IMPACT
03/20/2015 06:18 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How Humor Can Help Boost Causes We Should All Give A Sh*t About

Alys Tomlinson via Getty Images

When it comes to the dark arts of moving people from apathy to action, here's who's cracked the code and discovered the most effective solution just might be laughter.

At a South by Southwest panel Tuesday, comedy experts took to the stage to discuss how being funny can be useful in propelling a cause. The panel, “The Hidden Power Of Humor: Creating Content With Purpose,” included participants from The Huffington Post and fundraising platforms Crowdrise and Purpose.

With no shortage of laughter and expletives, the panelists discussed how humor can boost editorial coverage of social causes. Applied correctly, a funny approach can entertain readers, reframe an issue for better understanding, challenge assumptions and call people to action, the panelists pointed out.

“By presenting themselves as self-deprecating instead of self righteous, it’s really relatable,” David Chernicoff, senior strategist at Purpose, said during the discussion.

The panelists discussed examples including President Obama’s Healthcare.gov video on BuzzFeed, the "Fitch the Homeless" campaign -- which raised awareness and funds for people in need -- and the humorous ACLU NSA campaign that featured everyone's worst nightmare -- a creepy Santa.

Chernicoff pointed out that "meeting people where they are" can be one of the most powerful tactics.

“The result can be lots of new people who you might not have been able to reach with your message or cause.”

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