There are many best practices to guide the creation of advocacy campaigns. Most best practices cover high-level concepts that both industry veterans and grassroots professionals understand. So what happens when best practices are followed...yet engagement rates aren't at desired levels? It may not be time to go back to the drawing board, but it may be time to dig a little deeper and start asking questions that lead to better insight. Here are 22 questions to ask before you launch your next advocacy campaign:
1. What communication channels and/or platforms should we be using? Email, social media, phone calls, physical mail or in-person? All are viable options for a campaign and will be used together in you campaign in some manner, it’s about understanding where your advocates are and how they will take action. Read more about leveraging Facebook for advocacy campaigns.
2. What metrics should we be tracking? You should always be tracking as much data as possible and using it to build future campaigns.
3. Is our messaging working to engage members throughout the year? Organizations engage with their advocates on some level all year -this article explores the importance of email engagements to your membership.
4. Where do our mission and business goals align?
5. Do we need to A/B test emails and messaging?
6. What kind of in-person events or groundwork do we need to do? While digital advocacy and leveraging your supporters to take action online are incredibly important in today’s world, your organization can’t forget to engage with them in person and have a solid outreach program. Offering members the opportunity to join membership committees or other volunteer positions is a great way to enhance their in-person engagement.
7. Are our landing pages, CTA’s, and graphics engaging enough?
8. Is the process easy enough for our advocates? What does your “advocacy funnel” look like? Really think about the path your advocates take when coming to an action center or landing page to take action.
9. How should we be educating our advocates on the issues and legislation? Enough can’t be said about having an informed advocacy base. The more they understand the issues the more confident they’ll be when it’s time to take action. Provide your advocates with opportunities to learn more about relevant policy issues by keeping them updated through email newsletters, an organization blog or podcast, or hosting seminars for your members.
10. What story should we be telling? For some answers and even more questions read this article from The Campaign Workshop to see how an advocacy leader answers 6 questions on advocacy storytelling.
11. How can we tap into what motivates our advocates?
12. Who are our best advocates and what engages them?
13. How do we communicate to our advocates if we don’t reach our legislative goals? Sometimes things don’t always work out and it can take years to achieve certain policy goals. It’s always important that you communicate in a way that keeps your advocates energized.
14. Are we communicating the right incentives to make people take action?
15. Are we setting the right objectives for our end goal? Advocacy campaigns are not a sprint, but a marathon (or maybe a relay race?) it’s important to set objectives that create a path to your end goal.
16. In what ways can we grow our network and strengthen our coalition? Watch the first part of this video series we did with Brian Cannon of OneVirginia2021 to see how they approached growing their advocacy network for their campaign against gerrymandering.
17. How flexible is our campaign strategy?
18. What are organizations with similar policy goals doing and what’s your opposition doing? It’s especially important to research organizations with similar advocacy goals as you can possibly create a coalition to strengthen your advocacy efforts.
19. Are we providing our advocates with enough support? Reaching out to an elected official can be intimidating - especially to the uninitiated. Make sure you and/or your team are able to support new advocates through the process with encouraging resources.
20. What are the key roles in our advocacy team and how do they function?
21. Do we have all the necessary tools to ensure success? There’s a plethora of software options, online tools, and extensions for advocacy, email, analytics, and graphic design. Make sure everything is working for you and is bettering your advocacy efforts.
22. Are we speaking to all of our stakeholders and advocates with our messaging?
The first step in creating anything is to ask questions. The more you ask, the deeper you dig at the root of the problem and you start to uncover your own solutions and best practices that work for you and your organization. If you’re looking for digital solutions for advocacy campaigns Muster is a powerful platform for connecting advocates with legislators and helping organization reach their policy goals.