5 Questions Every Grassroots Effort Has to Answer
Today, we’re sharing the checklist we use with clients when setting up their grassroots or PAC effort. It’s a simple list, but an important first step in putting together the building blocks that’ll help determine exactly what you’re trying to accomplish, with what audience, in what way and over what period of time.
One thing to keep in mind when looking at this list – These aren’t questions that get answered once and put on a shelf. Instead, as you effort grows and evolves, you should revisit this checklist as often as needed to make sure you’re continually addressing the needs of your stakeholders.
So let’s dive in:
1. What does success look like? What are your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) ?
Let’s start with the basics. What is your effort trying to accomplish? Are you looking to sway a specific legislator or committee to vote in a certain way? Would you like to influence the CEO of a specific company? Or, are you simply looking to increase PAC participation by X% over a certain timeframe? Your goals are important and will help guide you in determining how you go about reaching them. Be sure to sketch out what you see success looking like and identify the KPIs that’ll help you determine whether or not you succeeded.
Note: Make sure you weigh quantity and quality when setting goals. 1000 letters may seem like a lot, but interaction with a legislator’s close friend or a handful of poignant stories may be just as effective. Balance and a layered approach will get you far in grassroots advocacy.
2. Who is your intended audience?
With a goal now in mind, it’s time to think about your audience. For some groups the answer may be staring them in the face. For a corporation’s PAC manager, the answer just might be “PAC-eligibles” or “Employees.” At the same time, it could very well be a specific department or division within the organization. For others, the answer may not come as quickly. For a trade association, are you looking to engage employees of member organizations or the general public as a whole? And is that audience segmented already, or can you easily group them into buckets?
Tip: Be sure to revisit this question every few months. Goals may shift, new channels may emerge and as the answers to other questions change, so too will your intended audience.
3. How do you plan to segment your intended audience?
Just as important as identifying your audience needs to be the question of how you plan to group together those you’ve chosen to be part of your effort. As mentioned above, segments may be as easy as specific departments within your company or even regions where your trade association has a presence. Remember to go deeper though and don’t limit yourself to the obvious groupings. Testing will come in handy here, as you may discover from the data that users who might have no reason to be segmented together can be put into the same bucket because they act similarly.
Quick Example: For the PAC manager, their obvious audience may be PAC-eligibles. In reality they should be messaging newly minted managers differently than C-level executives. And the same holds true for the grassroots manager for a trade association; messaging to one set of members may need to be, even should be, entirely different than the content sent to a separate group.
4. What messaging will you be using and how will you push it out?
Now that we have an idea of the audience and the segments that we’re going to create, we need to think about the issues we’ll be highlighting, the channels we’ll be targeting and the language we’ll be using with each group. Key to educating and empowering your stakeholders will be speaking to them through a channel their comfortable with in a language that they understand and want from you.
The secret here is that even within your individual segments, you should look to break your message into various buckets. What I mean by that is don’t just throw a 10 page PDF at your stakeholders and hope it sticks. Especially if you’re pushing that out to a target segment through a channel like Twitter, where the expectation is a short, quick informational burst.
Instead, look to break content up into “snackable bites,” a few key bullet points here, a couple paragraphs on the issue there and for those that want the in-depth read, the full case study. Segmenting your content to match your stakeholder groupings and channels employed will be key to empowering your users to act.
5. What are your calls-to-action? What’s going to drive the effort?
You’ve marked down what success looks like. You’ve identified the audience and segments that will get you there. You’ve thought about the issues, channels and messaging to convey that information to your stakeholders. The question now is, what are you going to be asking them to do to reach your goals?
A segment targeted through Facebook may be best served by longer form content and a petition. At the same time, a separate segment targeted through email may be better served with a phone call or letter-writing campaign.
Again, the answer to #5 shouldn’t be set in stone. In fact, far from it. As you gather data points and start to learn about your stakeholders, you’ll be able to adjust your gameplan and find the right balance that works for you. Segments you once thought would respond well to certain messaging may change how they want to be addressed. Those that were once active on Facebook may have moved to Twitter.
The key here is to constantly monitor the data that you’re effort is generating. By seeing what messaging, calls-to-action and more motivate your stakeholders to activate you can adjust as necessary and continue to push your effort forward.
Bonus Question: How will you use the data generated to better your organization?
As we’ve spoken about in other posts, every (in)action your users take is a data point that can be used elsewhere to strengthen your organization. From membership acquisition and renewals to whitepapers sales, event registrations and more, the more that you learn about your stakeholders – what moves them to action, what issues they care about most, etc – the better your organization can provide value while influencing decision makers and affecting change.
If you need help answering any of these questions, feel free to reach out to us. We’re happy to help and always willing to share a few of our client’s success stories.