Deep Dive Breakout 2

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

11:30am-12:30pm

We strive to build movements but in this politically charged environment our members and supporters sometimes act more like a mob. How do we keep focus on core policy goals or harness this energy for positive outcomes? Alternatively, how do we leverage the intensity of an opposing mob to drive our agenda?

NOTES

  • Learning Objective: Early warning signs to identify a growing mob or a movement 
    • Make sure to consume what your constituency consumes
      • If you know where your audience gets their information, you can get a better idea of what they are thinking or engaging on
    • Being proactive and anticipate your movement
      • Tagit tool that scans social media tags and maps them to set up hashtags in advance to know how your mob will respond 
        • Funnel people into the conversation (with a hashtag early) and measure it to help display importance to the media 
    • Knowing the signs of the difference between a mob and a movement 
      • Mob
        • disruption /difficulty with familiar acts
        • Confusion and new problems
        • Withdrawal
          • When your usual loud or engaged advocates or donors is something to look for
        • Changes in mood
        • celebrity/ego
      • Movement
        • Increasing activity
        • Money
        • Clarity
        • Benevolence 
    • When there is smoke, there is most likely fire
      • If you don’t look into the smoke, you can end up getting burned 
      • If identified early enough you can “ride the wave” of the mob or movement to your benefit
  • Deciding when and how to engage
    • Crisis ready flowchart to layout pathways 
      • Can we easily correct them and regain control of the situation is the most important question. The answer should consist of two parts or two separate questions.
        • How do we plan to regain control of the situation?
        • How do we best protect our relationship?
    • Engagement considerations
      • Visibility 
        • Is the issue public (social media or in person protest) or private (internal, board member revolt)
      • Staff perceptions
        • Take a look at how your staff feels about the mob even if it differs from organizational priorities (can affect approach)
      • Triggering events
        • Things like a hill lobby day
          • Especially if a mob is already forming ahead of time
      • Cost
        • Both short and long term costs
          • Will our decisions affect institutional knowledge or reach
      • Ethics
        • What are the implications of aligning or partnering with different groups
    • Response model 

1) Evaluate – who was specifically targeted and who was a threat (stakeholders etc)

        • Source 
        • Threat level
        • Costs
          • Monetary and effect on the advocacy base

2) Identify

        • Mentality
          • Is this a mob or a movement (positive or negative tone)
        • Outcomes
        • Success
          • For your internal stakeholder but also advocates, donors, base
        • Target group
          • Who are you trying to mobilize or communicate with or message to
        • Timeline
          • When is it most important to mobilize (before a key vote/election)

3) Educate

        • Having an educated base is important to mobilize more quickly and efficiently (very important)
          • Helps with scaling 

4) Engage (or not)

  • How to fend off a mob
    • Plan ahead 
      • Identify relationships that you can leverage before you need to mobilize or respond to an anticipated mob or opposition and help with transparency
        • Especially if it is someone who your base or membership usually disagrees with
          • Identify the key members of your membership or stakeholders who you can call on as authorities within the community 
            • This can help tame the mob before it grows too large
    • Tactics to beat back a mob
      • Open up
        • Often the conflict arises because of a lack of knowledge or understanding
          • Being transparent and educating can help the mob to pause and think
      • Share
        • Sharing more information about why decisions were made (similar to opening up) 
          • Especially if it is selective use of insider information (play inside baseball)
        • Figure out who is the right messenger and use them as a clarifying voice for the mob
      • Join
        • If the mob is right, join in and get behind it to turn it into a more sustainable movement
          • Use the mob to your advantage
      • Speak a new language
        • Adapting language and being open to evolving the way you can talk about things can easily end a mob or preempt what they are upset about
      • Say no
        • If you are going to say no to what rouge advocates or a mob wants is better than leading them on or not being direct 
          • This is especially helpful if the request is unreasonable or counter to the overall strategy and will ultimately hurt the organization or the advocates themselves 
      • Counterprogram
        • Talk over the mob while it is still small to distract advocates from growing the mob
    • Considering implications on the national level vs what is happening on a more localized level
    • If you are not channeling the wave effectively and can’t translate it into action (such as influencing legislators or voters) it is a huge lost opportunity 
      • Setting realistic expectations can motivate activists towards action by having them look at the long term and not just the short term fight/issue and can help in future campaigns 
  • Engaging when the dust settles
    • Steps to take
      • Repackage
        • Make sure that the finished product or results of actions or campaigns are compelling and engaging
        • Also make sure that the information is repackaged for use the next time the fight comes up (like budget cycle elements)
          • There can help prevent advocate fatigue
      • Educate
      • Articulate
      • Delegate 
    • Outcomes – Things to think about 
      • Capacity – did it grow the advocate or donor base etc.
      • Change – how did the structure, movement, landscape, or coalition change
      • Commitment – what is the status of moral at all levels (donors, internal team, advocates)
      • Contentment – are people happy?
      • Credibility 
    • Not always the time to celebrate
      • Have a strategy from the start and identify the pain points at the end so you can better operate better if the issue comes up again