It is one thing to identify other people who care about the same things as you do, but an uninformed group of people, no matter what the size, isn’t well equipped to have much of an impact on anything.
They’ve got to be informed.
Here are some basic steps you can take to informing conservatives so that they’re better prepared for effective action.
Set up a Database
It doesn’t help your cause to have a large group of people who agree with you but that you can’t easily get in touch with. That’s why the most important element of any group of identified fellow malcontents is the actual LIST. Who are they? Where are they? How can you get in touch with them?
Make things easy on yourself from the start by settings things up in a simple database program. If nothing else, a simple Excel spreadsheet will do. Identify names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. You could even throw in links to Facebook or Twitter profiles.
Good contact information is critical. Start it off right and keep it up to date.
Once you’ve identified people who have common concerns you need a way to communicate and keep them up to date with what’s going on with the issue at hand. Make sure they have access to basic information, talking points, key dates or meetings they need to be aware of or attend, what happened, and action alerts when specific critical action is needed.
Email is the cheapest format to use. But the larger your list becomes, the more you may want to set things up on a professional email service, (such as Mad Mimi, Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, etc.). Many of these offer free service to lists with fewer than 2,000 contacts. It will make your communications look more professional and will be easier for you to manage in the long-run. Also, settle on a regular schedule, so people know what to expect and when, (such as a monthly update…excluding any action alerts you may need to distribute).
You could also take the next step and set up a simple place online where you can put more extensive information that you can link to in newsletters. Don’t let this intimidate you, as you can use any number of free services to create a “home base”, (from Google or Yahoo groups, to Ning, to WordPress). It’s so simple a caveman could do it.
Have Regular Meetings
No one likes long, boring meetings. So don’t have any. But it does make a difference when like-minded people get together, so have a regular meeting for your “core” group to review priorities and make plans. You can always hold “informational” meetings for larger groups when it makes sense.
It’s important that people feel like they’re a part of the process. If they do, they “buy in” to the plan and are more likely to help out.
An informed group is a group that can have more of an impact. So take some basic steps to make sure you’re all on the same page.