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How to Build Effective Advocacy Campaigns

In recent years, our society has become more and more vocal on social, environmental, and humanitarian issues facing our world. As a result, many firms have found success in creating advocacy campaigns to draw attention to real-world issues while simultaneously marketing their products or services. 

If you are looking to run your own advocacy campaign, this article will provide you with the tools and the knowledge needed to effectively do so. 

couple participating in advocacy campaign

What Is an Advocacy Campaign?

The goal of an advocacy campaign is to raise awareness about a certain cause, issue, policy, or position through individual marketing efforts with the hope of getting your audience to complete a certain action. 

Advocacy campaigns can take various forms depending on the cause and the organization or firm that is running the campaign. They can run alongside fundraising, lobbying, and community service. They can also be run in partnership with a nonprofit organization that is already actively spreading awareness about a certain issue. 

Regardless of the form they take, the main goal of an advocacy campaign is to create a mobilized effort and provide support. 

How to Create an Effective Advocacy Campaign 

To create an effective advocacy campaign, follow four simple steps. Begin by setting clear and reachable goals. Then, identify people who can help your cause. Next, establish a team to help you run your campaign. Lastly, craft a compelling message.

Let’s look at each step in detail.

Set Clear and Reachable Goals.

Advocacy campaigns can feel really daunting at first, especially ones that are trying to turn over laws or systems that have been in place for many years. That is why you must make sure you begin your campaign by laying out some feasible goals you would like to achieve. 

Setting these goals will make things run a lot smoother, allow you to track your progress better, and help you to work in a much more effective way. For example, if you have a goal of increasing the number of interactions with advocacy content on your website, make sure you include by how many interactions, include what sort of interactions you hope to achieve (comments, shares, etc), and include by how much you would like them to increase. 

One thing to make sure of is that your goals are as specific as possible. Here are key ideas to keep in mind when setting goals.

  • Connect your goals with action items you want you and your supporters to take. 
  • Make sure your goals are measurable in some sort of way. 
    • Quantifying your progress will help you to see where your campaign is excelling and where it needs some work. 
  • The goals need to have deadlines or at the very least have a reasonable timeline. 
    • You’ll stay motivated and focused knowing you have deadlines to meet. 
  • When it comes to content creation for your campaign, it’s always helpful to create an editorial calendar to help you stay on track. 

Your best bet is to set SMART goals. Goals that follow the SMART framework are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Determine Your Change-Makers.

In order to run an effective campaign, you need to identify people who will be able to help your cause. You can call these people the target of your advocacy campaign. They will be the catalyst of the change you are hoping to create. They are often of high position such as a manager of a firm or a group of people such as senators who can help sign your bill into law.

 Once you have identified who these change-makers are, you’re going to want to get clear on who these people are exactly. 

  • Whose side are they on if any? 
  • What are their beliefs and general philosophy on the issues you are hoping to solve? 
  • Which policies or causes have they supported in the past? 
  • What biases might they hold? 

It isn’t necessary to know every single frivolous detail about their lives. However, it’s important to know where they currently stand on certain issues and how their belief system influences their stance. It is also beneficial to know if any big firms or companies sponsor or support your change-makers. If they fit into your criteria, it might do you well to reach out to them as well. 

diverse group of people

Create Your Team 

You’ve set the goals and you’ve determined your targets. Now it is time to establish a reliable team to help you run your campaign. Unfortunately, it is not a one-man show. Effective advocacy campaigns have layers and, to successfully accomplish the tasks in each layer, you’re going to need to divide up the work amongst a few people. 

Campaign Admin

Campaign admins are like the head of operations. They keep the rest of the team in check and oversee the daily duties of the campaign. Campaign admins make sure that people are adhering to deadlines, completing their work, and staying on schedule. 

They are also the face of the campaign. That means they have a responsibility to be present and punctual when others contact the campaign. They have to be reliable, trustworthy, and organized in order to lead their team well. 

Campaign Manager

The campaign manager is someone who helps spread the word about the campaign and its goals by creating a solid content marketing strategy. With the input of their fellow teammates, they create different marketing items such as graphics, videos, webpages, and social media content. This content helps to bring the public’s and the target change makers’ attention to the cause. 

Volunteer Coordinator

Advocacy campaigns usually call upon the help of voluntary workers who are especially passionate about the work the campaign is doing. A volunteer coordinator will train them for their roles, educate them on campaign goals and messages, and make sure they help spread the word to others in the community. 

Supporters

Although supporters are not official members of your team, they are essentially the backbone of the entire advocacy campaign. Supporters of your campaign are the ones actively giving your cause a voice by signing petitions, calling legislatures, and spreading the word through social media advocacy. With that said, it is important to make sure your supporters feel inspired to help, encouraged to spread the word, and informed on the issues at hand. Your marketing manager will have prime responsibility in helping increase your number of supporters. 

Craft a Message

Now that you have formed your advocacy campaign team, you can now start figuring out how to craft a central message or statement about your cause that will serve as the framework for your campaign. 

When writing your message, think also about how you can not only inform your listeners about the issue but also how you can appeal to their hearts. Make things personal, give names to the faces of those who are affected, and be raw and emotional. Telling stories of real people or situations that are connected to your cause can make a huge difference in how the public sees the issue. 

In addition to providing factual information about the situation, you should also give feasible solutions to the problem and how your supporters can be part of it. Discuss what the world would be like if your solution was achieved. Explain why the solution is necessary and who would be positively affected by it. 

Once you’ve solidified the problem and offered up the solution, your marketing team will be able to create informational content to help gather support and inform the public. 

hand holding megaphone advocacy campaign

Advocacy Campaign Tactics

To help your advocacy campaign achieve success, you can employ several tactics including creating targeted messages, developing online petitions, contacting legislators, and hosting events.

Let’s discuss what each of these tactics entails.

Targeted Messages 

Targeted messages are when you encourage your supporters to send messages to legislatures and policymakers through your website. 

You can create a tool on your site that allows you to reach out to multiple legislatures at a time. This way, supporters of your cause will be able to take the same action and create a cohesive and consistent theme and messages

Online Petitions 

Petitions are a form of advocacy that clearly expresses support for a specific cause in which supporters of the cause can stand in agreement through their signature. Petitions can take physical and virtual forms. 

Make sure your petition has a place for the signer to include their contact information. That way, you’ll be better able to market opportunities to them better. 

Contact Legislators

When it comes to advocacy campaigns, conducting legislator research is a great way to make a difference. Through this method, you encourage supporters of your cause to look up the legislator for their district. The supporters then implore the legislator to help out your cause. 

If someone is unsure who their corresponding legislature is, you can create a tool where people can type in their addresses and find who their legislature is based on their location. Once they figure that out, you can encourage them to reach out. This is where a “click to call” feature comes into play. 

The click to call option is a great tool for an advocacy campaign. By creating a click to call button, supporters of your cause will be able to simply click the button on your website to call an elected representative. In these campaigns, it is best to draft a script for your supporters to follow when they call. The script should include a list of actions they would like their legislature to take.

 Similarly, you can make a “click to email” for supporters who’d feel more comfortable contacting via email. 

Event Registration 

In order to create an effective advocacy campaign, it is important to hold events to spread the word about your cause. Hosting events will allow you to educate interested people on what’s at stake and what they can do to help. 

Hosting events is great because you can gear the event based on your cause, your potential audience, and your goals. You can choose to host in-person, virtual, or hybrid events. Also, you can host something more informal or more serious. You can also structure it as a training, conference call, or webinar. Whatever you choose, make sure to plan effectively to make the most out of the time. 

group of american activists

Create Successful Advocacy Campaigns

SEO Design Chicago is here to help you create successful advocacy campaigns. We offer a variety of services that can help your team run a great advocacy campaign. From digital advertising to web design to content creation, we’re here to help your campaign succeed. Check us out today!

FAQ:

  • What kinds of advocacy campaigns are there?
  • What are SMART goals?
  • Who is involved in running advocacy campaigns?
  • What are effective advocacy campaign tactics?
  • Why are advocacy campaigns important?

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