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Case Higher Education Online Advocacy with California State University

Case Higher Education Online Advocacy with California State University



How Can Your Institution Benefit from Web-Based Advocacy? ...

How Can Your Institution Benefit from Web-Based Advocacy?

Online advocacy is traditionally the purview of the human rights, animal rights and other politically-based organizations. However, several public institutions have adopted online advocacy tools to help engage alumni in support of critical issues such as public financing. The latest elections will have a profound impact on web-based advocacy in 2009 and beyond with the likely emergence of a new advocate groups, the acceptance of new social media, and the impact of ongoing efforts by Congress to control communications via the web. In the midst increasing competition for limited dollars made worse by the deepening recession the California State University is actively using online advocacy tolls to engage alumni and others for the system with local, state and federal decision makers. This case study, along with results from other similar institutions will be reviewed during this session to understand better how higher education institutions can effectively use this technology for both grassroots and grass-”tops” advocacy efforts.



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  • Effective method across 23 campuses. Use data in messaging and shows need to segment data between various groups by interests and types and specialize the messaging. Modernize efforts to make impact more quickly, seats have a lack of pressure without constituent engagement.

Case Higher Education Online Advocacy with California State University Case Higher Education Online Advocacy with California State University Presentation Transcript

  • How Can Your Institution Benefit from Web-Based Advocacy? 2009 CASE Summit for Advancement leaders July 10, 2009 Mark Davis, Director Technical Solutions Blackbaud Internet Solutions Division Karen Y. Zamarripa, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Advocacy and State Relations California State University THIS MATERIAL IS STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL. The information contained in this document, and any attachments thereto, is owned by Blackbaud and is strictly confidential. Unauthorized use, disclosure, or copying of such information is strictly prohibited. If the reader of this document is not the intended recipient, please notify Blackbaud immediately by calling (800) 443-9441 and destroy all copies of this document and any attachments. © 2009 Blackbaud
  • Agenda
    • Online Advocacy Overview
      • By Mark Davis
    • Case Study: California State University
      • By Karen Y. Zamarripa
  • Online Advocacy and Higher Education
  • Internet is an Effective Political Tool
  • Key Ingredients for Online Advocacy
  • Growth of Email Communications to Capitol Hill
    • Congress received four times more communications in 2004 than 1995
    • All of the growth was due to e-mail communications
    Source: CMF, Communicating with Congress, 2008
  • US Congressional Survey on Online Advocacy
    • 79% of Congressional Staff surveyed believe the Internet has made it easier for citizens to become involved in public policy
    • 55% believe it has increased public understanding of what goes on in Washington
    Source: CMF, Communicating with Congress, 2008
  • How Legislators View Online Advocacy
  • Best Practices for a Successful Online Advocacy
    • Allow Activists to Send Only to Their Own Elected Officials
    • Keep Messages Short and Focused
    • Tie Message to a Specific Piece of Legislation
    • Encourage Activists to Edit Messages
    • Supplement Email Actions with Phone Calls and Faxes
    • Print the Messages Out and Deliver by Hand
  • Comparing Email Response Rates Source: M&R Strategies: 2009 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study
  • Online Advocacy Versus Other Outreach Requests Source: M&R Strategies: 2009 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study
  • Who are Your Activists?
    • Studies show a direct correlation between online activism and online giving.
    • This correlation is especially strong among Super Activists.
    Source: M&R Strategies: 2009 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study
  • Snapshot of the 2008 Obama Campaign
  • 2008 Campaign Results
  • Case Study: California State University Karen Y. Zamarripa, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Advocacy and State Relations California State University
  • Why Higher Education Needs to be in the Game?
  • Advocacy in the Higher Education Space
    • Interviews with Other Large Institutions Yielded Three Consistent Trends
      • University of California
      • University of Georgia
    • Modernize Outreach Efforts
    • Impact Local Politicians
    • Engage Young Alumni
  • State General Fund Revenue and CSU Percentage Share In Billions 3.69% 3.13% 3.46% 3.61% 3.33% 3.24% 2.98% 2.80% 2.89% 2.89% 3.34% 1.80% CSU % Share of State General Fund Revenue State General Fund Revenue $58.6 B $71.9 B $71.4 B $72.3 B $80.6 B $76.9 B $82.2 B $93.5 B $96.5 B $102.6 B $85.9 B $88.8 B $90.7 B $94.5 B $103.0 B $111.3 B DOF Projected Need
  • CSU General Fund Allocation In Billions Level of 1998-99 Allocation $2.16 $2.25 $2.47 $2.61 $2.68 $2.49 $2.45 $2.62 $2.79 $2.97 $2.87 $1.60 98 - 99 99 - 00 00 - 01 01 - 02 02 - 03 03 - 04 04 - 05 05 - 06 06 - 07 07 - 08 08 - 09 09 - 10 2008-09 and 2009-10 amounts assume $717.5 million “retroactive” cut to 2008-09 appropriation, proposed by the Governor on July 1, 2009, will take effect in 2009-10.
  • Why CSU Decided to Get in the Game
  • Alumni Attitude Survey
  • Project Phases
    • Request for Information (RFI)
      • Opportunity to learn from others external, internal
      • Included Information Technology (IT) experts
    • Request for Proposal (RFP)
      • Sought proposals from experience vendors
      • Nonprofits, a few higher education examples
    • Launched Pilot Program
      • Three campuses selected based on advocacy expertise, involvement of alumni, and interest in new tool
      • Developed operating principles, guidelines
      • Several test messages – information, action
  • Project Phases
    • Campus-Team Training
      • Hands-on in computer labs
      • Use of the tool – technically and content/getting results
    • System Roll-out
      • Input from pilot test campuses
      • Opt-Out approach
        • Less than 7% total have request opt out
      • Expansion of training with peer participation
        • Further refinement of guidelines
        • Development of Memorandum of Agreement
      • All 23 campuses on board with over 122,300 in database
  • Action Center Results to Date
    • 23 Campuses Micro-sites Live
    • 40-45 Trained Staff
    • Elected Official Look-up, Tell-a-Friend, Take Action
  • Email Project Results to Date
    • 122,300 Possible Online Advocates
    • 687,349 Email Messages Delivered to Advocates
  • Project Lessons Learned
  • Next Steps of Use
    • Communicate More
      • Use on a more regular basis = alumni feeling more connected
        • Campus team survey feedback
        • Refinement of the content for greatest response
      • Monthly messages about equity of their degree
        • Alumni Attitude Survey of this population
        • Achievements of system and campus
        • Information about opportunities and challenges ahead
    • Segment Supporter Data
      • Specialize use of databases
        • Segment recipients and messages
        • Create even stronger affinity
          • Interest areas, degree/professions, campus community
  • Next Steps of Use
    • Extend Tools to Local Campuses
      • Revise Contracts Expanded Messages per Month
        • More frequent use for local campus efforts, initiatives
        • Important to coordinate these messages with system
        • Specifically EXCLUDES fundraising
    • Determine Most Effective Mode of Message
      • Multiple Ways to Send messages
        • Fax, email, hard copies, etc.
      • Further research required
        • What methods are most successful in getting messages SENT?
        • What kind of reaction do recipients have to the various message approaches?
  • Grass Tops Versus Grassroots
    • Grass Tops
      • Grass tops are those identified to have connections, influence with elected officials
      • Federal and state campaign contributions
      • Targeted, strategic advocacy efforts, as needed
    • Completion of Screen, Database July 2009
      • Training Campus-Teams in use, sorting of data
    • Distribution of campus specific grass tops
      • Presentations to Vice Presidents of Advancement, Presidents
      • Review system wide grass tops with leadership
    • Is One More Tool Amongst Many
    • “ I believe that the tool is an invaluable part of CSU’s advocacy efforts. It is a cost effective way to get the word out and encourage people to take action on important CSU related issues in our state legislature.”
    • – Greg Cutler, CSU Long Beach
  • Contact Information
    • Mark Davis
    • Blackbaud Internet Solutions
    • [email_address]
    • Karen Y. Zamarripa
    • California State University
    • [email_address]