Cover of The Quest for Attention by Chao Guo and Gregory D. Saxton
The Quest for Attention
Nonprofit Advocacy in a Social Media Age
Chao Guo and Gregory D. Saxton


July 2020
256 pages.
from $26.00

Cloth ISBN: 9781503605015
Paper ISBN: 9781503613072



Today, social media offers an alternative broadcast and communication medium for nonprofit advocacy organizations. At the same time, social media ushers in a "noisy" information era that renders it more difficult for nonprofits to make their voices heard. This book seeks to unpack the prevalence, mechanisms, and ramifications of a new model for nonprofit advocacy in a social media age. The keyword for this new model is attention. Advocacy always starts with attention: when an organization speaks out on a cause, it must ensure that it has an audience and that its voice is heard by that audience; it must ensure that current and potential supporters are paying attention to what it has to say before expecting more tangible outcomes. Yet the organization must also ensure that advocacy does not end with attention: attention should serve as a springboard to something greater. The authors elaborate how attention fits into contemporary organizations' advocacy work and explain the key features of social media that are driving the quest for attention. Developing conceptual models, they explain why some organizations and messages gain attention while others do not. Lastly, the book explores how organizations are weaving together online and offline efforts to deliver strategic advocacy outcomes.

About the authors

Chao Guo is Associate Professor of Nonprofit Management in the School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania.

Gregory D. Saxton is Assistant Professor of Accounting in the Schulich School of Business at York University.