Advocacy is a challenge every year, as the noise in Washington and state capitals grows louder and more organizations compete for attention. But it’s never more so than in an election year—and 2020 will be particularly tough.
Voters are polarized. There are more than 20 candidates seeking the presidency. And it’s hard to imagine an election with more at stake. The 2020 election will decide how the United States addresses immigration, gun control, healthcare, trade, technology decisions and a great deal more.
Smart organizations are getting ready now.
To help that process, Phone2Action is offering a free 12-page guide called How to Sharpen Your Advocacy in an Election Year. The guide covers how to assess your current capabilities, set election-year goals, and create a plan to protect and advance your interests as America endures months of campaigning before heading to the polls.
“This is a vital election,” said Ximena Hartsock, founder and COO of Phone2Action. “It’s hard to overstate how much is at stake. Organizations that want to be heard need to play their best game. Planning and preparation will make that happen.”
Why this Election Matters
The U.S. is not just electing a president. Voters will also choose 11 governors, 34 senators, 435 representatives and literally thousands of state lawmakers. That’s just the top of the ticket. There will also be ballot measures, statewide offices, city and county seats and a great deal more. One town in Vermont literally elects the dog catcher.
The result is that issues—your issues—are going to be discussed again and again.
From town halls and televised debates to campaign rallies, candidates will maintain a steady flow of commentary on issues that are important to your organization. In many cases, candidates will frame the story on those issues, as President Trump has done on immigration and trade.
Whether your organization has a voice will depend on the strength of your advocacy game in 2020. The ability to conduct rapid response using the latest technology and to move your audience to action will be the difference between watching the action and participating.
Begin Planning Now
Remember this: your audience very likely wants to hear from you on election-related matters. Voters get overwhelmed by the noise in an election, and many turn to organizations they trust for information. Trade associations and nonprofits are in a great position to educate their members.
Companies also have a role to play. While corporations have traditionally stayed quiet during elections, a growing body of research suggests that voters trust their employers and want companies to engage on social and political topics.
“Today’s consumers not only believe strongly that companies should take positions on social and political issues, but they are actively seeking out information on where companies stand,” Julie Hootkin, a partner at Global Strategy Group, which studied the role companies play in social and political activism. “As a result, those companies that choose to step out on issues stand to be rewarded, while those that choose to sit on the sidelines may have a price to pay.
However, organizations that want to communicate effectively in the 2020 election need to begin planning now. The Democratic debates have already begun. The State of the Union address often takes place in January. February will bring the Iowa caucuses and the start of primary season.
To be effective, your program should be designed, built, tested and ready to go by December of 2019. At many organizations, this is a daunting prospect. Yet, with a little determination and a plan, many organizations can make progress quickly. Download our free guide to set some parameters and make your start.
As Jeb Ory, founder and CEO of Phone2Action, once wrote, “Brands that fail to tell their story invite others to do it for them.”
Subscribe for Updates
Get the latest civic engagement trends, best practices, and news, right in your inbox.