How to attract and share with a crowd

Using Ushahidi is a collaborate experience. Successful Ushahidi implementations engage hundreds of participants and attract a wide audience through outreach and publicity. When thinking about how to promote your map project, consider a strategy that meets and invites your audience.

Some ways to do that: build an online presence, participation in live events (Google Hangouts), community meetings and word-of-mouth. Of course, you can also consider: articles in print/blogs, newspaper ads, radio and television appearances,

We offer some ideas below, but your actual tactics will depend on your budget, location and the nature of your campaign. Be creative!

Build your community

Use online networking tools, including Twitter, Facebook, Google + and/or a blog that tells the story behind your organization and your campaign as it evolves. Use photos and video if you have the tools and skills. Seek out common friends to your cause who can amplify or follow your updates. You may also use internet and mobile advertising and, for developing countries in Sub Saharan Africa, considering paying for ad time on 'please call me' messages by mobile phone companies.

See some of the Community building examples from: Uchaguzi - Kenyan Elections 2013 (community meetings, Uchaguzi Community Working Groups and Uchaguzi Digital Teams

Seek Partners

Seek out partnerships and build relationships in your community and beyond. Word of mouth is free and delivers a dedicated core group of supporters and fans who share a commitment to your cause. Explore overlapping spheres of community and find out how your project is relevant to others, perhaps local artists or musicians.

Be Creative

Design an eye-catching flyer that complements the graphics and theme of your Ushahidi instance. Hand out at live events and local gathering spots.

Reach out to the Media

Create a captivating press release that clearly describes what your campaign is about and what impact it will have. Include quotes and/or contacts for interviews. Do your homework to find contacts for local print, radio and television media including personalities who are known to support your cause. Budget permitting, you may also purchase strategically placed newspaper and radio advertisements.

Mobile first

You may also want to use a mobile shortcode that is easy to remember and/or to allow people to send SMS free of charge. (Note that costs may be involved.)

Call to action

Get more people to participate rather than only observe!

  1. Give clear instructions on what information to submit and how.
  2. Make sure to give confirmations when reports are received (via email or SMS).
  3. Establish an immediate application for your data at the conclusion of your campaign.
  4. Followup with your Community

If they see that there is a measurable result, they are more likely to contribute their time and effort.


  • Why should someone submit information?
  • What is in it for them?
  • Are people able to subscribe to alerts?
  • Is this clearly communicated?
  • Can you create a tangible incentive?
  • An example might be a reward of mobile minutes or SMS credit for one lucky participant each day of your campaign.