By Joshua Habursky & Mike Fulton
Nearly all advocacy software platforms encourage peer to peer advocacy, social media sharing, and the prospect of creating a domino effect of people acting on a variety of causes and campaigns. The COVID-19 pandemic and impacts on advocacy and lobbying have magnified the importance of digital advocacy, digital advocacy software, and the deployment of organic crowdsourcing techniques. The advocacy community is handicapped in the ability to use traditional offline techniques, and the volume and effectiveness of digital is undergoing a stress test.
Platforms are reporting record numbers of actions and industries that are severely impacted by COVID-19 like restaurants, hotels, airlines, casinos and retailers are stepping up advocacy and innovating under both dynamic and dire circumstances. It is very likely that you have received an action alert or were tagged in a Facebook post, Instagram story, or the like from a friend or relative in an affected industry. These industries are localizing the issue into your corner store, local bar, and neighborhood clerk or waiter rather than nebulous 800-page pieces of legislation that could cause dramatic consequences on society, healthcare and the economy.
The present advocacy techniques that are being used in an expedited/condensed format will provide us with important case studies and peer learning opportunities for many months and even years to come. The tactical and strategic change is really being bolstered and supported by advocacy technology. There are three major notable technology trends and observations that are at the forefront of the current conditions and state of advocacy:
1. Advocacy Software Platforms Rise to the Occasion
Across the board grassroots software platforms and legislative tracking tools have quickly adapted to COVID-19 advocacy campaigning. Nearly all the platforms have offered integrated solutions to quickly monitor and mobilize advocacy digitally. Traditionally, legislative updates are now augmented and complimented with easy to read summaries, curated news articles and relevant information to effected trades and industries.
Advocacy professionals can rely heavily on their tools to provide quick updates that can be used in plug and play communications methods to inform and activate membership, employees and influencers. Many of the platforms have developed tools in a matter of days or weeks for what would previously taken months or years.
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2. Zooming In on the Nuts & Bolts
Having the anchor in our grassroots/legislative tracking capabilities with robust new tools allows advocacy professionals to dive deeper on certain aspects of COVID-19 legislation and regulations. The information that is provided by our software providers allows advocacy professionals to become more valuable resources for our organizations and to utilize tools like Zoom and GoToWebinar to explain the process and next steps of where policies are heading.
This enables advocacy professionals to host conference calls and webinars to take on the role of 1) civics teacher; 2) constituent services representative; and 3) pace car driver for the subsequent campaigns.
3. Duplication & Self-Service
Government actions that are impactful are moving quickly at the local, state and federal levels. By providing a resource hub for your advocacy constituency and detailed information, you can create templated campaigns that can be deployed simultaneously and repetitively in different jurisdictions. You can also rely on your advocates to take it upon themselves to crowdsource stock content to tailor it to their locality.
As the central advocacy organization, you can also support or highlight organic campaigns that are created by your advocates through your organization’s communications channels. Many affected industries are utilizing GoFundMe pages to raise money for employees, businesses and non-profits that are taking a financial hit from the various shutdowns and stay at home orders.
Advocacy professionals would not be able to lead all the advocacy activities that are taking place in the aftermath of the pandemic, were it not for the ability to leverage technology capabilities and new resources that have been created and tested in record time.
The full eBook, Virtual Advocacy During COVID-19 and Beyond: Best Practices is available to download here
Advocacy Benchmark Report 2019
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