An online advocacy initiative is only as successful as the advocate engagement strategy motivating supporters to participate. Encouraging grassroots involvement requires an approach that speaks to supporters who may feel different levels of concern regarding the issue. For example, your organization likely has supporters who feel like their policy input doesn't matter and also advocates who have become evangelists through their constant contributions and support. How does an association overcome this disconnect and motivate someone to participate in the legislative process?
A solid membership engagement strategy is a core function of any member-based organization. Associations thrive on the support and involvement of the individuals, businesses and organizations they serve. Engagement is a two-way street, and relies on developing a genuine and reciprocal relationship between your membership and your association. When an association lacks a connection with its base, the association loses its power as a member-based organization.
In a democratic society, citizens have the freedom to organize and form social networks, movements, and cause-oriented groups.
Social capital refers to the collective importance of relationships among individuals, and the beneficial effect of these social networks on the greater good. It’s not strictly a general assessment about how friendly a group of people can be -- social capital is important.
No matter the staff size, budget or interstate reach, every association seeks to keep its membership actively engaged in its mission. In terms of advocacy, an engaged membership means a strong network of advocates when the legislative sessions begin- and a much easier process for the association to activate its membership when navigating policy challenges. Many members want to be actively engaged in their association and want to participate in advancing policy goals, they just don’t know how. It’s the duty of the association to keep close contact with its members and provide them with actionable ways, like Calls to Action and email updates, that let them participate in the legislative process. After working closing with CEOs and directors of membership-driven organizations, we’ve found that keeping members engaged is strongly dependent on the following action items:
Has your association's staff been faced with the challenge of motivating members to "take action" on behalf of the association? Some members may feel like their policy input will not matter in a polarized political landscape or they may simply feel they don’t have the time to be an advocate. How does an association overcome this disconnect and motivate someone to participate in the legislative process?