2012 SCIRAt Walden University, we believe knowledge is most valuable when put to use for the greater good. As part of our efforts to lead and contribute to social change in the U.S. and around the world, we are pleased to release our 2012 Social Change Impact Report.

Now in its second year, the annual report, based on a survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Walden University, provides a diverse global perspective on why adults engage in social change and the roles individuals, nonprofit organizations, government, and the media play in facilitating it.

Key findings from the 2012 Social Change Impact Report include:

  • Global economic conditions impact how adults get involved in positive social change.
  • Individual adults are the driving force behind social change engagement.
  • Adults are more likely to join digital social change conversations than to initiate them.

Effecting positive social change is at the heart of our mission and has been since our founding in 1970. Our hope is that the Social Change Impact Report will spur local, national, and global discussions about the advancement of social change among business and government leaders, educators, healthcare workers, nonprofit organization employees, and those who simply care about making a difference.

The survey results are now available in the second annual Social Change Impact Report.

View the 2011 Report to access findings from the 2011 Social Change Impact Report.

  • FAST FACT

    While donating money, goods or services is the top way adults have gotten involved in social change in the past six months (50%, on average), donating money is also where adults are most likely to cut back when economic conditions are bad (37%, on average).

  • FAST FACT

    In seven of the eight countries surveyed, nonprofits are among the top two ways adults are most likely to get involved in social change.

    Jordan is the exception, where getting involved as an individual or through a religious institution ranks higher.

  • FAST FACT

    83% of American adults who have a graduate degree or college degree are more likely to say that positive social change is important to them personally (vs. 70% of those with a high school degree or less).

  • Cover of the 2011 Social Change Impact Report

    View the 2011 Report

    Access findings from the 2011 Social Change Impact Report.

  • Media Contacts

    For more information, please contact:

    Tamara Chumley
    1-443-627-7495
    tamara.chumley@waldenu.edu

    Jerry Sweitzer
    1-410-843-6576
    jerry.sweitzer@waldenu.edu

    Jen Raider
    1-443-627-7452
    jen.raider@waldenu.edu

  • Survey Findings

  • Resources for Media

  • News Release

  • In the News

The 2012 Social Change Impact Report is the second in an annual series, which was designed to provide a barometer of who is engaged in social change, what is important to them and how they work together to advance social change issues of interest now and in the future. Including perspectives of more than 8,900 adults in Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Jordan, Mexico and the U.S., the 2012 Social Change Impact Report gauges their perceptions and motivations for getting involved, as well as the roles of nonprofit organizations, government and the media in social change across countries. (February–March 2012)
 
2012 Social Change Impact Report (PDF)
Executive Summary (PDF) 
Appendix (PDF)
Infographics 
News Release

For more information on the Social Change Impact Report, including the methodology and a questionnaire providing answers to each survey question, please contact Jen Raider at 1-443-627-7452 or jen.raider@waldenu.edu.

To join the conversation on Twitter, use #ImpactReport.

Involvement in Social Change

Walden Students' Perceptions About Social Change

Survey findings reveal nearly all Walden students agree it’s important to them personally to be involved in social change.

Learn More

2012 Social Change Impact Report (PDF) 
Executive Summary (PDF) 
Appendix (PDF)
Key Findings by Country  (PDF) 
Global Voices: Social Change Matters (VIDEO)

2012 SCIR video

Infographics

Image-Economic Thumbnail Global economic conditions impact how people get involved in social change.
(WEB) (PDF) (PNG) (JPEG)
Image-Nonprofit Thumbnail

Nonprofits have an important role in social change.
(WEB) (PDF) (PNG) (JPEG)

Image- Motivation thumbnail

What is the motivation behind social change?
(WEB) (PDF) (PNG) (JPEG)

Image- Social Change Engagement Thumbnail

Social change is here to stay. Social change is not a fad.
(WEB) (PDF) (PNG) (JPEG)

Image - Political Thumbnail

Social change transcends political ideology in the U.S.
(WEB) (PDF) (PNG) (JPEG)

News Release

Spokespeople

Cynthia G. Baum, Ph.D., President of Walden University
Dana Markow, Ph.D., Vice President, Youth and Education Research, Harris Interactive
Gary Kelsey, Ed.D., Faculty, School of Public Policy and Administration

Slideshare/PowerPoint

(PDF)

Cynthia G. Baum, Ph.D., President, Walden University
Cynthia BaumCynthia G. Baum, Ph.D., president of Walden University, is committed to finding new ways to fulfill Walden’s social change mission and to support student success. Dr. Baum assumed her position after serving as vice president of the College of Health Sciences and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and, most recently, as executive vice president of Walden. With more than 20 years of leadership experience in postsecondary education, Dr. Baum has previously served as a campus president and regional vice president for a number of institutions. In addition, she previously held full-time faculty appointments with Virginia Tech and The Catholic University of America. Dr. Baum is also a clinical psychologist, and prior to her higher education experience, she worked in the nonprofit sector as assistant executive director for education at the American Psychological Association (APA). Dr. Baum holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Georgia. Her honors include a Presidential Citation from the APA, the Advocacy Award from the Association for the Advancement of Psychology, and recognitions from STP and the Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools. Dr. Baum holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Georgia. (Read more.)

Dana Markow, Ph.D., Vice President, Youth and Education Research, Harris Interactive
Dana MarkowDana Markow has worked for Harris Interactive for 14 years. She has considerable experience working on survey research projects for academia, foundations, and corporations. For these different entities, she has conducted studies related to multiple issues surrounding youth and education. With regard to research with children, these studies include children's media use, the impact of work on parenting and family life and children’s school experiences. Also, she has done work on college students’ consumer behavior for Alloy Media + Marketing and on work and family life for the Center for Work-Life Policy and the Families and Work Institute. In addition, she has also conducted custom research among other key youth audiences such as educators and parents. One of the major projects she has worked on for the past 13 years is the annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher which examines different issues on public education and incorporates the perspectives of parents, students, teachers and other education professionals. Dr. Markow also is a regular speaker on education and youth issues. She earned her Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania.

Gary Kelsey, Ed.D., Faculty, School of Public Policy and Administration
Gary KelseyDr. Gary Kelsey has more than 35 years of experience in the development and leadership of organizations in the nonprofit, government and education sectors. He joined Walden University in 1996 and specializes in areas such as nonprofit organizational behavior, program development, board development, strategic planning and fundraising. As principal consultant of Gary Kelsey and Associates for the past 20 years, Dr. Kelsey has assisted and provided training for more than 250 nonprofit, philanthropic, education and government organizations. He has also held staff positions as a community organizer, program director, grants manager, administrator, senior planner and executive director for both nonprofit and government organizations. Dr. Kelsey’s research interests include nonprofit leadership, fundraising, board governance, organization planning and organizational behavior. He can speak to how nonprofit organizations can use the 2012 Social Change Impact Report in their strategic planning as part of their nonprofit environmental scanning and SWOT analysis as well as how it relates to the ongoing discussion of social change, charity and service. In addition, Dr. Kelsey can comment on how nonprofit organizations are using social media to further their message. (Read more)

FAST FACT

More than half of adults agree that the media in their country are not neutral and impartial on social change issues (57%, on average). This sentiment is strongest in the U.S. (71%), Canada (65%), Mexico (64%), and Germany (64%), as well as among adults ages 41 and older in the U.S., Germany, Canada, and Jordan.

New Survey Finds Global Economic Conditions Impact Positive Social Change

Nonprofits and individuals have roles in the future of social change

Minneapolis—July 10, 2012—Results from Walden University’s 2012 Social Change Impact Report show that two-thirds of adults across the globe (65%, on average) agree that when economic conditions are bad, it is more important to be involved in social change than when economic conditions are good. However, many say their actions do not change in a bad economy, and in fact, only 20% of adults, on average, say they’re more likely to donate money to a cause or an organization when economic conditions are bad.
 
This is one of many findings in the 2012 Social Change Impact Report about the current state of social change around the world. Commissioned by Walden University and conducted online by Harris Interactive in February–March 2012, the second annual survey includes perspectives of more than 8,900 adults in Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Jordan, Mexico and the U.S., and gauges their perceptions and motivations for getting involved, as well as the roles of nonprofit organizations, government and the media in social change across countries.

“Our initial survey last year underscored the undeniable power of social change in action from individuals and organizations who worked together to improve the world around them,” said Dr. Cynthia Baum, president of Walden University. “The 2012 survey’s findings emphasize how factors such as the state of the economy can influence social change attitudes and behaviors, especially at a time when the need is so great. As social movements continue to ignite people’s passions and fuel communities around the world, it will be important to continue to assess the impact at the level of the individual.”

Economy Causes Individual Behaviors to Shift
According to the 2012 Social Change Impact Report, adults in the U.S., Canada and Germany indicated that they are least likely to change their actions as a result of bad economic conditions, while those in Jordan and India are most likely to shift their behaviors under these conditions. While donating money, goods or services is the top way adults have gotten involved in social change in the past six months (50%, on average), donating money is also where adults are most likely to cut back when economic conditions are bad (37%, on average). Instead, adults are more likely to increase their participation in volunteer work or service (29%, on average) and in using social networking sites (28%, on average) to engage in social change.

Nonprofits and Individuals Drive Social Change
The survey also found that nonprofit organizations and individuals both have important roles in the future of social change. In seven of the eight countries surveyed, nonprofits are among the top two ways adults are most likely to get involved in social change. Jordan is the exception, where getting involved as an individual or through a religious institution ranks higher.

Despite the fact that many adults around the world see the value in nonprofits and that a majority get involved through organizations, institutions or companies (60%, on average), a majority still believe the most important agents of social change are “individual people acting on their own, not organizations or companies” (59% agree, on average). Adults in Canada (27%), India (23%), the U.S. (22%) and Jordan (19%) are most likely to get involved as individuals. In addition, adults most commonly believe that nonprofits “make it easy for people to get involved” (48%, on average) but also that “too much of their budgets goes to overhead costs while not enough goes to providing services or making change happen” (36%, on average).

Social Media for Social Change
Around the world, a majority of adults agree they can make the world a better place with their actions (80%). Nearly half have engaged in social change through digital technology (48%, on average), with China leading the way with the highest use of digital technology (72%) in the past six months, followed by India (58%), Brazil (58%), Mexico (57%) and Jordan (56%). In addition, more people say they are more likely to join a digital social change conversation during the next six months than start one. More than two-thirds of adults (69%, on average) say they will likely post or comment on a social network site, participate in an online chat or sign a petition, while about half of adults (53%, on average) say they will text messages, upload videos, blog or start an online petition about a cause or issue.

When asked about traditional media, the report found that adults around the world perceive bias in their national media on social change issues. More than half of adults agree that the media in their country are not neutral and impartial on social change issues (57%, on average). This sentiment is strongest in the U.S. (71%), Canada (65%), Mexico (64%) and Germany (64%), as well as among adults ages 41 and older in the U.S., Germany, Canada and Jordan.

As found in the 2011 Social Change Impact Report, the importance of social change remains high. More than eight in 10 adults in 2012 (84%, on average) say involvement in positive social change is important to them personally, and most adults (85%, on average) have engaged in social change in the past six months. However, reasons to get involved vary from country to country. For example, adults in the U.S. and Canada are most likely to say being involved is important because they want to help those less fortunate than themselves (64% each), while those from Brazil and India say social change is important because it makes them feel good (70% and 72%, respectively).

For more detailed findings from Walden’s Social Change Impact Report, visit www.WaldenU.edu/impactreport

About the Study
Walden University commissioned this survey to discover the current state of social change in America and around the world. The 2012 Social Change Impact Report is the second in an annual series, which was designed to provide a barometer of who is engaged in social change, what is important to them and how they work together to advance social change issues of interest now and in the future. Walden’s Social Change Impact Report includes attitudes, behaviors and motivations from Americans as well as members of the international community.

The 2012 Social Change Impact Report was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Walden University between February 27 and March 7, 2012, among a total of 8,953 adults within Brazil (1,025 adults ages 18–59), Canada (1,034 adults ages 18 and older), China (1,024 adults ages 18–60), Germany (1,004 adults ages 16 and older), India (1,023 adults ages 18–64), Jordan (612 adults ages 18 and older), Mexico (1,020 adults ages 18–64) and the U.S. (2,211 adults ages 18 and older). Data for each country were weighted to the general or online population within each country. The “Average Result” is the arithmetic average across all eight countries. This measure does not account for differences in population size and thus is not representative. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. A complete survey methodology is available upon request by contacting Jen Raider at 1-443-627-7452 or jen.raider@waldenu.edu.

About Walden University
For more than 40 years, Walden University has supported working professionals in achieving their academic goals and making a greater impact in their professions and their communities. Today, more than 48,500 students from all 50 states and more than 140 countries are pursuing their bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees online at Walden. The university provides students with an engaging educational experience that connects them with expert faculty and peers around the world. Walden is the flagship online university in the Laureate International Universities network—a global network of more than 60 campus-based and online universities in 29 countries.

Walden offers more than 65 degree programs with more than 330 specializations and concentrations. Areas of study include health sciences, counseling, human services, management, psychology, education, public health, nursing, public administration and information technology. For more information, visit http://www.waldenu.edu/.

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us—and our clients—stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

See all news related to Walden University’s Social Change Impact Report. Read more.

FAST FACT

37% of adults on average state education is the most important issue for positive social change to address. Education is seen as the pathway for individuals to engage in positive social change as well as an important outcome of social change—now and in the future.

News Releases

Social Change Impact Report in the News

To join the conversation on Twitter, follow #ImpactReport.

FAST FACT

Nearly half of adults have engaged in social change through digital technology (48%, on average), with China leading the way with the highest use of digital technology (72%) in the past six months, followed by India (58%), Brazil (58%), Mexico (57%), and Jordan (56%).