Campaign and advocacy professionals for years have used different outreach playbooks. But with both sets of practitioners now facing similar challenges, that era is ending.
Just like candidate campaigns, elected officials at every level now must weed through the noise created by hot button issues in order to hear directly from their constituents and understand their concerns.
While this may be a new frontier for those in Capitol buildings, grassroots mobilization tactics have been rapidly evolving on the campaign side, and you should take advantage of them. If public affairs, advocacy, and association practitioners really want to be effective on whatever Hill they’re working on, they need to steal a couple pages from the campaign playbook. Here are four tactics they should be using in their outreach:
One of the most versatile phone components, effective two-way communication through text messages, is an important part of mobilizing grassroots and meeting people right where they are. You can share a video message, build your list, send real-time updates on legislation, or send links to help constituents engage with lawmakers.
Patch Through Calls
Nothing gets a politician’s attention like calls from their constituents, especially numerous calls. Patch through calls connect constituents who are on your side, directly to lawmakers’ offices to voice their opinion. Now, these have been part of the advocacy playbook for years, so it’s about applying a campaigner’s mentality to this tactic.
This starts with targeting constituents who will have the greatest impact on your lawmaker. Seniors have a more powerful voice on issues like social security and inheritance tax, while parents of school-age children are more compelling on school choice or parents’ rights. Every patch through call is a chance to educate persuadable, middle-of-the-road voters on your issue – which could pay off later on when that becomes a hot issue in a closely contested race.
Telephone Town Halls
On a campaign, a candidate will use a telephone town hall to reach an audience of thousands, expanding their name ID and taking questions from the audience. Public policy battles can be won with telephone town halls, as well by updating constituents about upcoming legislation and equipping them with the right message to talk to elected officials. Attendees will have the ability to ask questions and you can collect valuable data, including email addresses.
Now, virtually every campaign has a website for greater information sharing and interaction with voters — why not for public affairs issues? Simple landing pages can provide quick and easy messaging on your issues as well as generate quality email contacts to lawmakers. This online army of digital advocates will be another way to show lawmakers where their constituents really stand.
To accomplish your public policy goals, it’s time to start channeling your inner campaign flack and find ways to effectively identify, persuade, and mobilize people to pressure their elected officials.
Nicole Schlinger is the founder and president of CampaignHQ, the best conservative call center in America. Since 1999, CampaignHQ has delivered millions of effective P2P text messages, voter ID, persuasion, advocacy, patch through, and GOTV calls for winning campaigns and conservative organizations.