Civic Engagement and Advocacy Blog

Why Grassroots Advocacy?     Advocacy = Donations

Posted by Brent Willis on 2/3/16 7:14 AM

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Is your organization looking for more revenue?  Which one isn't, right?  

The simple answer is, if you create more value, the organization will realize more donations.  Sounds straight forward, doesn't it. Well, it can be...


It's proven that grassroots advocacy creates more impassioned members / donors, who are then  7–10X more likely to donate. If you could turn your newsletter list or donor base into active advocates, who would then be better engaged and donate more and possibly at higher amounts, would you?  I'm betting, YES!

Grassroots Advocacy 101: Point out important issues and pending legislation to your members/domors and give them the tools to contact their representatives in order to influence legislative action that effects their lives. The Result:  You reep the benefits of their action to help drive satifactory policy decisions and they feel their voice counts and prove they value the organization and its efforts to involve them with a monetary donation.

The proverbial WIN / WIN.

It seems like a simple process doesn't it? Then why do so many member organizations struggle with motivating their members and sparking true grassroots lobbying and advocacy? 

Perhaps it has something to do with the lack of real social media engagement, the cut and paste letters that not only get ignored by legislative officials AND annoy members, or the blatant lack of transparency in government relations. Civic engagement isn't just an issue for your membership organization's success, it is a pervasive issue in the US.

To achieve success with your grassroots advocacy email campaign, it will require:

  1. Tracking, execution and reporting software tools for your membership organization to engage members on the issues they show interest in.
  2. Simple, flexible, and direct communication options for your members to contact their representatives and, most importantly,
  3. A willingness to involve, and listen to, the members on public policy while giving them a simple, quick, efficient process to follow so they know their time is well spent.

Getting members to open, forward, or reply to email is difficult enough. To get them to take action, the action has to require as little effort from them as possible while at the same time allowing them to use their own words.  For this reason, it has to be more than just a top down message. Donors and members need to feel it is their voice, direct to their representative, in order to mobilize and energize a grassroots advocacy campaign.

When creating the Votility Rapid Response tool, we were concerned first with the member experience. The whole point of the tool is to enable membership and donor based organizations to make contacting legislative representatives easier for their members. It has to be as easy and simple but, at the same time, flexible and customizable so that the message delivered has more impact than a standard form letter.

What is a Rapid Response Advocacy Email Campaign and how is it different from regular email communications?

What impact would your email campaigns have if they were more than just a one-time email asking your members to contact their representatives about a specific cause or pending legislation? What if they could contact multiple representatives at multiple levels, with the click of a button? What if you gave them more than just an email address (or a phone number to call), but could give them a message that they could customize?

Once a donor member receives an 'Action Alert' email from the organization, delivered through the 3rd party email provider of your choice, the specific URL link the member clicks will bring them to your organization's branded landing page. That page will have the specific message and/or bill that your organization is encouraging them to read and contact their selected representatives about. It can also show the policy position of your organization, along with a call to action for them to send an email or put a call into their designated representative. The system does the rest of your grassroots advocacy work from there.

The Votility Rapid Response Email System enables your donor members to email their representatives with your guidance. This is not just another email campaign or form letter, it puts your members in touch with their representatives and allows you, the organizational administrator, to customize and track the entire campaign. 

It's another tool your organization is providing them so they can stay more on the issues affecting them, the Industry, the cause, etc...  You're creating more value for them as a part of your organization than they can get from a competitive organization. 

And remember, Advocacy = Donations.  If they're already engaged and passionate about the organization, and you're now providing them a new tool , a new member benefit, so their voice can be heard on important issues that affect them, their cause, their family, etc., they're likely to reward that new benefit with increased donations.

Watch this short video to see how a typical administrator of a Votility Enterprise advocacy software account would create a personalized and automated grassroots advocacy email campaign with Votility.

Schedule a demo to learn more about how the Votility Rapid Response Email System can help your organization mobilize and engage donors in advocacy and increase your donations.

Brent Willis

Written by Brent Willis

People want to be heard other then just voting every 2,4, or 6 years. Groups that engage them and measure it are positioned to win the public policy battles of the future. My vision and mission is to revive the civic engagement of the American citizen in government relations; at the federal, state, and local level.

Topics: advocacy software, grassroots campaigns, civic engagement, advocacy software demos