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Results from the first in-depth study of how Canadian MPs use online communications & respond to grassroots campaigns.

Results from the first in-depth study of how Canadian MPs use online communications & respond to grassroots campaigns.

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e-politics project e-politics project Presentation Transcript

  • the e-politics project an in-depth consultation with parliamentarians
  • presented by:
  • methodology the first in-depth consultation of Canadian MPs on their uses and views of online communication tools and grassroots campaigning.
  • methodology In April of 2009 all Canadian MPs plus 63 former MPs who lost their seat in the last election were sent a letter introducing the e- politics project and asking for their participation The introductory letter included a written endorsement of the project from a member of the MPs caucus (with the exception of the Bloc) Over the span of 4 weeks, MPs were sent 3 email invitations to complete an online/paper survey 63 current MPs and 8 former MPs participated in the survey Current MPs: 20.5% response rate Former MPs: 12.5% response rate Aggregate: 19.3% response rate 2006 UK MP survey 12% response rate
  • the state of play how parliamentarians are using online communication tools
  • a personal touch 40.8% Four in ten current MPs report they share responsibility with their staff for handling correspondence from constituents.
  • data mining 94.3% Almost all parliamentarians are collecting personal information from constituent correspondence for future uses.
  • technology use web 1.0 mp website e-newsletter
  • technology use web 2.0 - mps have only partially embraced social media to build relationships with their constituents
  • surfing parliamentarians it’s about politics, news and public policy 92.5% have visited a website for a political election campaign 71.2% have visited a news aggregator website like bourque.com Parliamentarians are more likely to visit a website advocating a public policy option (81.1%) than a social networking site dedicated to a public policy issue (52.8%)
  • email rising among current MPs, e-mail is the preferred method of hearing from constituents.
  • parliamentary perceptions how do MPs feel about grassroots campaigning?
  • local counts surprise, surprise three quarters of MPs (75.9%) place a higher priority on communications from constituents over non- constituents
  • the value of email email is given as much weight as other forms of constituent communication. % of parliamentarians that selected 4 or 5 where 1 was “no weight” and 5 was “very much weight”
  • changing minds? 92.2% of parliamentarians reported that an online campaign has never changed their mind on an issue. But...
  • personal counts Parliamentarians report they are more motivated to act on issues that have been brought to their attention through personal communication from their constituents such as meetings, phone calls and letters
  • motivating to action when motivating an MP to act, the more personal the approach, the better. personal non-personal % of parliamentarians that selected 4 or 5 where 1 was “no weight” and 5 was “very much weight”
  • motivating to action - letters when motivating an MP to act, the more personal the approach, the better. % of parliamentarians that selected 4 or 5 where 1 was “no weight” and 5 was “very much weight”
  • numbers count almost all MPs compare the number of communications they receive on issues 44% use this info to estimate relative support 18% use this info to prioritize time on issues 38% consider this info but does not influence work
  • numbers count form messages from constituents are given almost as much weight as media attention non-personal % of parliamentarians that selected 4 or 5 where 1 was “no weight” and 5 was “very much weight”
  • campaigning almost half of MPs will weigh a message that is part of an orchestrated campaign the same as a “organic” constituent message
  • campaign websites MPs see websites for advocacy on public policy as making a contribution to their work 51.9% - Researching for policy 51% - Learning about people/organizations supporting an issue 45.3% - Understanding an issue 26.4% - Gauging support of an issue 21.5% of respondents report that advocacy campaign websites are not valuable to their role as a parliamentarian % of parliamentarians that selected 4 or 5 where 1 was “no weight” and 5 was “very much weight”
  • facebook groups vs websites MPs see Facebook as better for “gauging support of an issue” 60 Campaign website Facebook group 45 30 15 0 Researching for policy People/orgs supporting an issue Understanding an issue Gauging support of an issue % of parliamentarians that selected 4 or 5 where 1 was “no weight” and 5 was “very much weight”
  • campaigns campaigns that made a POSITIVE impression CBC issues Copyright reform Make Poverty History Animal cruelty Support of gun registry Environment Grannies in Africa Hepatitis C campaign Right to Repair Burlington Chamber of Commerce Rally for Canada Obama
  • campaigns campaigns that made a NEGATIVE impression Pooping puffin Life Before Profit Anti-gun registration IFAW anti seal hunt Same sex marriage Release of murderers in foreign prisons “Perceived” clawback of benefits for veterans Real women
  • 4 key lessons for campaigning organizations to influence MPs
  • #1 remember “kissin’ babies...” Tools & tactics may have changed, but the basics of politics in Canada has remained constant. Building in-riding support is essential. “There are only two kinds of people in this world... those who can hurt you at home, and everybody else...” ~MP
  • #2 get personal. get direct. Use new technologies to ! face to face make constituent contact ! phone calls with mps as personal ! personal letters ! targeted messages and direct as possible. The campaigns that rise above the noise make personal connection with MPs.
  • #3 demonstrate visible support BUT don’t neglect the ! form email power of more generic ! petitions communications when ! public opinion polls ! facebook groups you can generate large ! campaign websites numbers. Make sure you track everything.
  • #4 approach from all angles More and more organizations have ! Grassroots/online ! Government Relations tools for online ! Media advocacy. The ! Research/data groups that use an ! Collaboration integrated approach will be the most effective.
  • in their own words suggestions on how to engage MPs from MPs themselves. Meet face-to-face with their Member of Parliament, or send personalized communications as opposed to a form letter. They should correspond with them directly and forget the form letters. Personal communication via e-mail, letter or fax stating why you feel passionate about an issue rather than form letters. Contact me directly, by which ever means is best for you. Write a letter, call or send an e-mail. Don't send a generic letter. Keep at the member - make your issue front and centre Arrange a face to face meeting or an event Show up; be prepared; mobilize like-minded citizens