Across Washington and the state capitals, advocacy organizations are preparing for the 2020 election. Communications. Advertising. Personnel. Planning. The effort can be intimidating, even for the largest organizations and the most experienced pros.
So the experts here at Phone2Action, who have decades of experience with elections, created a cheat sheet. Our goal was to provide a simple, usable template for election planning for those who need something with minimal complications.
Because advocacy is about more than stern faces, and can benefit from the occasional smile, we decided to use an acronym. We call it the P.O.W.E.R. Plan, and it’s just one of the tools you’ll find in our 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 an effective strategy.
A Simple Blueprint
If you are looking for a simple guide to follow, The P.O.W.E.R. plan covers the basics:
- Plan around events. P is for planning, as in planning for all the things that we can see coming in an election year. The campaign landscape is studded with perennials. Debates. Primaries. State of the Union. Party conventions. Creating a plan for how your organization will communicate around all of these major events will make election-year advocacy much easier.
- Organize your advocates for rapid response. O is for organizing, as in organizing your advocates to take action when you need them. Begin election communications as soon as you can, to show your audience that you plan to be active in the 2020 races. Then, start engaging that audience. One common tool is asking advocates to sign a pledge to vote. It’s a low-risk request. If you warm them up and get them active now, they’ll be ready to respond when things get hot.
- Write relevant content. W is for writing, as in the type that you will be doing non-stop as the election progresses. Dodge some stress and write the language you want to use for your issues in advance. The goal is to communicate clearly on the issues you find vital and explain why your audience should care.
- Educate your advocates. E is for educating, which means explaining why your organization cares about the election, what’s at stake and why it is important to your audience. Elections are noisy and you are a trusted source. This is a major opportunity to bring value.
- React quickly. R is for reacting, as in being ready to move quickly and take advantage of the moment when something happens in the campaign that impacts your organization or your issues. Have your messaging, your advocates and your technology ready to respond.
Of course, an election-year plan can get far more detailed. Social media, earned media, live events—most organizations could fill a book with all they want to do. But there’s beauty in simplicity. And efficacy, too. If big plans overwhelm your team, your budget or your leadership, or if you just want to keep things straightforward, here’s an opportunity to lean on something simple—and powerful.
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