Three Examples of Effective Grassroots Advocacy Campaigns

Following the 2016 presidential election, many Americans turned to grassroots advocacy to make their voices heard on new policies. With more campaigns, however, it becomes harder for advocacy organizations to break through the noise. So what makes an effective advocacy campaign?

Here are three examples of successful grassroots advocacy campaigns to learn from:

1. Grow Your Grasstops: American Society of Anesthesiologists

The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) has transformed their grassroots advocates, individuals who are willing to take actions online to contact their member of Congress, into grasstops advocates, who have built personal relationships with their representatives in Congress. To empower their audience, ASA has created a series of educational modules that they can share with potential grasstops advocates that teach anything from the basics of the branches of government to how to take action and build a relationship with a legislator.

But ASA doesn’t just send educational emails and then forget about their advocates. Using their email tool, ASA tracks who opens and engages with their emails. They use this information to then follow up with those who opted-in to the grasstops program, but have yet to take action.

Download ASA’s full case study to see how it used online tools to build an effective grassroots advocacy campaign.

2. Teach Your Advocates to Tell A Story: American Farm Bureau

The American Farm Bureau (AFB) often holds events which provide the opportunity for farmers to meet in person with legislators and their staff. Key to making these engagements successful is preparing advocates in advance so that they feel more comfortable in the meeting.

AFB prepares their advocates by training them to share their stories using Pixar’s three step storytelling model. Storytelling has proven itself as an effective grassroots advocacy strategy for AFB—months after a farmer told his personal story to his legislator during a Capitol Hill meeting, that legislator’s staff called the advocate back to discuss upcoming legislation because they had remembered his story.

Learn the three elements that should be a part of every story that a grassroots advocate shares with their elected official.

3. Utilizing Online Advocacy Tools: Veterans for American Ideals

For many years, Veterans for American Ideals (VFAI) managed their grassroots advocacy campaigns with Excel spreadsheets and email marketing software. While this approach provided VFAI a way to communicate with supporters, they wanted a better system designed to activate their supporters.

VFAI invested in dedicated grassroots advocacy software for its most recent campaigns, and quickly began to realize the benefits of integrating their work into a digital platform. Their tool enabled them to sort their advocates by both standard and custom tags, which helped them keep data clean and quickly identify groupings in important categories like congressional district and level of prior engagement.

They also used their software to set up their own customized online action center. This tool improved the rate at which their advocates engaged by allowing them to tweet, email, or call their legislator all with one click.

Download VFAI's case study to see how they use one online advocacy platform to integrate its grassroots advocacy campaigns.

For even more tips, check out Five Steps for Building a Successful Grassroots Campaign.

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