Keeping Supporters Engaged Before, During & After A Vote
When I was an organizer for Planned Parenthood, the biggest part of my job was signing up new supporters and driving them to take action. I did this in many ways, but my favorite was to plan an in-person rally. Our supporters loved Planned Parenthood rallies; we wore pink t-shirts, hailed handmade signs that displayed “Hands off my Healthcare”, sang inspiring chants and listened to energizing speeches.
But planning rallies was such a small part of my job. I also collected and shared stories of people affected by not having health insurance, visited legislators offices and asked them to support bills that protected women’s health, and made thousands of phone calls, and knocked on hundreds of doors. It was important to always keep the drum-beat going about protecting access to women’s healthcare.
I did all those things to keep people engaged, before during and after important legislative cycles that would affect our access to healthcare — and our future.
So, how do I define engagement?
Engagement is ongoing–there’s no end.
Remember, after the issue is decided and news cycle is over, real people are left to deal with the effects of unfair and discriminatory policies. Children and families go without meals. Residents still live near oil drilling sites, affecting their physical health.
Although there may not be a large in-person event, there are always ways to engage the people around you.
In the midst (and aftermath) of issues like the Supreme Court case on non-discrimination, or the weekly climate rally in DC, is a great time to thank your representatives for supporting legislation, or search for some personal stories to share that will remind people that it is the numerous incidents, the continuous stories, that matter.
Engage in as many channels as possible–to reach as many people as possible.
I don’t often pay attention to breaking news or a new issue unless several people have shared it across platforms. If I see something break, I immediately go, “Wait, what? Let’s check Twitter!”
Sharing your message across tweets, emails, phone calls and even getting commentary in the newspaper can help your constituency really pay attention, and be more compelled to take action.
That’s why at New/Mode we offer five different ways to contact decision-makers like legislators and business leaders, because not only are they answering the phone in their offices in the state legislature, but they are checking Twitter, reading the news, reading email–and even receiving faxes.
Engagement should be personal–real, powerful and collective voices influence decisions.
People cannot really relate to an issue unless it’s personal to them, so remember to share and collect impact stories throughout the year.
A great way to collect stories by using the New/Mode platform is to use our Email or Tweet Storm tools, encouraging members to share their voice with one simple click. Re-share these impact stories on your own blog and social media accounts to amplify the personal affect on human lives.
One way I loved to grow support at Planned Parenthood is through letters to the editor. With New./Mode, you can easily run a LTE campaign, taking the guesswork out of having your member finding the email addresses of the editors of their local papers, and share their story in a short 150 words.
These are some easy ways to activate your supporters when you may feel like there isn’t enough buzz about –or grassroots power behind– your issue. At New/Mode, we build tools meant to be used year round to create change in your communities, states and beyond, because our stories –and the issues–aren’t seasonal.