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What is Digital Advocacy?

April 14, 2016 at 10:30 AM

New digital tools, social media platforms, and mobile devices have transformed the way that citizens connect with lawmakers, reinventing how constituents can participate meaningfully in the legislative process. Political advocacy is broadly defined as any organized effort to influence public perception of an issue, the policymaking process, or particular legislators.

Digital advocacy describes efforts to mobilize constituents to participate in political advocacy through the use of technology.

 Online advocacy enables policy-oriented organizations to affect the policy process through collective civic engagement. The term, “digital advocacy”, broadly encompasses all online activities conducted by citizens directed towards influencing legislation or legislators. In this blog post, we are going to focus exclusively on one part of the puzzle that constitutes digital advocacy: online tools built specifically to mobilize constituents on behalf of a mission-oriented organization: advocacy software. 

 Mobile and web-based political advocacy initiatives are changing the way that public affairs practitioners, lobbyists and association professionals perform their traditional job roles. A recent study by the Public Affairs Council found that  89% of public affairs professionals utilized digital advocacy tools. The increasing adoption of technology tools in the government relations space illustrates how much value these technology tools bring to the advocacy profession, and the political arena in general.

Digital advocacy tools help organized groups facilitate civic engagement and grassroots advocacy.

 Notably, as the Pew Research Center puts it: “several forms of political activity—including making donations, forming a group of like-minded people, contacting public officials, and registering to vote—are simply easier on the internet”. The ease-of-use factor associated with online political engagement programs make it fairly intuitive and cost-effective for interest and advocacy groups to engage in the legislative process. While most digital advocacy tools come at a cost to an organization using their services, the ROI on investing an online tool make the upfront cost worthwhile. This blog post outlines four key benefits digital advocacy solutions offer to advocacy practitioners. Digital advocacy is efficient, effective and and a key component to any strong government relations program. 

According to a recent 2015 survey conducted by the Public Affairs Council, over 60% of respondents met their primary objective by utilizing online tools. To many nonprofit organization staff and lobbyists, political engagement from the grassroots level to the membership level is essential to meeting policy goals. Digital advocacy is increasingly becoming the source of success for policy victories by purpose-driven groups. Have you scheduled a demo of advocacy software yet?  

Cleo Dan

Written by Cleo Dan

Cleo Dan is the Vice President of Communications at Muster.