The Struggle for Recruiting & Engagement

The Struggle for Recruiting & Engagement

Here’s a statistic that should give us all pause: roughly 30 million connections between advocates and public officials took place on the Phone2Action platform this year.

Clearly, advocacy organizations send an impressive number of communiques to generate that type of engagement. In the 2019 Advocacy Survey, 46 percent said that their organization communicates with advocates at least every two weeks and many do so more frequently. One in 10 say they communicate with advocates more than once a week.

But how well do these communiques perform? 

The survey showed that many advocacy professionals see this area as a challenge. More than half (53 percent) said it is difficult to move people to action and 46 percent said it is tough to acquire more supporters. Overall, the survey shows that, at many organizations, there is ample room for improvement when it comes to communicating with advocates.   

Download the 2019 Advocacy Survey to see the full results.

Communication Challenges

Almost 59 percent who responded to the survey said their audience engaged “somewhat well” with advocacy messages. That could be interpreted as good news, but it still leaves almost one third (32 percent) who said their audience responds “not very well,” “poorly” or even worse.

When asked how well audiences engage with advocacy communications, here’s what professionals had to say:

  • 9 percent said extremely well
  • 59 percent said somewhat well
  • 25 percent said not very well
  • 3.5 percent said poorly
  • 3.5 percent acknowledged that “we sometimes wonder if anyone is even out there”

When asked a related question, how well audiences respond to calls to action, the results were similar.

  • 13 percent said extremely well
  • 59 percent said somewhat well
  • 21 percent said not very well
  • 5 percent said poorly
  • 2 percent admitted that “we hear crickets”

Communication Solutions

Recruiting new advocates and moving people to action are challenges that have burdened advocacy professionals for decades. But there are solutions that can increase impact—if your organization is willing to modernize tools and tactics. 

The survey shows that many organizations still find that difficult. When asked which tools advocacy professionals rely upon most, the top two answers were email (95 percent) and organic social media (66 percent), both channels that are known to be saturated. Meanwhile, modern tools that have proven to be effective showed lower adoption. 

For example, 40 percent said they do not use professional advocacy software. Yet modern advocacy systems increase efficiency, support advanced tools like text messaging and social media lead ads, and have powerful analytics that help teams show the value of their efforts. It’s a smart move for organizations that want to improve performance. To learn more about how a modern system can help, read The Case for Professional Advocacy Software, a guide to upgrading your tools.

Similarly, fewer than half the respondents to the survey (47 percent) said they use text messaging. Yet text messages have a 99 percent open rate; click rates in the double digits; and conversion rates that are many times the industry average. The lists are often smaller, but the people on those lists reliably take action. For organizations that want to improve recruiting and engagement, text messaging is a serious option. 

Of course, those are just two examples. There are many more. To learn more about the problems facing advocacy programs, and how smart organizations have found solutions, download the 2019 Advocacy Survey.  

To hear our panel of experts discuss the survey results, download the 2019 Advocacy Survey webinar.

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