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An organization that participates in grassroots advocacy efforts often has a large base of supporters that they utilize to influence the agenda at the capitol. Typically, the advocates answer calls-to-action by making phone calls, signing petitions, sending emails, etc. As we discussed in a previous article, an organization with even a small group of active, interested, and engaged advocates can have a huge impact on the legislature. However, large numbers and loud voices are not always appropriate for some advocacy campaigns. So what can an advocacy manager do to better utilize their advocacy network without exhausting their supporters? One method we have found is incredibly effective is utilizing your advocate’s key political relationships.

Many organizations engaged in advocacy at the state level have members that are close to their local legislators. You many not even be aware that your advocacy network is full of legislator’s neighbors, friends, family, or other types of relationships. Being able to track these types of relationships and utilizing them with a grassroots advocacy system gives you access to a whole new strategy to reach legislators. A few phone calls from a legislator’s social, professional, and personal contacts that support your position can have a bigger impact than hundreds of emails from random constituents because they are more likely to make an impact the legislator. Now not only are you effectively getting your message across, you are able to improve your voice at the capitol by leveraging legislators’ connections to your organization.

So how can you track these relationships? With Grassroots Advocacy Technology you should be able to send out a request to all your supporters to update their relationships with legislators in your system. Your advocates should be able to log in and find the legislators that they know at the capitol. The advocates then can describe the type of relationship they have, whether it is a casual relationship like “We go to the same church” or a close personal relationship like “We were roommates in college and I was the best-man at his wedding”. Obviously personal close relationships are more valuable to you as an advocacy manager than casual relationships, but having advocates with any type of relationship to a legislator are more valuable than people who simply live and vote in a person’s district.

Once your advocates have indicated that they know someone at the capitol you need to know how they are willing to help you reach them. Another feature of a Grassroots Advocacy system is the ability to ask advocates to fill out a form that expresses their level of commitment. Are they willing to write an email but not necessarily willing to make a phone call? You need to know so that when you issue a call-to-action you know how you want to approach your advocates.

Understanding your advocates’ level of commitment and utilizing their key political relationships can greatly increase the effectiveness of your advocacy efforts. To learn more about how tracking key political relationships is easy with grassroots technology check out our next webinar: Utilizing Grassroots Advocacy Technology.

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