Forbes: Nine Tips For Launching A Successful Grassroots Advocacy Campaign

Forbes: Nine Tips For Launching A Successful Grassroots Advocacy Campaign

A grassroots advocacy campaign is a great way for mission-oriented organizations to mobilize their memberships and take action in the political or social sphere. The more awareness an organization can bring to important and specific issues, the greater the amount of public support for their chosen cause. 

Not quite sure where to begin with your efforts? We asked a panel of Forbes Nonprofit Council members their best advice for forming a grassroots advocacy campaign. Their best answers are below. 

1. Listen To The People 

The best advocacy campaigns center the leadership on women of color who have their finger on the pulse of the community. If your strategy is being developed far away from those who will be impacted by your idea, put your plan away, grab your shoes and go listen to people. Ask what they want, how they plan to do it, get out of their way and invest in them to make it happen! – Denise Collazo, Faith in Action 

2. Find A Leader 

Find someone who is passionate, focused and determined to launch and manage the advocacy campaign. This keeps it structured and provides an efficient way to complete the campaign. – Gloria Horsley, Open to Hope 

3. Make Sure Everyone Remains Focused 

The top three requirements in real estate are location, location, location. The top three in grassroots advocacy is focus, focus, focus. Grassroots campaigns start small and gain their power by the sheer number of people joining the movement. With so many groups working on the same causes, it is difficult to attract people to your group. Stay focused on your goals and people will join you. – Tom Van Winkle, Hinsdale Humane Society 

4. Get Feedback From Leaders 

Create strong campaign material to share with a handful of leaders who will be proactive in spreading your message. Get feedback on their successes to share with the masses, including step-by-step instructions on how others can be successful at the grassroots level. There is strength in numbers and individuals are more likely to participate in a campaign when they feel confident. – Dr. Sherry McAllister, Foundation for Chiropractic Progress 

5. Craft A Mission 

To form a grassroots advocacy campaign, be sure to include both those with lived experiences and compassionate advocates. Together, they can craft a unique one-sentence mission that tells the vital core of their story. This way you will ensure the story will be heard by those who will join as champions. – KellyAnn Romanych, Veterans Legal Institute 

6. Engage Partners and Donors 

For our prenatal campaign, we started by engaging our field partners in local communities around the world that we wanted to reach with prenatal multivitamins. We equipped our partners with tools to communicate our key campaign messaging to at-risk women in their communities. Simultaneously, we went to our largest donors to help us elevate awareness about the campaign. Both approaches were essential for success. – Howard Schiffer, Vitamin Angels 

7. Understand Everyone’s Passion 

Grassroots campaigns have the ability to draw people from diverse communities and ethnicities together for a common cause. My advice is to first have a “why” session. Go around the room or post a question on social media asking each person why they are passionate about the issue. People will get to know each other better and realize that we are better together for a variety of reasons. – Kimberly Lewis, Goodwill Industries of East Texas, Inc. 

8. Let Influential Individuals Share Your Story 

Ask leaders in your community to share and tell your story to others. Let these leaders make your stories their own and thank them for their help and engagement. You will always be successful when you’re able to listen, share and invite others into your missions. Sharing real stories creates transparency about what is going well and what isn’t. – Patrick Coleman, GiveCentral 

9. Develop Objectives And An Action Plan 

Grassroots advocacy works best when it emerges from the deeply-felt needs of the people and communities affected. Those needs have to be translated into clear, achievable objectives. Find and engage with advocates to harness their energy. Build a consensus on the campaign’s objectives. Plan and act. The key is to maintain energy and momentum while doing careful planning. – Jose Luis Castro, Vital Strategies

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