While grassroots advocacy has been a longtime strategy for nonprofits seeking to reach legislators, it is quickly gaining popularity in the corporate sphere. Business leaders are realizing the power that voters have in swaying public policy, and they’re searching for new tools to advance their advocacy efforts.
Whereas traditional tactics relied on lobbying to educate and persuade legislators on behalf of an entity like a corporation, grassroots campaigns mobilize activists and voters to take action on a specific issue. These advocacy groups can carry more weight when it comes to the decision of an elected official because they consist of actual constituents – according to a survey of congressional staff, constituents who make the effort to personally communicate with their senators and representatives aremore influential than lobbyists.
But how can companies orchestrate a grassroots movement that harnesses this strength in numbers? It all starts with crafting a solid campaign.
Advocacy campaigns can support corporate public affairs interests
Grassroots activism – advocacy efforts to organize citizens to persuade elected officials into enacting policy changes – is a strategy that has been typically employed by nonprofits. While this space has expanded to include corporations and other organizations, the goals of any grassroots advocacy campaign remain the same: To educate a target audience on a particular issue, grow your advocacy group, and mobilize these activists to influence public policy.
Rather than relying on lobbyists, grassroots campaigns leverage collective action through two primary avenues:
Encouraging voters to turn up for local elections.
Not only will your advocates have personal anecdotes and compelling stories to help sway elected officials, but the officials themselves rely on their voters.
By involving the people who have been affected by a particular issue, these grassroots initiatives can have a far more significant impact than direct lobbying methods. In a survey, congressional staffers agreed the most influential advocacy strategies for swaying an undecided Member of Congress are personal communications from constituents.
However, before your organization can get to the point of mobilizing grassroots activists, you need to develop your advocacy strategy plan and ensure that you have the tools necessary to reach your target audience.
Don’t miss your moment to build your movement
Only Megaphone by Bloomberg Government combines everything you need to reach your audience into one easy-to-use advocacy software.
Drafting an effective grassroots strategy can seem daunting at first, but it is vital to ensure the long-term stability, impact, and success of your campaign. If you’re considering starting an advocacy campaign, you likely already have an issue at hand.
The next step is to identify your objectives. What do you want to accomplish through this campaign? How will you measure this achievement? These questions will help guide you through the process of creating a successful advocacy campaign.
1. Start with a goal
Once you have determined the public policy issue that you would like to impact, it’s onto the planning stage. In this first step, you will identify your overarching cause and break it down into more manageable parts. For instance, if your organization is advocating for environmental causes, it’s best to narrow your focus and resource allocation to smaller, more achievable goals like solar funding or tax breaks for renewable energy companies. That way, your campaign doesn’t spread itself too thin by trying to solve multiple large-scale issues at once.
2. Craft your message
After outlining your campaign goal, the next step is to craft your message. Strong communication and a compelling narrative can go a long way in influencing and inspiring the public for your cause; but, as a company, you must also consider your organization’s overall mission and its stakeholders.
To lead a successful advocacy campaign, your message must align with not only your target audience but your company’s goals and values as well. It’s also critical to draft multiple versions to distribute through various platforms and formats. Remember that email outreach is only one channel to use – other effective options include phone calls, SMS, peer-to-peer messaging, social media, and organic search. You want to be able to reach your target audience at the right place and with a perfectly tailored message.
3. Identify your tech needs
Digital marketing has become an essential aspect of modern grassroots advocacy campaigns, but posting your message online without the necessary strategy or tools simply won’t garner an audience. Grassroots professionals must have the technological resources to engage with their advocates, support their campaigns, and sustain their long-term goals with scalable features.
Bloomberg Government’s Megaphone is an all-in-one software solution that provides sophisticated yet intuitive tools to drive your digital advocacy campaign. Communicate with constituents, track engagement, and mobilize your advocacy groups to take action. You also get valuable insights on things like voter propensity, civic health, and election engagement.
4. Target the right audiences
Even the most persuasive message will fall on deaf ears if you don’t find the right people. Many grassroots professionals use software tools like Megaphone to identify their target audience, whether they are looking to reach internal stakeholders or employees, consumers, or community groups. With Megaphone, you get access to rich constituent profiles, containing detailed information on demographics, civic engagement, opinion data, company interactions, and much more.
You can also run advanced searches and segment your audience based on specific attributes or interactions. Narrowing in on your true supporters can save your organization a lot of time and money, while also advancing the movement further.
As your advocacy campaign starts to gain supporters, it’s vital to track their engagement and interactions. Advocacy software like Megaphone provide you with comprehensive visibility into your constituents, allowing you to analyze the data and adjust your strategy accordingly. Tracking codes enable you to build detailed profiles on your supporters with data on any number of custom attributes. Monitoring constituent engagement and campaign performance are critical to ensuring your movement reaches its internal benchmarks.
6. Gain supporters
Before the final step of activating your advocates, you must first ensure that your campaign has enough traction. Gaining likes on social media is good, but it won’t help if your supporters aren’t willing to take action. One way to avoid “slacktivism” is to create a volunteer group. With a strong message and a call to action, you can organize your advocates into a targeted effort. That way, you can grow your base of activists exponentially as your message travels by word of mouth.
A grassroots advocacy tool like Megaphone can help you develop and track data-driven strategies around communication and advocate engagement. With detailed insights into your constituent preferences, it’s easy to learn and adapt as you optimize your message and audience.
7. Activate your advocates
Finally, it’s time to activate your base of supporters. There are a variety of ways to go about this, but modern constituents tend to prefer digital efforts, such as text, email, and social media. The key is to deliver a well-crafted message to the right audience, at the right time, and in the right way.
With the right technology, you can pinpoint your target audience and send messages directly to supporters. Depending on the goals of your business, you can direct your supporters to vote in an upcoming election or contact state and federal legislators through a variety of channels.
8. Report back to stakeholders
Once your advocacy campaign is completed, you’ll need to gather and analyze the data you collected and present this information to your stakeholders. Detailed tracking and real-time data management capabilities from Megaphone provide a comprehensive view of your constituent engagement. Create custom visual representations, such as infographics and charts, to demonstrate the success of your campaign to your stakeholders.
[Define your target audience, gather supporters, and activate your advocates with Megaphone.]
Strategies for activating your advocates
While tools like Megaphone can help grassroots professionals develop strong, personalized messages for their supporters, track campaign performance, and make adjustments along the way, it can still be tricky to spur your advocates into taking action. As a foundational piece of your grassroots movement, it’s critical that you take the time to craft a compelling message.
To further leverage this impact and resonate with supporters, Megaphone allows you to segment target audiences and deliver personalized messages to these groups. The customizable dashboard makes all of this data accessible by organizing engagement, goals, tracking lists, and more into intuitive, easy-to-read charts and analytics.
Technology to take your campaign forward
Starting your grassroots campaign shouldn’t be an insurmountable task. Megaphone from Bloomberg Government is an all-in-one solution that makes it easy to create a successful advocacy campaign. As the only advocacy software to offer supporter-centric outreach tools, Megaphone provides your organization with all of the features and capabilities it needs to take your policy issue from an idea, all the way to Capitol Hill.
In today’s digital world, grassroots advocacy campaigns require advanced technological solutions to get the right message to the right audience at the right time. Megaphone is an all-in-one advocacy software for grassroots professionals to build and sustain the momentum they need.