Melissa B. Adams and Melissa A. Johnson explored how nonprofit organizations in the U.S. serving Hispanic and Latinx communities utilize acculturation-themed images in communication and digital advocacy. Acculturation is defined as “the process of adapting to a different culture” while retaining elements of one’s original culture (Berry, p.8, 1997).
In-depth structured interviews were conducted with 14 participants from 13 organizations serving Hispanic and Latinx immigrant communities in North Carolina and Wisconsin. Five hours of audio and 93 pages of transcribed data were analyzed to identify themes regarding strategy, content choices, website perceptions, social media content, and digital social advocacy efforts.
1.) Nonprofit organizations deliberately use images portraying acculturation activities to strategically show website visitors that the organization and its clients are valuable members of the community, acknowledging the current social climate and working to dismantle negative stereotypes towards Hispanic and Latinx immigrant communities.
2.) The organizations noted that social media is typically used for immediate communication with clients and service recipients, while website visitors are often donors and mainstream audiences. Website content is tailored to be palatable for mainstream audiences, while social media channels are leveraged to communicate advocacy messages not meant to be viewed by the general public.
3.) All but one of the nonprofit respondents regard digital social advocacy as part of their work in advancing and representing marginalized individuals.
Implications for Practice
The study provides insight as to how communicators strategically use varying channels to distribute information with a distinction between messages for the communities they serve and mainstream audiences. Further research into this topic could explore how nonprofit organizations serving Hispanic and Latinx immigrant communities help advocacy topics regarding immigration and migrants’ rights secure a place within the mainstream news agenda.
Adams, M. B., & Johnson, M. A. (2020). Acculturation, Pluralism, and Digital Social Advocacy in Nonprofit Strategic Communications. The Journal of Public Interest Communications.
Location of the Article
The study can be found at https://journals.flvc.org/jpic/article/view/124481
Valerie Gonzalez is a marketing student at New Jersey City University. She is the founding co-president of the NJCU chapter of PRSSA. Follow her on LinkedIn.