Deep Dive Breakout 1

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

2:00pm – 3:00pm

Joe Franco (American Diabetes Association), Cody Lyon (American Farm Bureau Federation), Michael Lewan (National Marine Manufacturers Association) and Jessica Cooper (National Federation of Independent Business)

Fight issue fatigue and grow your advocacy community. Our panelists will share their techniques for reviving your advocacy efforts and cultivating new recruits.

Have feedback on this session? We’d love to hear it! Submit it here.

Learning Objectives:

  • How do you mix it up? (Not ask for money/fundraising)
  • How do you make the community feel like they are making an impact, even if it’s a long haul battle?
  • What new technologies and tools and be used to revive advocacy efforts?
  • How do you marry word of mouth and social?
  • Quality recruitment. How to achieve it and what are the metrics for success?
  • How do you grow?
  • What are the roles in the recruiting process?

How do you mix it up? (Not ask for money/fundraising)

  • Identify the gap between what your organization sees as a priority and what your members see as a priority by sending out a annual survey.
  • Create visually appealing images that can spark thought, education and action.
  • Use infographics to “edutain (educate & entertain) your members and the public about your issue.
  • If possible, have a clear story with clear point. It’s okay to have a bad guy in your narrative.
  • Mix it up! Avoid Issue Fatigue. Encourage and allow people to get creative!
  • Use real stories instead of pre-planned messaging or talking points. Ask for real stories by real people to leverage them when you need it. This allows you to continue the issue without actually having to ask.
  • Move beyond just words and messaging documents. Use images and video to convey messages.
  • Find new and creative ways to show how this issue impacts your members every day.

How do you make the community feel like they are making an impact, even if it’s a long haul battle?

  • Continuous communication with advocates on progress or status of an issue should be part of the overall grassroots strategy.
  • Create an environment (via social media or email) for advocates all over the country/globe to meet, share their story and feel a sense of community.
    • If you haven’t heard of the #felfie, look it up! Thanks Cody Lyon.
  • Always show the value and impact of the action taken no matter how big or small the action is.
  • Continue to feed and support your members year-round not just when you have an issue you would like them to par-take in.

What new technologies and tools can be used to revive advocacy efforts?

  • New platforms people are trying: to explore that allow conversation and engagement: closed Facebook Groups, Basecamp, and Yammer are all proving to be beneficial.
  • Apps, apps, apps! Creating an advocacy app allows you to create a one-stop shop for all the staff and advocates out in the field. All the resources, talking points, and an advocacy form people can sign on the spot.
  • Know who your audience is online and make sure your content is to geared towards that. When it comes to social media, everything should be around engagement.
  • Make sure to use different platforms and different mediums to get information out there. People are consuming content and information in many different ways now days.
  • Just because it’s old, doesn’t mean it’s out! Listservs, faxes, email, phone call etc. Go where your audience is!

What has social media done to our ability to tell stories?

  • People can tell their own stories in their own words from their own platforms, which makes their stories more powerful.
  • People under the age of 35 get their news from non-traditional sources (particularly not television), now they go to social networks, among other resources, which immediately pose challenges for how you design messages.
  • Just because it’s old, doesn’t mean it’s out! Listservs, faxes, email, phone call etc. Go where your audience is!

How do you marry word of mouth and social?

  • Social media really allows your advocates to take an action, participate and feel involved. It also allows them to share the issue with their following and expand the conversation past your immediate members.
  • Asking advocates to send in a video to share their stories. “Tell us why you’re an advocate.” Then leverage that on your social channels really helps to make advocates feel part of everything.
  • Lets your members share their stories and opinions in their own words with their networks.

Quality recruitment. How to achieve it and what are the metrics for success?

  • Recruit from leadership programs, work with state bureaus, identify gaps by state congressional district and major commodities in the state, and monitor social media for people talking on our issues.
  • Identify key metrics for success:
    • Activity: Quantitative and qualitative measures that reflect the central tactical areas of grassroots engagement.
    • Environmental: Quantitative and qualitative measures to evaluate the volume and quality of media coverage and social media.
    • Perception: Making sure you communicate with your key leaders.
  • Know your ask and the action people can take right away when asking people to be volunteers.
  • Ask when and how someone wants to get involved. Let them tell you what they want and are willing to do. That way when you need something you can look through a database you have collected and easily find someone that opted-in to volunteer on that particular issue.
    • They may only be interested in doing one thing, but that one thing is very important.
    • It also allows you to see and target where you are weak or where the gaps are in terms of advocates, so you can focus on finding advocates in those areas.
  • Continuously feed your advocates with data, information and updates. Keep them in the know and active so that when you do need them to take action they are ready to go. This will help people understanding that advocacy doesn’t end right after an initiative it is 365 days a year.
    • Make sure it’s a quality conversation if nothing else. Even if you have people unsubscribing that’s okay. You want to have a quality conversation with the people that do care.
  • Peer-to-Peer Recruitment rather than a top-down approach.
    • Create a platform to let members and advocates connect on a personal level. You scan set up social groups (Facebook, Basecamp, etc.) It will encourage people to share more and to spark new ideas and competition. Building a community of members is stronger than just having members.
    • Another approach is having more of an exclusive advocacy approach. Allowing advocates in your membership nominate or suggest people that would make good advocates and then the organization can decided whether it is a good fit or not.
    • Make it special! Have a manager/boss pick someone on a team (make it feel like a promotion or a special thing).

How do you grow?

  • Address and figure out who is your ecosystem. Don’t be afraid to move beyond set boundaries or the obvious groups of people.
  • Create a space where you can pull everyone together under one umbrella. Include your entire ecosystem.
  • When growing your ecosystem you have to realize that you have to let go of ownership of it. People are more willing to share and take action if you create a community where everyone has the opportunity to communicate on the subject the best way for their specific audience.
  • Grow from the bottom up instead of from the top down.
  • GO small…. Most people want to address the big, sexy issues but most of the issues that really count are the small issues that effect people in your membership everyday. If you can address the small issues you can get more buy in and therefore more action taken.
  • Who doesn’t like to be thanked?? Thank you’s are basic but advocates should always be thanked for their action and followed-up with more information on how their action helped move the needle.
  • Ban the boring “thank you!” Make sure your thank you acknowledges their action taken (make it a video to watch) More importantly, make it personal, offer next steps, remind them their action made an impact and you appreciate it. Make that Thank You work for you!
  • Circus Elephants Story: Elephants are trained by a young age that they can’t break or get away from the rope that tethers them to the tent. As they get older they get stronger and would have no issue breaking the rope and walking away but were taught that they can’t so they don’t’ even try. Moral of the story: Don’t be the circus elephant. Don’t confine yourself to just what you have done in the past or people assuming something won’t work out. Try new things and break the cycle of advocacy topics becoming stale.