What is Advocacy?
It’s actively supporting something and persuading others of the importance of that cause. Every association has causes they care about. Every association needs its members to advocate on its behalf.
Yet associations struggle to activate a membership of busy professionals who can be difficult to motivate without some looming crisis.
In 2015, one of the best ways to get members involved in advocacy, according to a survey by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), was email: More than 80 percent of those surveyed said members were willing to write an email to a public official. Other popular engagement tactics included signing a petition (40 percent), making a phone call to a public official (36 percent), and social media outreach (36 percent).
That was the 2015 solution. Welcome to 2017. How do you get your members actively engaged in advocating for your association? The 2017 Answer: A Mobile Solution.
The Answer: Successful Advocacy Steps Using A Mobile Solution.
Mobile strategy is essential to boosting an advocacy campaign. New advances in technology have fundamentally transformed the way associations can get their members engaged in the lobbying process. Crucial to this strategy is a mobile app that makes it easy to get members active with just the click of a button. Make it easy for your members to get active and be aware and you’ll see your grassroots support soar.
A. You Can Easily Educate Your Membership on What to Advocate For. Your members need to know what they are advocating for and why. Identify issues of importance and provide your members with information and position papers on each issue. In a mobile solution, the information on each issue can be presented within the app in a topical summary, with a deeper dive. Positions papers can be in the form of easily accessed pdf handouts available within a mobile app. These handouts should contain a brief summary of the issue, why the issue is important, and what the association’s position is. In addition, within a mobile app you can have your members contact experts with questions on each issue, and respond to polls and surveys about the issues so you know they are understanding the issue.
B. You Can Easily Educate Your Membership on How to Advocate. Now your members know the issues they should care about, but they need to learn what they can do to focus their advocacy efforts.
- Create a video which you can disseminate via your mobile app. This video should a) explain how the advocacy process works b) why members support is crucial, c) what members can do. To encourage members to view the video offer some kind of incentive to get them to log on.
- Members should be encouraged to contact target audiences designated by the association in the form of emails and phone calls to relevant government reps or policymakers. Contact information and sample emails can be provided within the mobile app to make it as easy as a click of a button for members to get involved. A mobile app can match specific legislators to specific constituents (i.e.by grouping), and then provide the email and contact info based on that constituent matching. That email or phone script should be brief, with points well thought out and well presented.
- Organize a Lobby Day. A Lobby Day is an organized day where members of an association meet with relevant lawmakers (can be on the state or federal level) to promote an association’s policy objectives. How does a Lobby Day pair with digital advocacy? Because all the information about your Lobby Day can reside in your association’s mobile app. So within your mobile solution you can have a full fledged event app to provide all the information on your Lobby Day, like speakers and schedules, handouts and talking points — your members would even have the ability to create one on one meetings with targeted reps.
C. You Can Easily Educate Yourself on What’s Working and What’s Not. Analytics are hugely important to a successful advocacy campaign. With a mobile app solution, you can see what hot buttons are working by easily tracking member engagement. An association can make data-driven decisions to boost future advocacy campaigns.
Want more info? See some of the tactics the League of California Cities used with their mobile app solution.