Since we’ve been discussing online activity and organization lately, I wanted to give some thoughts on some of the specific but basic things that you can do online in support of a campaign or organization, (or to augment any “offline” organization activity).
Here’s a handy list of six basic online campaign tools and activities that you should incorporate into your organizational strategy.
1) Create an online campaign:
Some services let you use their sites to host campaigns where you can set up online petitions, online faxes to members of Congress, private online groups for your supporters, etc. These services are usually free, (or at least cheaper than creating your own website!). (Check out AktNow as an example)
2) Online polls and surveys:
Conduct opinion polls of members or supporters. These can also be useful when trying to identify prospective supporters, (ex. set up an online survey that asks questions that will help you identify likely prospects and capture their email addresses – then email links to the survey to your supporters, encourage email forwarding, post it on Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
3) Build your database:
Once you’ve got a spot online, you can have a central place where people can sign up for a newsletter so you can communicate with them on a regular basis. (You can do it yourself with your own email programs, or online solutions such as Constant Contact, Mad Mimi or others). Just be sure to provide a webform or clearly visible link to where they should sign up…and promote it!
4) Post Information:
Create a central place where supporters can come and get important information about your cause that they can use to help recruit others and/or communicate to elected officials in lobbying efforts, (such as talking points, flyers, voter guides, scripts for telephone calls, etc.). You can also offer your information in a PDF format that supporters can download and print on desktop printers to distribute in “off line” environments.
5) Provide links:
Offer a list of important and useful links that supporters can use, (such as to key contact information for elected officials, local newspaper “letters-to-the-editor” information, talk-radio call-in numbers, voter registration links, etc.). Also post links to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, (if you have any).
6) Online scheduling:
You can use online calendar services to maintain a schedule of important dates, activities and events to easily update and keep people informed, (free services such as Google Calendar even allow people to sign up for email alerts from the calendar). Make it easy for people to keep up with what’s going on and when they can get involved.
All of these online campaign tools and elements should eventually be incorporated into any online organizational strategy. If you’re not online, or you don’t give people an opportunity to “sign up” online, then you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity.
A good Internet presence, (web site, blog, email and social media), better enables you to be found by potential supporters, to communicate and get them organized.
Remember, it’s not just about who YOU know, or who may stumble across your information, but it’s about your supporters – and who THEY know.
Be a resource!
(Get more tips like these in my “Grassroots 101 Training Series“. Check it out!)