These days it’s pretty difficult to find anybody whose life isn’t touched in some way by the Internet. Other than how widespread and accessible it is, another great thing about the Internet is how free and open it currently is – no one corporation has a stranglehold on what information you can access.
That’s largely due in part to the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality regulations, which were passed in 2015 to help keep the Internet “open” and prevent broadband companies from using the Internet for their own interests. Effectively, the FCC ruling made the Internet a public utility rather than a service than can be bought, sold, and controlled by specific companies.
However, this ruling is back on the table with the aim to abolish net neutrality and return it to its broadband status. That’s why yesterday, July 12th, was declared the “Day of Action” by numerous online services in order to raise awareness and support for maintaining net neutrality – a prime example of political activism combined with fundraising.
Companies like Reddit, Amazon, Google, Tumblr and more displayed messages and special blog posts explaining the situation and urging users to take action. Twitter created a special “spinning loading wheel” for a net neutrality hashtag. The ACLU had a GIF to demonstrate how slow the Internet could become if big companies were allowed to take over:
Petitions and forms flooded some of the Internet’s biggest websites on July 12th, all with the goal of getting people educated and involved. HubSpot also did a campaign to donate $1 for every click on the heart icon they got on this Medium post written by their CTO; the end result was $1,000 donated to both FreePress and the change.org petition to save net neutrality.
And it wasn’t just Internet-based businesses that got in on the Day of Action – among this list of participants was the American Library Association, Greenpeace, NARAL, Sonos, and many more.
Although net neutrality can be a tricky concept to grasp, many of the above websites (especially the Medium piece by HubSpot’s CTO) do a great job putting it in plain terms and relating the potential loss of net neutrality to everyday life. This is also a key to an effective fundraiser: finding a way to explain to your audience how your cause could impact their lives, and what they personally can do to help. Leveraging big-name supporters is a strong move, too!
In the meantime, the fight for net neutrality isn’t over! Keep an eye on what battleforthenet.com is up to – because a throttled Internet could have negative shockwaves for nonprofits who rely on digital platforms, as well.