Date of Graduation

Spring 2011


Master of Arts in Communication



Committee Chair

Stephanie Norander


organizing for social change, organizational communication, human trafficking, mission, meaning management

Subject Categories



This thesis explores how a transnational social change organization manages the meaning of its mission when communicating with volunteers and supporters to raise funds, increase awareness, create advocates, and achieve social change. Social change organizations, which exist to alleviate societal ills at the grassroots level, have recently trended toward a transnational status as they operate both at the local level and as part of a global movement requiring them to manage the meaning of their mission with various external stakeholders. The current study explored how an organization that operates across geographical boundaries to fight against human trafficking uses its mission of "Love-Rescue-Heal" to encourage stateside involvement to support its social change objectives in Southeast Asia. A series of semi-structured interviews of organizational members were conducted to explore the challenges of managing the meaning of a mission and the strategies for communicating that mission. The study found that challenges to managing the meaning of mission exist among staff members within the organization and in communication to external stakeholders. These challenges include the distance from the mission work, the topic of human trafficking, the balance of appropriateness and honesty, and a commitment to privacy. The study also revealed that these challenges are addressed through three main communication strategies. These strategies include modifying the message to the stakeholders, using a problem-solution-challenge format for presentations, and personalizing the mission.


© Jessica Danielle Clements

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