Civic Engagement and Advocacy Blog

How to Evaluate an Advocacy Platform – Part Two

Posted by Brent Willis on 9/22/15 1:01 PM

Specific technology for your business model is a love/hate thing.

You love it when it’s all installed and working correctly, but could certainly dislike the process of getting to that point. It often means more demos, more research, hours of contemplating and analyzing, often with multiple team members whose schedules don't match up with yours, etc., etc… It can be frustrating and, if you're the point person making the decision, there can be a lot at stake, too. Even though the process can be all of these things, spending time asking the right questions and reaching the best conclusion for your organization is worth the time expended.

If you conduct advocacy and need your members to get involved in order to affect public policy, how can you effectively evaluate a technical solution?

Here are some broad points many will already understand:

  • It starts with the end in mind. What's the organizational goal for this particular piece of software? What are we trying to accomplish? What are our essential requirements versus nice-to-haves?
  • Does this need to be integrated with our primary organizational software or can the advocacy platform stand alone?
  • Who are the industry players in this area? Research their sites for features and benefits.
  • Set up demos and analyze the features and functions, and map what each vendor offers to your requirements.

Evaluating Advocacy Software, an Admittedly Biased View – Part One

Posted by Brent Willis on 9/4/15 11:26 AM

Technology... LOVE it or HATE it...

It is what it is—critically important.

So, the question is, "How do I evaluate the many options on the market and not make a critical mistake?" Well, there's good news and bad news. The bad news is that mistakes aren't usually revealed until after the license agreement is signed. The good news is that we're going to try and help you with some questions to ask prior to that agreement being signed, so everyone's on the same page. But, how to decide among different software platforms, especially if you don't have a technology-minded staff? We're going to try and help.

Before we get to the questions you should be asking, we need to examine the structure of your organization and how you make purchasing decisions. This often determines how you're buying in the first place.


How do you determine the success of your nonprofit?

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 5/8/15 12:50 PM

Is it balanced budget, increased member acquisition or retention? Maybe you have a fundraising goal, or an advocacy mission?

I have been talking to a lot of nonprofit organizations lately, and some of the questions they have been asking include;

Is Your Member's Civic Engagement Getting Lost in Spreadsheets?

Posted by Brent Willis on 10/30/13 7:00 AM

Do your various technology platforms 'Talk' to each other? Are you able to get a bird's eye view of the success of your grassroots campaigns, or are those valuable civic engagement insights getting lost in spreadsheets that have been exported from separate systems? If that is you, then you know you are losing not just the knowledge of who your best advocates are, but you are wasting valuable time, energy and resources on duplicated actions.  That's the simple truth and  what we all strive to avoid.


7 Membership Marketing Ideas for Chambers of Commerce

Posted by Brent Willis on 4/30/13 12:13 PM

Plus Online Membership Management Best Practices

Attracting new members to your organization can be achieved in a variety of ways. While methods vary, all efforts to grow your membership need to be based on a few simple concepts, namely: