McKinsey & Company

McKinsey on Society


Voices The Rise of Social Movements

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Borderline Activists feel the need to give back and are eager to engage when there is a clear and precise call to action. They will engage in causes regardless of geography, and will often get involved in large-scale issues that are impacting people on the other side of the planet, including responding to major disasters. That said, Borderline Activists will spring fastest to action when an issue has had a direct impact on their life—either on them personally or on family and friends.

Borderline Activists prefer not to lead on an issue, and instead support causes that are led by other people with deep expertise in the issue at hand. While it’s important to have a sense of helping others, they don’t have the time or appetite to delve deeply into the nitty-gritty of an issue, and believe that experienced organizations know how best how to serve and can find the most effective ways to put them to work.

They tend to get involved by responding to web, email, and live interactions, and prefer low-key gestures of support – changing their own behavior, advocating from home, and following others who initiate. They are commonly found giving cash donations, signing petitions, or switching their purchasing habits by buying certified, ethical products.

If you are a borderline activist, here are some ways to get involved:

Charity Navigator
Charity Navigator helps donors make intelligent giving decisions by providing information on thousands of charities and by evaluating the rating the Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency these charities.

Crowdrise is an innovative, crowd-sourced community of volunteers and online fundraisers that are coming together to answer the call to service, create online fundraising projects for charity, and have the most fun in the world while doing it.

Kickstarter showcases independently crafted projects that are put to all-or-nothing funding, and supported by friends, fans, and the public in return for rewards.

Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to people on five continents who don’t have access to traditional banking systems. 100% of every dollar goes directly towards funding loans that help create opportunity around the world.

American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to disaster victims; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families.

This interactive has been adapted from McKinsey's 2009 research on public engagement. To read the report, click here.

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