about Joseph Kony—a warlord in Uganda responsible for the enslavement of more than 30,000 children.
Since posting last week, the video has been viewed more than 70 million times–an astonishing number considering it is almost 30in length.
However, with all that visibility comes the inevitable criticism of Invisible Children. As with any movement, there are lessons to be learned (e.g., cause, youth engagement, awareness, social , ethical fundraising, etc.).
We’ve asked our authors to weigh in on the subject… we think you’ll be eager to hear what your peers are saying—and perhaps continue the conversation both here and elsewhere.
“The transformative power of social technology proves there is no jungle dense enough to hide evil from those who wish to stop it. Whether used to fight horrendous atrocities or spark inspiring movements, social
Chad Norman, author of 101 Social Tactics for Nonprofits
“The recent criticism of Invisible Children is a good reminder for all charities to have complete transparency with their donors, including
Rachel Armbruster, author of Banding Together for a Cause
“The power of the Internet is showcased by efforts to make make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice. KONY 2012 is a film and
Ted Hart, author of Internet Management for Nonprofits
“I’ve been engaged in a conversation about this with my colleagues on my Facebook Page. Actually, I’ve worked closely with Invisible Children in the past and think that a lot of the back lash is not necessarily warranted although understandable. I’m planning on doing some blog posts on my website as well.”
Emily Davis, author of Fundraising and the Next Generation. Read more from Emily on her site.
“There are few things the establishment likes less than being told what to do. The
Jon Duschinsky, author of Philanthropy in a Flat World
“A lot of discussion around the strategy of the video and overall
Allyson Kapin, author of the forthcoming Social Change Anytime Everywhere, from her original post on Frogloop: Care2’s Nonprofit Marketing Blog
“The issue is complex. The KONY video simplified it, but left out important facts. Is that responsible social change? For responsible social change, you need transparency. As my colleague, Shonali Burke, pointed out there was a lack of it in the film. For example, it does not make the timeline/dates very clear – it mixes recent and older footage without date stamps…KD Paine and I just submitted our final manuscript for “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit” edited by the fabulous Bill Paarlberg where we devoted a chapter to the practice of transparency and learning in public and how to measure it. We looked at the dimensions of transparency which include: , , participation, and absence of secrecy and how to measure that. The last quality is relevant to this Kony Kerfuffle – absence of secrecy is when an organization doesn’t leave out important but potentially damaging (to its ) details or confuse the facts. For a nonprofit to be transparent means that it is open, accountable, and honest with its stakeholders and the public.”
Beth Kanter, author of The Networked Nonprofit and the forthcoming Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, from her original blog post on Beth’s Blog
Bill Paarlberg, editor of the forthcoming book, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, from his original blog post on The Measurement Standard
What do you think? What lessons should we learn from this? Let us know what you think in the comments.