April 30, 2013

Tools for e-advocacy: Resources for cause campaigns


Target audience: Advocacy and cause organizations, nonprofits, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, political organizations, educators, journalists, general public.

Guest post by Kyle Henri Andre

Advocacy organizations often encourage their grassroots supporters to influence politicians and corporations using different methods, from promoting a cause or opposing legislation to challenging ad campaigns or policies. A large display of public opinion can have a powerful message, and advocacy groups often help to focus and channel this support to make the most impact.

This has been traditionally done with mail. The sheer bulk of hundreds or thousands of letters was a strong visual stand-in for the people behind the cause. Today the tactic hasn’t changed, but the message is more likely to be delivered by email, telephone or social media, and the physical presence of the message replaced by the easy, constant barrage of communications.

Let’s look at a few of the tools available to help advocacy groups direct grassroots communications to a target. Continue reading

February 3, 2012

How Salsa Labs enables positive social action

Here’s a short video that provides a tour of Salsa, which offers a suite of online organizing tools to help you build awareness, mobilize your people and keep them engaged.

One client’s data-driven approach multiplied its supporter network exponentially

Guest post by Jason Zanon
Salsa Labs

Talking from the heart may be what motivates supporters, but when it comes to building a long-term social network strategy, there’s no substitute for having your head in the game.

The Environmental Working Group, whose disciplined and data-driven outreach has multiplied its supporter network by nearly a thousandfold since joining Salsa, generously shared its social media playbook with Salsa, and we thought Socialbrite’s readers would like to see how this unfolded. It includes a few common-sense strategies that any organization can put into effect — and a whole lot of shoe leather.

“We’re really aware of our audience and meeting their needs,” said Colleen Hutchings of the Environmental Working Group. “When we post an action, we’re being really conscientious of who our audience is and of meeting them where they are, which may not always be the same as an email audience or a blog audience.”

The thousands of nonprofits and campaigns that, like EWG, count on the Salsa online communications platform can light up sharing features on any page with the flip of a switch. Salsa Sharing helps visitors channel the message to their own friends on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Curation that targets each social network

Hutchings credits its burgeoning Twitter and Facebook footprints to the extra effort EWG puts into curating specifically for each social network. Some of her tips:

  • Craft custom suggested sharing messages (under 140 characters, natch) to make sharing super-easy for your social network people.
  • Have appealing linked images in the action page — essential for making Facebook shares pop.
  • Use a trackable link shortener like bit.ly to capture metrics. EWG’s last campaign as of this writing: 2,344 Facebook shares on an action with 31,095 online advocacy messages sent.
  • Try (gentle) cross-channel recruitment. For instance, suggest a Facebook, Twitter or Google+ share in your acknowledgment auto-response to folks who take the old-school webform action.
  • And most crucially, care for your community beyond your asks.

“We get into the comments and foster dialogues and direct people to resources they ask for,” Hutchings said. “People are coming to our Facebook page because they are involved in a conversation. We try to talk about actions in a way people care about, and care for the community that cares about them — and we do see new email signups and actions as a result.” Continue reading