Politics is a Business of Relationships
With Capitol Impact’s Grassroots Advocacy System your organization can gather advocates, collect information, communicate, and issue advocacy calls to action online.
Politics is a business of relationships!
Capitol Impact’s Grassroots Advocacy System is designed to enable advocacy managers to gather, inform, and engage advocates in an online environment. A comprehensive set of sophisticated advocacy tools can help your organization at each level of advocacy, from grassroots to grasstops.
Built on the backbone of our People Database and compatible with all our other tools, the grassroots system links your people to their legislators, enabling you to create smaller groups to deliver targeted advocacy messages and action alerts. You can inform advocates with built in blast email capability and by posting news stories online. Advocates can join your Online Advocacy Network to step forward and get involved. Joining the network gives your advocates access to your own personalized Mobile Advocacy Network system where you can better communicate with your advocates. Once they’ve joined your network they can record their Key Political Relationships to create new avenues for you to reach legislators. Identify your Grasstops Advocates by tracking Interactions your advocates have with legislators.
Capitol Impact’s Grassroots Advocacy System provides all the tools you need to create an effective advocacy strategy and gives your advocates added value for participating in your advocacy efforts.
The Advocacy Overview page is the top-down view of your advocacy system. Get detailed statistics from each aspect of the system and understand where your strengths and weaknesses are. Cut through your data and view advocate information for a specific committee or get an overview of the breakdown of all the relationships in your database. Manage your action alerts and view your advocate interactions. The Advocacy Overview brings all the information from your database up front and right at your fingertips so that you can create the perfect advocacy strategy.
The PEOPLE file is Capitol Impact’s customer relationship management system (CRM). This application uses Microsoft SQL to store and cross reference data about the people who support your organization and the companies/institutions that they work for.
The People module has four methods of access. The control panel below shows that users can search through your People database by key word group. People can be associated with as many groups as you wish. The concept her eis that you have only one record per person, but are able to include that record into any groupings to enable rapid access to lists from your database.
The Search option enables users to quickly isolate records searching for values by the most commonly accessed fields. Click on the item that you want to use as a search field and enter the text in the box at the top of the search table. Click Go and the system will locate all the records that fit that criteria.
If you have our Event Impact system, for on-line event registration, you may also select lists of people by event. In the case of events, you have three list options: attendees, exhibitors or speakers depending on what your event was registering.
The fourth method of searching the PEOPLE file is to use the QUERIES button in the menu at the top, which provides for more customized searches. The Queries menu allows you to combine groups to build one list, or search for people in a group who also live in a specific city, or who are in a specific legislative district.
Using the PEOPLE file, you will be able to retrieve names and send out e-mail communications for your grassroots efforts, or review activities that people have performed.
A grassroots lobbying system is only effective if people can identify their legislators and communicate with them on the issues. To solve the problem of identifying who the legislators are for a specific person, you start with that persons address. The best address is a home address because that is where they vote and where they can impact a legislators electability. The second best address is a work address, but this will link a person to the legislator responsible for the work place, not where the person votes.
Geocoding is the process of relating the address to the legislative district. Each state has a master table of all Census City Blocks and their corresponding House, Senate and Congressional districts. We use the process of geocoding an address to determine and append the Census City Block code to the address for an individual. The diagram below shows that process which uses an address locator software package to relate the address to its corresponding census city block. Then we use the master table of blocks to districts for that state to accurately assign that address to the proper districts.
The result of this process insures that anyone assigned to a legislative district is assigned to the correct district, with no ambiguity.
The result of the geocoding process is to link a person in the people file to their corresponding legislators for the address specified in their PEOPLE record.
The example below shows PEOPLE file record for a person with the persons contact information on the left, their legislators from the geocoding process on the right, and the key word groups they are in at the bottom.
If you believe as we do that politics is a business of relationships, then once you have your database geocoded, you will want to collect the information from your supporters as to which legislators they know and how they know them.
You start by creating an invitation to invite them to join your grassroots network. Simply enter the information text into the editor for the invitation and this same text will be sent to everyone you choose with a link to the system login for their record in your people file.
People can only see their own data and cannot see the data for any other supporter in the system
On this screen, the supporter tells you what they are willing to do for your organization so you know you can call on them.
When your supporters have responded to your invitation, and filled in the legislators they know, the grassroots database begins to look like the sample below.
Under each legislator, you will see your grassroots database divided into three sections. The first section is people who know a legislator and how hey know them. Those that have personal/close relationships are color coded in gold to highlight this valuable relationship.
The next section is referred to as District members and reflects people who live/work in a legislators district who have logged in and indicated they know someone or they want to support your organizations efforts. These people have shown an interest in your organization.
The last segment is the list of people who live in the district. This is your total grassroots group for any district.
You have the ability to e-mail any segment: key relationships, District members or constituents, allowing you to choose a strategy for how you want to get your message out.
On the grassroots database and on the PEOPLE module you have e-mail buttons that allow you to e-mail anyone int eh database or e-mail people with a legislative district.Capitol Impact’s grassroots system has no limit on the number of e-mails you can sen, or the groups that you can send them to.
At any given time, you can create e-mail lists from combinations of existing groupings. if your e-mail requires that they contact their legislator, and you are using our grassroots system, you may choose to have the link to their legislators inserted in the e-mail so the supporter can click the link and get the contact information for each legislator thereby allowing them to send e-mails to the legislator from their own e-mail system, making them more personalized.
Organize By County
Capitol Impact also recognizes that in many states, the politics of the state of tied o county constituent bases. Since we use Census geography to determine legislative district assignments, one of the by products of this process is to enable the system to pull all supporters in a county.
From he PEOPLE file, you can select a list of all supporters in any county in your state and e-mail or analyze that universe of people.
Knowing who receives and opens your grassroots e-mails is important to assessing if your campaign efforts are being heard. Capitol Impact provides a unique e-mail statistics routine, capturing the total number of e-mails sent, listing who opened the e-mail and listing who did not receive it.
The e-mail statistics section stores your results by month so you can go back and compare new efforts to past efforts and guage whether your supporters are more or less responsive over time.
Educate On Issues
Publish textual comments about the key issues using the News Module
E-mail your supporters as frequently as you need to convey the key points and progress on an issue.Capitol Impact tools enable you to communicate in a variety of ways to insure that you are educating people on the issue, its impact and how you can improve the results at the capitol.
Not all organizations who want a grassroots system are concerned about state level politics. Local politicians such as city council members also need to hear from constituents about the issues at the local level.
Capitol Impact’s grassroots system can be tailored to handle the relationship of constituents to city council districts, providing local chambers of commerce or county and city governments a grassroots tool for their use.
Often times, knowing how your supporters or employees are engaged in their community can help an organization in developing its reputation within the community. The Capitol Impact grassroots system has been extended for corporate clients to allow them to collect the organizations that their employees are involved in.
The strategy behind this data allows the corporation to see if they have employees already involved in larger community organizations, or if they need to have someone get involved. They can send local people to community events as opposed to bringing in people from outside the community.
The system can be tailored to collect community involvement data to support your organizations efforts to be involved in the community.
Online Advocacy From Start To Finish:
Using Grassroots Technology to Create a Powerful Advocacy Network
Whether you are starting from scratch or looking for a way to improve your current grassroots network, our new E-Book has valuable information that you can use to improve your organization’s voice at the capitol. After over a decade of work with grassroots organizers across the nation, we are ready to share our valuable insight with you.
Download our new E-Book today and learn:
- Why You Should Build an Advocacy Network
- How to Use Inbound Marketing to Improve Grassroots Advocacy
- How to Use Your Supporter’s Relationships to Reach Legislators
- Geo-Coding vs. ZIP Codes: What’s the Difference?
- How to Use Two Types of Grassroots Campaigns That Will Have a Big Impact on Legislators
With a Grassroots Advocacy System from Capitol Impact you can:
- Gather a network of motivated grassroots advocates
- Assign advocates automatically to their legislative district
- Ask advocates to step forward and indicate their level of commitment
- Push information out to your audience with news stories and emails
- Record your advocates key political relationships
- Run grassroots campaigns and online petitions from your computer
- Improve your voice at the capitol and make your opinions heard