Deep Dive Breakout 3

Thursday, August 1, 2019


Advocacy professionals are resourceful folks who know how to get things done. Join our discussion to share techniques and advice for running campaigns when budgets are tight and support is limited.


Learning Objective: What do you consider a small versus a large budget?

  • What qualifies as a small budget?
    • Small Budget: $5,000-$10,000
    • Medium Budget: $10,001-$24,999
    • Large Budget: $25,000+
  • Think of the budget as a curve, and identify where you want to be on that curve. For a budget-conscious organization, you should be before the peak of the curve, where you are still delivering a lot of value on a constrained budget.
  • If you are a member organization, look to your member firms with larger budgets to carry a message across an industry.
  • Don’t think about the budget – think about what you want to do. Also consider perspective – a small or large budget depends on the size of your company.
  • When you feel like money is scarce, it causes an undue focus on the deficit, whether that’s money, staff, time, creativity, or anything else. Scarcity can actually steal productivity, resourcefulness, novelty, and energy because these are spent disproportionately and often frantically on seeking whatever is scarce.

Learning Objective: Flexing your budget to show impact

  • There are many creative routes to flex your budget. One way to get the word about your programming out there is swag – items like coffee sleeves, luggage tags, and pins are a good place to start on a small budget.
  • Videography can be expensive – experiment with shooting and editing your own video on using your smartphone and free editing tools.
  • If you belong to trade associations, leverage those relationships. For example, instead of planning in-district events, ask your trade associations to host those events for you.
  • Ask PAC contributors to arrange in-district meetings with congresspeople. This serves a dual purpose – they help you plan an event, and they get the satisfaction of doing something for the PAC outside of donating money.
  • When making a budget request in an organization with a small budget, look for multiple use cases for different audiences, things that have a really long shelf life, things you cannot do in house, and things you can make a strong business case for. 
    • Priority #1: Invest in operational infrastructure
    • Priority #2: Spend on complex content creation
    • Priority #3: Consider content amplification
  • Interactive data visualizations are a way to attract media attention, especially if your industry is technical or difficult to understand.
  • When you have no budget…
    • Make good content work harder
    • Resurface content when relevant
    • Build positive relationships with key audiences on social media
  • When you have a small budget, make use of existing content. If your position is still relevant, look for hooks and ways to bring it back. That also gives you the credibility to say – we’ve been talking about this issue for some time. Here’s why you should pay attention.
  • What is scarce and what is abundant at your organization?
    • Scarce:
      • Marketing/programming dollars
      • Staff to manage marketing/programming efforts
    • Abundant:
      • Social platforms
      • Opportunities for partnership and message magnification
      • Expert networks
      • Existing content
  • Once you have a brand, use it as a template for your social presence. You can leverage work that you’ve had done in the past to continue that work in-house.
  • You’re not building relationships with your staff and vendors just to use them. If you’ve put the time in, you can sometimes get a little bit more than what you anticipated.

Learning Objective: Using volunteers, partners, and untapped internal resources to scale efforts

  • Time is a resource. What can you do to help maximize your time by using non-traditional resources?
  • Non-traditional resources might include:
    • Trade associations
    • Employee resource groups
    • Interns/co-ops/contractors
    • Guest speakers
    • Project team recruitment
    • PAC Sibling
  • The voices that have the greatest impact are diverse – grow relationships with people slightly outside your community. Look to different groups who can possibly drive your message. Pick people who are tangentially related to your audience, not people who are already in your audience. 
  • Think about symbiosis. Bring something to the table, and be genuine. 

Learning Objective: Examples of free or low-cost resources

  • Nothing in life is free, but these are handy:
    • HashAtIt – Hashtag searching
    • Trello – Task management
    • Animoto – Text video
    • Moz – SEO
    • Splash – Create events site with registration
    • – Social media aggregator
    • Hemingway Editor – Copy editor
    • Canva – Graphic creation
    • Stencil – Graphic creation
    • Tweetdeck – Twitter tracking
  • Think about opportunities to tie marketing into revenue generation. An event is a revenue source that also allows you to speak and lead the discussion.
  • When your budget gets smaller, it’s tempting to look at expenses and where you can cut. But if you only look at expenses, you start undercutting yourself. If you have a great idea, try to sell it to your stakeholders.