Deep Dive Breakout 2

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

2:00pm –3:00pm

Trey Hawkins (Credit Union National Association), Matthew Fitting (American Nurses Association), and Matthew Wright (Children’s Hospital Association)

Some issues require a full-force effort. But, how do we expand our program to reach interested constituents, especially when the issue may be nuanced? How do I even find outside advocates, and how do I get them to do more than just fill-in a form letter?

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


How do we expand my program to reach interested constituents, and what are some positive and negative consequences?

  • Keep messages general – one organization advocating for childrens’ healthcare didn’t mention Obamacare or the ACA, but instead framed their message in generalities to expand their program.
  • Membership organizations can provide ready-made messaging to their subsidiary organizations for them to brand and put on their own site to target members who might not realize the role the advocacy group plays.
  • Reaching beyond the base this way builds your list and can create deeper relationships and more authentic advocacy with your members. This can drive more actions, be they letters to Congress or donations to your organization. But, it’s hard work and takes a lot of resources, e.g. time and money, to manage and keep alive through care and feeding. This means you’ll need to fight for funding internally and may need to strongly defend return on investment. And, once you do expand your base, more people means more critics.
  • Establish a hub with compelling visuals to capture very limited digital attention and removes as many barriers to entry as possible. People are being marketed to constantly. Make it very easy for people to take immediate action on a hub that shows your organization’s values. Efforts to expand your program can help shake off creative cobwebs.

How do I even find outside advocates?

  • Leverage existing social media conversations. Engage with people in the comments on Facebook or in the Twitter mentions to share who you are and what you’re doing. Research people who may have a connection and are an influencer, particularly those with a large social media presence/following.
  • Do your research to know who your audience is and go after them. What’s the price you put on an advocate? How much money do you need to spend per advocate to recruit new members?

How do I get them to do more than just fill-in a form letter?

  • One organization gathered petitions using an online tool then physically printed them, bound them in a book, and hired a professional photographer to show their advocates – in this case, children – delivering it to the Hill. The same organization encouraged people to print a branded PDF with a question on it, write their answer, and tweet a photo to engage people on social media.
  • Your members’ motivations to advocate are the same as your base: “What’s in it for me?” Personalization and showing what matters and what’s at stake is crucial. Get your message down to the simplest, most crystallized nuggets of personalized information to better motivate people to take action.