The rules for engaging advocates and key stakeholders of organizations are rapidly changing. In my article for Campaigns and Elections, I explain why the old ways of outreach no longer work and how the influx of technology and social media is currently challenging the conventional ladder of advocate engagement.
Traditionally, organizations have started with less risky and less intrusive asks from their advocates (for example, signing a petition) and slowly, over time, they will move them up the ladder of engagement, offering them more sophisticated calls-to-action (calling their elected officials, emailing, requesting a donation, etc.). Social media is changing everything. When an organization embraces social for engagement, it is super-charging the potential creativity that can be unleashed on a campaign and is meeting advocates where they are. Social media can be used for acquisition, socialization and education, and effective, publicly visible advocacy.
Another direct benefit of using technology is the abundance of reporting that informs strategy. By continually monitoring the effectiveness of different calls-to-action, resources can be reallocated to maximize time, energy, and impact. These new technologies and the associated data collected help level the playing field for groups of all sizes to reach potential supporters. It’s not necessarily the biggest organizations with the most money who will have an influential say in shaping policy, but rather those that use the power of new technology and important moments to move their supporters to action.