There are two main misconceptions about new media: the first is that it’s useless, and the second is that it’s the answer to all of your problems. Integration is key. You need to have a website that can accept donations. But building a fancy website that accepts donations won’t raise you much, if any, money on its own.
Technology not for technology’s sake…it must meet a needHow big is the race? “You are not Barack Obama” sounds really obvious, but I want to flesh that out just a little with two less-obvious points. 1) The Internet is really really good at letting people self-organize; at letting them talk to their friends, raise money and create a movement without your involvement. And that’s what a lot of tools – like MyBO – are designed to do. But there are a small handful of national figures who will have people self-organize for them. And they’re generally either potential presidential candidates, really strong progressives or running against someone that strong progressives really don’t like. (or conservatives). Preferably both. 2) Barack Obama had an enormous New Media staff – it numbered at more than 100, without consultants. Thirteen people were on the e-mail team.There are a million different cool things you can do with technology, and it’s easy to go overboard – spend too much time or money for what you get out of it. One good reality check when doing your planning, is to think of everything in terms of your goals – does this get me votes, volunteers or money. If it does none of those things, it may or may not be worth doing.
Also, volunteers and supporters will always be approaching you with cool ideas. Rather than dismiss anything out of hand, try to wrangle a commitment out of them to help execute those ideas. If they suggest setting up a blog, ask them to help create it and do regular postings. If they suggest podcasts, ask them to help produce them. If they suggest SMS messaging (text messaging) for GOTV, ask them to lead it. And so on. Tech savvy supporters: Throughout your campaigns, you will have lots of supporters approach you with ideas for what you can do with technology. iPhone apps seem to be the big buzzword this cycle – most of you will probably have someone pitch you on an iPhone app.
First impressions matter.If your website is difficult to navigate, looks out of date, or is uninviting, you’re turning away potential supporters as readily as if you’re campaign office was piled high with trash.Your website has to instill confidence in your campaign.Your website is cheaper than direct mail. Most organizations rely heavily on direct mail to update members and raise money to fund their initiatives. Over the last few years this medium has seen a decreasing return on investment for organizations. It has become much cheaper for organizations to communicate with members online, using websites.For a fraction of the cost of direct mail, a well updated website can keep supporters updated more regularly, increasing the likelihood that they will give to support your cause because they can see the direct impacts of requested funding.
Your website is the front door to your online campaign office. People will learn more about your campaign or candidate through a website (news, campaign, etc.) than a visit to the physical space where your office is located
Good: Easy to find the asks: sign-up, contribute, recently updated. Lots of content, Bonus: pretty photos.Bad: could be too many asks
Regular e-mail communication with your supporters can be an effective tool to keep your issues in front of them and increase their level of engagement. Without those messages, your supporters are likely to forget about you, get lost in the clutterRelationships – 2 way conversationIt used to be very expensive to regularly communicate with members. The most important part of your e-mail is the subject line. It has a huge impact on whether people even open and read your e-mail. Urgency. But don’t cry wolfKeep most important information in the first two paragraphsGet the message out.People read e-mails and websites very differently than traditional communications – they just scan the content. With this in mind, be sure to write short sentences within short paragraphs. The less dense the communication feels to the reader, the more likely they are to read it. Also, think of ways to pull out key points by bold and italics language. Images can be especially helpful when trying to direct people to take action. Focused message and requestYou don’t have their attention forever• Despite the best targeting, different emails activated different people at different times. Noone message has to connect with every supporter or every voter — if you miss ‘em thisweek, you might get ‘em next week.
To begin building your list membership you need to identify ways to cultivate and engage constituents and supporters online. Some of those strategies include:Always include a ‘forward to a friend’ component Every e-mail that goes out should have a message at the bottom that asks people to forward the message onto friends and family. That makes it very easy for the individual to spread the content of that message if they find the content compelling. Look also at ways to include tell-a-friend components into event sign-ups, advocacy actions, and donations. You won’t get a huge number of people to forward it on unless you have a really compelling campaign, but it is a low cost way to begin to slowly build the list.Stay in Touch! Regular communication provides more opportunities for individuals to take action and share messages with others that they know. Integrating traditional grassroots tactics like tabling, canvassing or events into your e-communication plan can help grow your list. These events provide a way for your organization to reach out to new supporters, instead of waiting for supporters to come to you.Use a variety of vehicles to push out your messagesUsing social networks, Twitter, and blogs to push out your messages can help drive people to your website and encourage more people to sign-up for your e-communication lists. Be sure to integrate some sort of advocacy component into this push. Individuals are more likely to sign-up if there is a compelling advocacy request as opposed to a generic sign-up request.
Hundreds of millions of people are connecting with each other online communities focused around their personal lives, professional lives, and special interests.What does this mean for you and your nonprofit? Well, odds are your members or supporters are already members of at least one social networking site. By participating on social networking sites, you are able to reinforce and build your network of members and supporters by communicating with them and their network of friends, keeping them updated about upcoming events and activities, and sharing relevant and interesting content with them.Whether your using Twitter or Facebook, connecting with current students or alumni, your focus will begin to shift away from simply providing information and towards fostering conversations.
Blogging helped the Obama campaign makes its message seem personal to its audience in a very meaningful way.That’s because blogs encourage CONVERSATION, add CONTEXT, and COLOR to data – anything from a stale press release to a list of precincts you’re walkingBlogs can help establish your campaign as TRANSPARENT, RELEVANT, and ACTIVE.Probably more important than putting content out there, is LISTENING to the conversation that’s happening and Joining in.Google juice. Having content out there that you control ain’t so bad.
The internet has changed the way political fundraising works. Details: If you ask for donations, set a deadline, set a goal (baseball bats are motivators), and explain what the money is for and why. Like the fundraising in Florida for ACT: “Sponsor a van” was a big success.
for instance soliciting different amounts based on a person’s donation history — a $10 donormight be asked to donate $20 the next time around, but someone who’d donated $150might be safe to hit up for $200
Technology is how we connect with citizens. Voters. Supporters. Opponents.The more aggressively the page is promoted, the more potent it can be -- without cost to any other facet of the organization. High traffic will result in higher volunteer yields, more powerful messaging and information distribution, and a stronger sense of community and inclusion among our supporters. The page should be the permanent home of information like office locations and voter registration rules, and of signup forms and other online organizing tools as reflects the needs of the campaign.
1. Online Organizing: New MediaWellstone Action
2. Wellstone Action has a Creative Commons License. That means you are free to use these PowerPoints for your own use. We ask that you do not reproduce our work, and if you do share these materials, please attribute them back to Wellstone Action and Camp Wellstone. Thanks!Wellstone Action
3. How many of youconsideryourselves newmedia-savvy?Wellstone Action
4. Ok, well how many of you have ever used these? Then guess what? You’re media-savvy.Wellstone Action
5. The Role of New MediaNew media plays a supporting role tothe major parts of a campaign:Communications, Field and Finance. Integration is the key.Wellstone Action
6. How Much Do You Need?• How big is the race? How big is the audience?• How does the tool help achieve your win number? • The best check: votes, volunteers, or money? • Balance your desire to “wow” with your needs • Online organising is usually not persuasion• How much time and money will this take?• There will always be someone, somewhere, trying to sell you something really cool.Wellstone Action
7. How Much Do You Need?• Complex systems require complex care • This is especially true with free tools • Remember: Obama had 13 people working on e- mail alone.• Tech-savvy supporters • In politics, everyone is always trying to tell you how to do your job. • This is doubly true online. • Call their bluff!Wellstone Action
8. Online Basics: Audiences• Your opponent’s campaign staff• The media (old school and new)• Existing supporters • What demographics?• Base voters• Very few undecided voters • They’re undecided because they don’t care enough to pay attention, much less visit your site.Wellstone Action
9. Online Basics: Communicating Online• Know the medium. – Crisp, compelling, and updated content is most important – Keep it short; “not paying for paper” is the wrong idea• Everything is a first impression. – Website, e-mail and social networking are many people’s first impression of the campaign.• Online/offline core messages and goals are the same. – The 3 Ms of political email are messaging, mobilisation and money.Wellstone Action
10. Best practices: Websites1) Presentable design 5) What do you stand for?2) Asks: (Issues) 1) Email sign-up (on every 6) Press information page, above the fold) (headshot, bio, contact) 2) Donate button (easy to 7) Contact information find) 8) Events, past and present 3) Volunteer sign-up (only if you update regularly)3) News/updates/signs of life 9) Social networking – If it’s not easy to update, (if applicable) you’re doomed before you 10) Share tools start.4) Who are you? (Biography)Wellstone Action
11. Large races: Bells andwhistles Wellstone Action
12. Smaller races still need a presence… … and it doesnt’t have toWellstone Action look like this.
13. This is great…Wellstone Action
14. This is good too… … or this.Wellstone Action
15. Best practices: E-mail• Build relationships, loyalty and narrative – Tell the story of the campaign… and how your supporters are a part of it.• Keep it short!• E-mail is cheap, but supporters are still paying time• If it doesn‘t get read, it doesn’t exist• Evaluate your program constantly• Subject lines are the most important part• Keep the most important information in the first 2 paragraphs; Action paragraphs early and often• Images can help drive actions; Make it scannable• Conversational tone• Content integration is paramountWellstone Action
16. E-mail:Don’tdo this… Wellstone Action
17. Dictionaries for Tea Partiers Wellstone Action
18. Listbuilding• List building is primarily about cultivating and engaging constituents and supporters (organic)• Collect email addresses at house parties, rallies, fundraisers, etc.• Regular communication provides opportunities for your list to share with others (forward-to-a-friend is your best friend)• Don’t always ask for money!• Don’t buy email addresses without first making sure it’s useful/profitable• Petitions/online actions (advocacy requests > generic requests)• Work with previous candidates and organizations that have endorsed you Wellstone Action
19. Social Networks• People join communities focused around their personal lives, professional lives, and special interests• Gives people something to interact with• Don’t create a page and fail to maintain it• Move from providing info to fostering conversations and action!Wellstone Action
20. Best Practices: Social Networks • Facebook – The most popular social network – Still growing dramatically; particularly among middle-aged demographics – Worth it for your campaign? Be realistic. • Twitter – Smaller, “insider” audience – Great for the press and base, less for everyone else – Only pursue Twitter if it fits your styleWellstone Action
21. Blogs • Three types of political “blogs” – News – Organizational – Independent / “Netroots” • Ask, “Who reads blogs?” and act accordingly – The base, the media and the people in this building. • What you want from blogs? – Persuasion? Definitely not (in a general). – Money? Probably not (in a down-ballot race). – Volunteers? Maybe. – Press? Most likely.Wellstone Action
22. Online Fundraising• Supporters consider online donating a form of activism – make it easy!• Leverage your end date• Does NOT replace OFFLINE Fundraising!Messaging Keys• Ask from a position of strength – “we’ve got them on the run” – explain the urgency• You can capitalize on time-sensitive events – Ex. Sarah Palin, You Lie!, etcWellstone Action
23. Online Fundraising• Every interaction matters• You’re managing a “virtual” relationship with many people at once• Scale your ask over time• Tailor your ask over time, too• Value proposition fundraising – Donations don’t provide abstract support – Make it clear where the money is going – Be specific as possible• Set a deadline – Set a goalWellstone Action
24. Take-away• Don’t underestimate the Internet … but don’t overestimate it, either• It’s no longer a question of whether you should have an online presence … but what kind of presence• Doing it right is not cheap – it takes money, time, effort• Always ask: how will this help us reach our win number?Wellstone Action