Our interview series GrassScoops features grassroots advocacy changemakers from leading associations, nonprofits, and corporations each month. This month, we spoke with Eric Ebenstein, Head of North America Public Policy at DJI, the world’s largest civilian drone manufacturer. Eric dropped by our office so we could conduct the interview in person.
DJI advocates on the local, state, federal, and international levels, and so we picked Eric’s brain to learn how he approaches advocating across this range of governmental organizations. He told us about how drone owners tend to be a naturally enthusiastic group, and how one of the biggest challenges in his role is to educate the stakeholders about drones—most people have never seen one in person.
What advice do you have for people at organizations that are struggling to get their constituencies to engage and take action?
You have to try to give as much as possible, and this is true of government relations too. Give as much as you can and ask only what you need. With customers, it’s nice to be able to give them information about the community, before you write to them to ask them to send a letter to their elected official.
Can you tell us about some of the hyperlocal grassroots campaigns you’ve executed?
As soon as we find out that a particular city is considering an ordinance that we think is going to negatively impact our user base, we send out a message. We work a campaign to connect the user base to the government officials. We’ll send a message along the lines of, “Hey, ordinance X in city Y is pending next week, we’d love to have you show up, or write this letter, or send this message via Facebook to your legislator.” And the key is making it as easy as possible. And making them know who we are—by sharing some content with them in advance so that when they receive a call to action from us they know that they want to do it.
You can watch the full recording below.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Our Facebook the Legislator tool was discontinued on July 31, 2018 due to Facebook’s deprecation of the ability to post on legislators’ walls through third-party Facebook applications.
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