3 Examples of Successful Grassroots Lobbying Campaigns

May 13, 2024

Grassroots advocacy remains one of the most effective lobbying and public affairs strategies. Led by constituents and local communities, the most successful social and political movements in history have used grassroots campaign strategies to effectively mobilize their supporters to effect change.

These examples of successful corporate grassroots lobbying efforts can serve as a helpful starting point for inspiration and strategic insights to apply to your own grassroots advocacy strategy for corporate public affairs.

Aerospace Industries Association’s Second to None digital campaign

The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) represents hundreds of major defense and aerospace manufacturers and suppliers in the U.S. When the federal government was preparing to enter a period of budget sequestration in 2013, AIA launched its “Second to None” digital campaign to demonstrate the importance of continued investment in the country’s aerospace industry.

AIA took a two-pronged approach to its grassroots outreach, using both organic social media and targeted digital advertising. They leveraged existing public initiatives such as National Aerospace Week to draw more attention to their #StopSequestration campaign hashtag and drive traffic to their campaign website. This organic strategy was supplemented with targeted ads designed specifically for each audience on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Within just one month, campaign supporters had sent almost 74,000 messages to members of Congress pressing them to find a long-term fiscal solution that wouldn’t harm aerospace and defense manufacturing.

Google Take Action global initiative for internet freedom

When a United Nations proposal threatened to change how IP addresses would be managed, the Google Take Action campaign created a centralized hub for millions of people around the world to take collective action in support of internet freedom. On their campaign website, which they launched in 23 languages to maximize its reach, Google Take Action did two important things to compel internet users to become issue advocates:

  1. They used engaging, creative storytelling techniques to explain a complicated issue and how it might threaten the open web.
  2. They designed a streamlined user experience with a focused call to action, giving people easy options to join the campaign with a just a few clicks – either by signing a petition, sharing on social media, or adding a marker on a dynamic world map.

Nearly three million people joined the campaign through the Google Take Action platform. Ultimately, 55 member countries declined to sign the U.N. treaty and the measure was defeated.

The Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care ongoing advocate mobilization to support the Affordable Care Act

The Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care advocates on behalf of hospitals to protect federal funding related to patient care. As part of their ongoing lobbying strategy to support key policy objectives, the coalition invested in developing and nurturing a nationwide community of grassroots advocates ready and able to lend their voices whenever the need arises.

Instead of waiting to launch a grassroots initiative until there was a direct policy threat, the coalition proactively built a digital network of advocates over several years. Using an “always-on” approach, they maintained steady communications with their community to keep supporters informed and primed for those moments when they would need them to act. The coalition produced inspiring, engaging video and social media content to highlight individual stories of doctors and nurses and drive home the need to protect federal health-care funding.

Because they laid the groundwork of building and nurturing their community of supporters, when the debate around repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) began to heat up in 2017 the coalition was able to quickly mobilize a rapid response grassroots campaign to reach federal policy makers. Using cross-channel email, social, and paid media campaigns, the coalition personalized the campaign experience for supporters with targeted calls to action based on each supporter’s prior level of engagement: from low-barrier actions such as spreading the word to their friends and followers online, to asking the most engaged supporters to call their elected officials.

In all, the coalition’s network of nearly two million grassroots advocates made more than 6,000 phone calls and sent more than half a million letters to their members of Congress. Supporters also sent more than 20,000 tweets to educate and sway targeted policy makers about the negative impacts that repealing the ACA would have on their constituents.

Policy intelligence with impact from Bloomberg Government

Public affairs professionals know that a strong lobbying and public affairs strategy is key to shaping public policy. And grassroots advocacy strategies for corporate public affairs can effect change in ways that more traditional direct lobbying efforts can’t. As these grassroots lobbying examples demonstrate, successful campaigns are built upon local efforts, long-term vision, and collective action.

Watch our on-demand webinar to learn How Lobbying Firms Are Changing Their Structures and Advocacy Strategies to expand beyond the typical Washington issues and ways of conducting advocacy.

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