Whether it’s a lunch & learn, happy hour, Hill Day, or full-blown week-long conference you’ve suddenly been tasked with, the process of pulling off a successful advocacy event can be paralyzing – particularly when you’ve a million other things to do. Where do you start, what and who do you need to include, when do you need to start planning?
You made it through holiday party season with all of the fundraisers, calorie-packed hors d’oeuvres, and open bars. Now we are in the midst of conference season and the thicket of networking receptions, meet and greets, and lunch and learns. Events are a staple of the advocacy industry where PAC, grassroots, direct lobbying, communications, media, and government collide to collaborate informally on the process of creating public policy and to make connections in order to facilitate this process in a smoother way. Conferences or large-scale events can be cumbersome to put on, costly to attend, and difficult to navigate for first-time attendees.
Wondering what the experts think the first 100 days of the new Trump presidency and Republican administration will mean for grassroots and advocacy? We had a recent event to find out. In case you missed it, here’s the video.
Thanks to Josh Habursky and GPN, GW, and our panelists: Rich Gold – Partner at Holland & Knight; Gloria Story Dittus – Chairman of Story Partners; Howard Marlowe – President of Warwick Group Consultants; David Lusk – CEO/Founder of Key Advocacy; Mike Fulton – Director of Public Affairs & Advocacy at Asher Agency, and moderator Tony Gnoffo, policy editor here at CQ Roll Call.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re planning a convention event, or a wedding celebration, there’s some serious preparation that needs to be done. Follow this list to make sure you’ve thought of all the big items well in advance.
Hire a Vendor: Have a vendor host your event. They can handle the logistical hassles that will bog down your organization, items such as venue, transportation, food and beverage, invitations and audio/visual. By outsourcing these, you are free to focus on your audience, your message, and your presence.
Here’s a question that’s likely to cross your desk soon, if it hasn’t already: “What are we doing for the conventions?”
The Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July, represent many things to advocacy professionals. Major costs. Major opportunities. Major decisions. But one thing’s for sure, it’s the world’s largest political trade show, and you better be a part of it.
With Thanksgiving around the corner, non-profits and philanthropies are scurrying to prepare for the third annual #GivingTuesday.
What Black Friday is for retail stores and Cyber Monday is for online sales, #GivingTuesday aims to be for charitable causes. Fundraising on #GivingTuesday has raised millions of dollars.
Because so much of the strategy for publicizing #GivingTuesday (yes, with the hashtag) takes place on social media, it’s not too late to pull together a promotional plan for your organization, and we’ve assembled some resources here.
Yesterday, the inaugural Digital Advocacy Institute conference brought together an impressive array of speakers from leading advocacy technology vendors, expert strategic political consulting firms, and associations and interest groups with top-notch digital communications practices. Through this broad range of perspectives, the conference provided valuable tips and tricks for all sorts of digital organizing strategies and tools.
The expert advice dispensed broke into two general themes. First, the era of shock-and-awe through the sheer volume of communication that digital tools ushered forth when they emerged in the late 1990s is over. What matters much more now is the quality of the content within advocacy communications and how well that content sustains understanding about an issue.
Second, the tools of digital advocacy do not work to get people interested in a cause or concern. Instead, they connect communities and individuals who are already personally invested in an issue.
Yes, digital advocacy tools still primarily operate on massive scales and digital advocacy campaigns still try to organize lots and lots of people at once. But it was striking throughout the day how many panelists emphasized that even in this digital age, advocacy was still fundamentally about cultivating and building upon interpersonal relationships.
The work of digital advocacy, then, is the same as it was in the analog era — or the horse and buggy era for that matter. The key is knowing which of the bewildering number of tools out there now are best suited for specific advocacy challenges and diving deeply into using those.
When it comes to politics, Americans generally behave online as they do in the “real” world. In today’s context, that means people on either end of the political spectrum are the most likely to engage in political activism, while moderates are more likely to sit on the sidelines.
That’s the main takeaway from this morning’s presentation by Aaron Smith of the Pew Research Internet Project at the Public Affairs Council Social Media and Advocacy Summit. Smith emphasized that those citizens on the end of either pole of political ideology are also the social media subscribers who most regularly post or interact with political content on Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere. Most in the middle, meanwhile, tend to steer clear of such behaviors. “Social media offers a way to find, identify, and reach your “super fans,” he noted in a slide. But many moderates “probably don’t really know or care very much about your particular issue.”
Those unengaged moderates can be activated to action. That process is best done at the personal behest of a super fan.
Smith’s slides are up on the Pew website. They include a wealth of information from the center’s Internet research project. The conference is still going on, too — follow #SMAS14 on Twitter for the latest, including a presentation this afternoon by Roll Call editor-in-chief Christina Bellantoni!
The nonprofit 501cTECH, which provides comprehensive technology consulting support to other nonprofits in the Washington DC metropolitan area, recently announced it is accepting applications for its annual Technology Innovation Awards until the end of June.
The awards date back to 2003. This year, 501cTECH will recognize nonprofits’ innovative use of technology to address three issue areas: PreK-12 and STEM education, skills building in workforce development, and aid to veterans and military families.
This year, the awards will reward new projects rather than those executed successfully in the past year. Projects do not have to represent the sole focus of the organization.
Winners will receive $7,500 and free consulting from 501cTECH. The awards will be presented on November 6th.
Previous winners of the award are listed here.
A variety advocacy and engagement-related events are on the docket for this summer. Below is a preliminary list — if you’d like to add to it, contact me at connectivity (at) cqrollcall (dot) com.
I’ll update this post periodically and perhaps move it to the right rail of the Connectivity home page. (Local conferences are starred)