Creating a grassroots advocacy campaign that speaks to your audience and moves them to take action requires a certain amount of creativity. Even if you have a compelling message behind your campaign, if you want to get results, you also must have a sound strategy for broadcasting your message. We identified successful grassroots advocacy campaigns and dug into what tactics they used to drive their success. Read on to get inspiration from Expedia, the Wilderness Society, and the American Society of Anesthesiologists and learn how they successfully activated advocates and influenced policy.
Expedia – HomeAway, VRBO
700 emails in 8 hours to a single city council and a deferred vote
Organization Type: Corporation
Goal: To stop a southern state’s city council from banning vacation rentals in the city.
Targeting Level: Local
Campaign: A southern state’s city council advanced a last-minute vote on the future of short-term vacation rentals in the city. Expedia had to move quickly, having less than 24 hours to connect their local HomeAway and VRBO users with the lawmakers. With the help of Phone2Action’s grassroots advocacy platform and Customer Success team, they set up a campaign website and emailed all of the property managers and owners that used HomeAway and VRBO in the area within a matter of hours, urging them to contact their city council members immediately.
Result: Even though it was a last-minute campaign, the results had a miraculous effect. “In a matter of 8 hours, we had over 700 emails sent into the city council, which for a municipality, for a city council, that’s actually huge. And the next day, they deferred that vote because there was such a high volume of correspondence from constituents. We even saw city council members tweeting that they had heard from their constituents [and] that they needed more time to think about how they were going to vote on the issue,” explained Philip Minardi, Director, Policy Communications at Expedia.
The Wilderness Society
More than 1,500 calls to elected officials
Organization Type: 501(c)(3)
The Wilderness Society is a nonprofit conservation organization that works to protect wildlands in the U.S.
Goal: To urge the White House and Congress to not change the national monument status of any established public lands, and raise public awareness of the issue.
Targeting Level: Federal, Regulatory
Campaign: The Wilderness Society put together a very creative and attention-grabbing website, parksforsale.com, which parodied a luxury real estate site. Using the Phone2Action engagement and broadcasting tools, they promoted it widely on social media, including Twitter and Facebook. They first campaigned to drive calls to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s office. They then ran geo-targeted Facebook ads to drive calls and tweets to Senators in states with national monuments that were under review.
Result: Although this campaign did not result in a legislative win, it did achieve its goal of raising awareness of the review of national monuments. The Wilderness Society grew their advocate list by the thousands, and their advocates made more than 1,500 calls to elected officials.
American Society of Anesthesiologists
8,000 messages sent to Congress and a policy change successfully blocked
Organization Type: 501(c)(6)
The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an association of physicians that works to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology and improve the care of the patient.
Goal: To keep physician anesthesiologists in the operating room at Veterans Affairs hospitals. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proposed a new policy that would allow nurse anesthetists to serve in VA hospital operating rooms without an overseeing physician anesthesiologist present.
Targeting Level: Federal, Regulatory
Campaign: The American Society of Anesthesiologists launched a campaign called Protect Safe VA Care explaining their position and providing a portal to submit comments to the Federal Register regarding the proposed policy. They used paid ads on Facebook as well as display ads to attract veterans, anesthesiologists, and surgeons to their campaign page.
Result: More than 230,000 people visited Safevacare.org. 8,000 messages were sent to elected officials, and 140 members of Congress supported the ASA’s position on the new rule. On December 13, 2016, the Department of Veterans Affairs issued a rule that would specifically exclude nurse anesthetists from a full practice authority model of care, officially preserving the existing standard of having physician-led anesthesia.
Read about all 20 Proven Grassroots Advocacy Campaigns
Want to read about 17 more grassroots advocacy campaigns from other nonprofits, corporations, and associations? Download the whitepaper 20 Proven Grassroots Advocacy Campaigns to Make Your Own.
Subscribe for Updates
Get the latest civic engagement trends, best practices, and news, right in your inbox.