Does Awareness Lead to Action?

I’ve been involved for years in various public outreach campaigns and “awareness weeks”.

I’ve also been on the other end of the messaging. Anytime the sun is out and I’m walking from IKB to Koerner, I’m being “made aware” and engaged by Greenpeace, Amnesty, Red Cross, World Vision, and the list goes on. The front doors to the SUB are also usually occupied by student groups, health advocates, and charitable causes.

All of this makes me wonder: how can organizations be truly effective at creating the change they desire? How much of that awareness is actually leading to a change in perceptions, in attitudes, and in behaviours, and how can it become even more effective? I feel that Terry readers in general are pretty globally conscious and engaged, and have vast experiences in trying to change the world around them.

What do you think? How can awareness be more than just making someone aware?

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3 Responses to “Does Awareness Lead to Action?”

  1. ShawnForde

    Hi Florin,

    I think you raise a good issue. I think it is incredibly relevant now that social networking has exploded so much over the last few years. Through websites like you can become an activist at the click of a button. I’m not sure if it still has them, but Facebook used to have ’causes’ where you can join a cause with the click of a button. I believe that one of the founders of facebook will be launching a social networking site for people that want to change the world this fall ( It is becoming so easy for organizations and people to publicize their positions, but I wonder if it is leading to an increased amount of ‘action’.

    So, after writing all of that I have noticed that I have not come close to answering your questions and have pretty much just said the same thing you did.

  2. Florin Gheorghe

    Hey Shawn,

    It’s a tough question to answer, and I by no means have an answer. Funny you mention Jumo, I just joined it yesterday!


  3. ShawnForde

    Hi Florin,

    I’m going to try again, but this time I might actually touch on your question.

    I don’t think organizations can get hung up in converting people. If someone is indifferent then I personally do not believe there is much an organization can do.

    People have interests and beliefs that develop through family, friends, school etc. If a person’s interests happen to be compatible with an organization then that person may think about contributing to the actions of that organization.

    I think my own experience is also reflective. Growing up and through university I was never really interested in international issues. I was into sports and school and that was about it. Through work and travel experiences I became more interested in international development. Coincidentally, sport for development organizations started popping up all over the place at the same time that my interest was growing and now I find myself living and working in Lesotho on a sport-for-development project. I am not here because of any awareness campaigns, but because of my own interests.

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