22 Questions To Ask Before Your Next Advocacy Campaign

April 10, 2018 at 2:02 PM

There are many best practices to guide the creation of advocacy campaigns. Most of these cover high-level concepts that grassroots professionals understand. So what happens when best practices are followed, yet engagement rates, supporter growth, and policy goals aren't being reached? It may not be time to go back to the drawing board just yet, but it may be time to dig a little deeper into your campaigns and start asking questions that might 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, patch-through calls, lobby days? All are viable options and will be used together in your campaign in some manner. It’s about leveraging where your advocates and are priming them through multiple channels so that they're ready to take action when the time comes. Read more about leveraging Facebook for advocacy campaigns. 

2. What metrics should we be tracking?

3. Is our messaging working to engage members throughout the year? 

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?

  • Great design is incredibly necessary for engaging advocacy campaigns. Whether you're attempting to educate people or drive them to send a message to their legislator you must utilize sound design practices to make that experience great for your supporters. Consider using video when talking to supporters as it can be a quick and easy way to get a message across.

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? 

11. How can we tap into what motivates our advocates?

12. Who are our best advocates and what engages them?

  • Tapping into what motivates your strongest supporters can be a great way to further uncover how to motivate larger portions of your supporter network. Find these highly engaged advocates and survey them, interview them and use that insight to drive future advocacy engagement.

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 more of 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? 

17. How flexible is our campaign strategy?

  • Policy can move quick, being able to adapt and launch into action when a program your organization supports is facing a budget cut or is stuck in committee is key to success of your public policy initiatives.

18. What are organizations with similar policy goals doing and what’s your opposition doing? 

  • We've seen great results with organizations who create a coalition — sharing your action alerts with an organization who's policy goals align with yours can grow your supporter base and raise your engagement rates multiple times over.

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 like talking points, tool-kits, and any other educational items to make them successful. 

20. What are the key roles in our advocacy team and how do they function?

  • There are many advocacy professionals out there who must wear multiple hats for their organization. Whether it's a one person show or an entire team, develop a good workflow and understand the goals and priorities for these roles.

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.
Corey Vaughn

Written by Corey Vaughn

Corey leads marketing and brand efforts at Muster — creating content and initiatives to help nonprofits reach their advocacy and engagement goals.

muster advocacy campaign checklist