Advocate Interactive helps turn ‘likes’ into real-world action
Guest post by Stacy Rebeck
Social Media Strategist, Advocate Interactive
While nonprofit motives fuel advocacy campaigns, it’s for-profit know-how that wins them — especially in the social media ecosystem. Harvesting social’s ripe potential for advocacy and engagement is Advocate Interactive, a social enterprise that helps organizations leverage the power of social media to turn tweets and “likes” into an organized voice for collective action, winning elections, passing bills and pressing for grassroots socio-political change.
Launched two years ago, Advocate is still a relative new player to the nonprofit tech scene. As it turns out, Advocate can already chalk up some major wins. The organization counts Habitat for Humanity, American Lung Association, the University of Minnesota and Yale among the growing list of nonprofits using our flagship product, Capitol Momentum, a powerful Facebook application.
“Capmom,” as the team dubs it, is a fully customizable app that’s built into a nonprofit’s Facebook page or website. Integrated with Facebook’s API, its six core features help nonprofits and their supporters make online advocacy relevant, social and fun. Some highlights:
• Creation of custom action alerts. Organizations can customize calls to action for volunteers, donations, votes, advocacy letters to targeted officials, or more. Unlimited calls to action can be run throughout the year (the app’s annual licensing), and unlimited calls to action can concurrently run.
• Targeting officials. Supporters can contact officials at the state, federal and local level. They supply their zip code and the app identifies their reps. Very little personal info is required, so drop-off is extremely low. Supporters send a pre-drafted message, with the option for them to add their own details. Supporters can also contact other recipients, such as CEOs and newspaper editors.
• Tools to make actions go viral. The Capmom app promotes easy, organic sharing with supporters’ friends. Actions taken through the app show up in friends’ newsfeeds, garnering valuable earned media impressions. From the app itself, supporters can share the action on their own page, retweet it or directly invite their friends. Other social channels such as LinkedIn can also be integrated for further cross-pollination.
• Recognize and reward top users. The app identifies supporters who use the app and recruit friends. For “viralizing” the call to action, supporters can earn points to trade in for bumper stickers, T-shirts and other prize incentives. Additionally, the app identifies top donors and key social media influencers.
• Assured message delivery. Messages sent to officials through the app have a 100% delivery rate. They’re sent to either recipients’ email address or web forms, and that contact information is scrubbed daily to ensure receipt. After the message is received, the sender receives a thank you email confirmation and is invited to continue his or her support.
• Powerful social analytics. Facebook is limited in the supporter info it provides: how many likes an organization has and the general age brackets and geographic areas those likes fall into. The Capmom app gives nonprofits access to powerful fan analytics: Each message sent is also tied to their social analytics platform that provides a data set which includes email, demographics, location and social behavior data, allowing for deeper engagement, targeting and conversion. In addition to the core data, it is expanded with an aggregate data across multiple sources such as Census, public records, surveys, data aggregators, etc., allowing for powerful campaign capabilities.
Social tools, tactics & insights to drive success
Also differentiating Advocate from its industry peers is the organization’s business expertise. Our philosophy is that while online advocacy may be nonprofit driven, outreach tactics should be anything but. We give nonprofits the social tools and insights they need to drive for-profit type success.
That’s because unlike many advocacy groups and vendors, Advocate is headed by C-level staff with a history of both charitable board work and business leadership. Founding partners Bud Fisher and Mike Nowak and chief marketing officer Alexander Oser count over 30 years of combined experience among them, working in IT, marketing, and business development for a handfull of Fortune 500 companies.
Politically motivated and socially driven, they launched Advocate Interactive because of their own frustration at how hard it was to engage leaders and causes online. Some organizations had tools online, Fisher says, but they were cumbersome, tedious to use and had outdated technology. “We launched Advocate to improve the advocacy process for nonprofits, engaging supporters with relevant technology where supporters want to be social — not outmoded technology or inboxes.”
There’s still a place for direct mail and phone campaigns, says Fisher, but there’s also a space for social media. 900 million people are on Facebook, and nonprofits not cultivating support there are missing out.
If you’d like to learn more about Advocate’s Capitol Momentum application or other tools, or if you have your own social media success story to share, Advocate’s eager to hear from you. Please email Alexander Oser, our CMO, at [email protected] or visit our website. And please leave a comment below.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported.