Archives for Grassroots

Six Basic Online Campaign Tools and Activities

knifeSince 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!).

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.

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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!

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(Get more tips like these in my “Grassroots 101 Training Series“.  Check it out!)

Three methods for conservative grassroots organization

grassroots organization

Whether you’re organizing for a campaign, a group or just an issue you care about, there are three areas where it pays for conservatives to focus their time.  And each area has different benefits and challenges.

1) Precinct Organization

Organizing by precinct is more geographically focused and as a result can have a more direct and greater potential impact on a specific area.

Political power in American flows from the precinct level upward, because precincts are the building blocks of the American political system.

Virtually every election district, from the school board on up, is a combination of various precincts.  They’re like the small pieces in a bigger jigsaw puzzle, which means that if you’re organized in the precincts you can influence an election – or have influence on an elected official who is interested in running for re-election.

2) Church Organization

Organizing in churches allows you to work with people you’re probably more familiar with, and are likely to have more in common with.  As a result, you may be able to get things moving more quickly.

Since a typical church’s membership may be spread across multiple precincts, focusing on churches also has the benefit of helping you “sow seeds” of activism in more than one area, (which means church organization can quickly feed “precinct organization”).

3) Online Organization

Online organization can exist on its own or as a compliment to church and/or precinct organization, (ex. online “groups” via Yahoo, Google, Ning or Facebook; or online petitions and campaigns at AktNow – or a combination).

And when you organize online, you make it easier to share information with others and for others to find you.

Online organization is also a great way to being to build a list of supporters that you can contact and keep informed.

Where to Focus Your Time?

In order to determine where you should focus your time and efforts, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What specifically do I want to impact or accomplish? Is it more educational and/or issue related, or is it more political?
  • Where do I know the most people who think like I do, and who are willing to help? (Hunt where the ducks are!)

Whichever type of organization you plan to focus on, remember that it all comes down to people. Politics is people.  And when you get enough people together with a common purpose, you’ve got grassroots organization. 

Real grassroots organization leads to political impact!

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(You can find tips like this and much more in my “Grassroots 101: Grassroots Training Series“.)

What are you going to do about it?

political activismDo you spend more time than you would like complaining about things going on in government?  That’s not unusual.  In fact, it’s pretty much a prerequisite (or at least a direct symptom) of democracy.

Government is run by imperfect people who represent a lot of other imperfect people with a lot of different philosophies and points of view…and some of them seem to just represent themselves.

Anyone who’s paying attention (which ideally should be everyone) can find something to complain about.  But is that as far as you go?  Or do you ever think about taking action?

Don’t Just Complain

Is “Common Core” being pushed on your (up until now) good school district? Grading standards being dumbed down?  What are you going to do about it?  Have you attended a school board meeting and spoken out?  Carried a crew of other angry parents with you to do the same?

Is your local public school board trying to pass a millage increase, all the while spending record amounts of money on extra layers of educrats?  What are you going to do about it?  Just cuss when you get the tax bill?  How about starting a petition campaign to oppose it?

Is your county about to vote on another wasteful bond referendum?  What are you going to do about it (other than pay for it later)?  Have you written a letter to the editor?  Print it as a flyer and leave it on doors in your neighborhood, or cars in the parking lot at the next council meeting.

Are you tired of so few people who seem to know much of anything about what your local government is doing?  What are you going to do about it?  Start a Facebook page, online newsgroup or a simple website.  Maybe set up an email list and keep people up to date with what’s going on.  Encourage everyone you know to share it with others.

Sick of elected officials who don’t listen, or who make promises but don’t deliver after they’re elected?  What are you going to do about it?  Have you tried to help someone else get elected?  Volunteered or made a contribution? How about talking with others who think like you do and trying to recruit someone to run for office?

Get Involved

The main reason to “do something” is because it’s your responsibility, since you live in a country where you have the right to political activism.  But another reason is because even if you just simply speak up, it lets other people like you know that they’re not alone.  When they see that, they’re more likely to speak up or take action too.

If you don’t “do something”, odds are you’ll have even more to complain about later.  But when you get involved, things change.

Take a moment right now and make a conscious decision to “do something”.  Then make a note so you don’t forget.

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Have any examples of how you were able to get involved that you think would encourage others?  Share it in the comments below.