Associations involved in legislative advocacy are responsible for turning their audience from casual association members to a force of informed and engaged advocates. What are some ways that associations can better engage their membership to improve their legislative advocacy? Here are 3 tips you can use to improve the way your association reaches its members to better engage them on the issues.
Keep Your Audience Informed
The best way to engage your audience is by keeping them informed. Because they are a part of your organization, chances are they are interested in the issues that you are monitoring. Keeping your audience informed can be as easy as sending out a weekly “Legislative Update from the Capitol” or publishing news alerts on your website. For those associations that utilize Legislative Tracking Software, giving your audience the ability to view the legislation that you are tracking and leave their comments and opinions on bills is a great way to encourage two-way communication to better engage them on the issues. When your members are informed and feel involved in the conversation they are more likely to become advocates that you can call on when you need to get your voice heard. Keeping your audience informed is the first and most obvious step to improving your organization’s legislative advocacy. But what else can you do to better engage your audience?
Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience allows you to better deliver information that is valuable to them. Do you have a group of members that are really interested in a certain issue? By segmenting down your audience you can better engage them on things that interest them. Knowing your audience can also help you better engage your elected officials. Grassroots Advocacy Software can help you learn more about your audience by geo-coding your membership to their legislative districts, giving you counts of the members that you have in each legislator’s voting area. Now you know where your members vote, and as a result, which legislators you can focus on to get your message across. Additionally, many state and federal government officials are involved in the community, and chances are, some of your audience may know their legislators. Whether they grew up with them, go to the same church, or even live on the same block, if your members know their elected officials you can leverage these relationships to get your voice heard at the capitol. Some grassroots advocacy software can enable you to gather and record these relationships and leverage your member’s connections.
Use a Strategic Approach
Not every issue requires you to mobilize your entire audience of advocates. Sometimes, a few well-crafted letters or phone calls can be of greater help than hundreds of emails ever could. Additionally, constantly requesting that your members send emails and make phone calls can lead to advocacy fatigue. An effective advocacy manager knows how to balance their advocacy strategy with wide audience action alerts and smaller, more focused advocacy campaigns. For example, if a bill is moving through a committee and you have identified advocates living in the committee member’s districts, you can mobilize a small number of target advocates to contact their legislators. A legislator that receives messages from their constituents is more likely to listen. Knowing when and how to utilize your audience is the key to effective legislative advocacy.
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