Using Online Tools for Effective Organizing


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Social media and online advocacy tactics are receiving a lot of buzz, and for good reason. But, it is crucial in our work to restore the Great Lakes that we move beyond the buzz to identify the right tactics to meet campaign goals. Come find out about best practices for online mobilizing, learn about useful online tools, identify online tactics that will support your work, and see how technology is being used by conference participants like you to magnify the impact of the 7th Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference.
Presentation by Jennifer Janssen, Senior Online Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator at the National Wildlife Federation.

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  • Official presentation start slide.
  • -Online organizing or online advocacy-Using a variety of tools, tactics, and technologies offered by the internet (incl. mobile devices) to organize a community of individuals towards a common cause. -My perspective: Work on Great Lakes campaigns, offshore wind, hydrofracking, and our national climate change campaign. Am a member of NWF's Online Advocacy Team, which has members at our HQ, DC and regional offices. -Please feel free to speak up with comments, questions, and examples or learnings from campaigns you work on
  • -Social media is a new way to do old business. It is an umbrella term used for many many platforms or websites in which the content is generated by the users and shared with other users—hence it being "social."-New media is another term sometimes used, which refers more to any online media content. Unlike traditional media, "new media" is accessible anytime anywhere online, encourages participation and community formation around the media content.-Recently when presenting about social media, one of my colleagues said something that really resonates with me: "more than knowing how to use social media you need to know why."-In this presentation we will talk about when and why to use online advocacy strategically, and take a look at what advocacy and social media tools to use for various purposes. 
  • -Reach: Online organizing provides rapid mass mobilization—the ability to quickly reach and engage hundreds, thousands or even millions. -Engagement – I get to educate and engage people by taking potentially wonky legislative campaigns and connecting them to their values.-Democracy in action: We are helping engaging Americans in the democratic process who might otherwise not be. Online advocacy is a low barrier way to get engaged.-Through online advocacy, I also help people become active in their communities by facilitating their move up the "engagement ladder", giving opportunities for passionate advocates take the next steps--beyond sending messages to decision-makers and submitting comments on rulemaking dockets--to making phone calls to legislators, submitting letters to the editor, and attending events in their community with local program staff or organizers.
  • Start With a NumericOnline Goal-Identify your long-term and short term campaign and organization's goals and set a numeric online goal to support your overall campaign goal.  -Your numeric online goal may be measuring cultivation of existing supporters (numeric goal may be page views, e-newsletter story opens, FB shares, retweets, people participating in photo contest),recruitment of new supporters,public comments generated, petitions sentto decision-makers, phone calls to decision-makers, a number of RSVPs for an event, or fundraising dollars.
  • Navigate the Hype–when choosing online tools to meat your goal Watch out for developers’ promises of an impressive paint job or expensive tool. -Make sure that you have strong strategy with compelling content and opportunities for your supporters to be inspired and get engaged, then use the right tools for the job. -Your “Strategy” answers the question of, “how am I going to reach my campaign goal." The answer is not, “by using X tool”, instead, it is by helping "X number of people do X activity" because tools don’t achieve campaign goals, people do. People, not tools achieve campaign goals
  • Know Your Audience-Do research on your supporters—remember that they are human, they are busy, and they need to be compelled and inspired before they will use their valuable time to engage on your campaign. Don't work off of your assumptions about what they want, ask them and take note of what messages get better results when communicating with them.-This research can be as simple as sending a survey to your supporters, and remembering how your organization markets itself, so that you can stay true to your organization's core values and give supporters something they will not get from other organizations. -Find out what they like about your organization. What other organizations do they support, what activities do they do, how do they want to be contacted? - Then, use messaging that is compellingto your supporters. -Last, always collect data and keep testing messaging to find what works. Being audience driven also means being "data driven" to find out what messaging is most compelling to your supporters. Keep stats on what emails, types of asks, types of FB posts, tweets or event invites brings in the best results. What type of ask were you using? What type of messaging generated the best response?
  • Know your audience - National Wildlife Federation Example [screenshots of tar sands appeal test]-Example: At NWF Action Fund, we have overcome to a great extent a struggle between leading with messaging about legislation or the threat itself to leading with the story of specific wildlife (an individual if possible) that is at risk from the threat/legislation. -Earlier this year, we tested two fundraising appeals on tar sands against each other that showed in a big way what we have seen over and over. One had a picture of a tar sands processing plant—really terrible looking. It led with text saying how heartbreaking the disaster in the gulf is and that the government was reacting to that by considering a pipeline to go through America's heartland. The second had an image of a bird covered in oil, and led with the impact of oil on birds. The sentence above the photo simply said "tar sands oil is killing wildlife."-Which version do you think won? The second. It raised 2x as much money. 2x. -And that is not to say that one was 100% composed of compelling text about wildlife. After the compelling lead, both emails gave hard-hitting and clear information on the specific pipeline, our plan to stop it, and how our supporters could fight for wildlife by donating. 
  • Online Strategy: Think long-term -Start simple with petition signing asks, and know that many people may just stay at that low-threshold action alert, or retweet, or posting on Facebook. But, some will take the next step if you provide additional opportunities to move up the ”ladder of engagement". Find these folks by taking notice of what activists take the most actions, or are most active on social media.-Timing. Help create a sense of urgency by making asks right before a real legislative or comment period deadline, or alternatively right after a vote when doing accountability. Make sure that if you looked at an appeal two years later, you could read it and understand why it mattered right then.-Balance asks with cultivation. This could mean sending a monthly newsletter with success stories, profiles of activists or staff working on the issue, and engaging asks such as sharing photo or their story.-Supporters must be continually cultivated, lists built and opportunities provided, even during lulls in your legislatively based campaigns. Think from the constituents' perspective to make sure you are not burning out your supporters, or forgetting about them between big campaign pushes. -Investment: Do you have staff resources to regularly cultivate your supporters online (not only the week before you need them to do something)? If you want your supporters to go to hearings, rallies or visits to members of Congress's offices, do you have staff who can meet with your supporters face-to-face or give them a phone call?
  •  Online Tools & Tactics – Now, for you may have been waiting for—the social media and online advocacy tools and tactics that generate so much buzz, and perhaps some confusion as well.These tools can be used as you:-Research your audience-Cultivate ongoing relationships with supporters-Activate with opportunities to make a difference in your campaigns-Market & Distribute your engagement opportunities
  • Online Tools & Tactics: Audience Research Survey -Google forms Behavioral data -Email a/b tests-Web statsListening - Stay tuned on what is being said about your issue or organization online by using one of these aggregators of your news hits. Respond when people are really excited, or complaining about your organization. -Google alerts and Google reader -Addictomatic -Search.twitter
  • Cultivation Tools & TacticsGive people a home base. It may be your organization or campaign's website, your organization's blog, or an online community site such as FacebookFan page (open to all and give analytics), FB group (smaller, invite only, no analytics), Care2,, etc. This is the one-stop-shop where you will offer your supporters "products” that solve a "problem" for your target audience. Provide information they cannot access anywhere else, or in a more accessible format; or give opportunitiesto make a difference (aka, advocacy actions, donating, attending events, spreading the word, etc). You can market products through multiple channels, which we will get to in a few slides. Consider user experience and make the site audience-centric. Make it interactive – give people something to DO. You only have 10 seconds to grab people's attention as they scan across the page, so think of your site like a layered cake, with the enticing opportunities on the top layer and the most detailed info in the deepest layer. And speaking of cakes, keep it fresh. Otherwise people will have no reason to come back and won't know how urgent your work is when deciding whether to give money. 
  • Activation Tools & TacticsOnline petitions are for delivering a high volume of messages to decision-maker or public comment docket. Call pages provide a script and report back mechanismLTE page can be a how-to and example points on your webpage. An LTE alert is included in Convio, the provider of a larger more expensive online advocacy system.Event page can be on your website, or a host of other social sites such as Facebook (event page), Evite,Plancast, or Meetup.Target's page – Your target's page is sometimes the hub, when asking people to Tweet a decision-maker, post on their FB wall, or take an action on their page. The new “We the People” petition site by the Obama Admin. is an example. 
  • Activate – Online–user generated petitions (individuals or organizations).-Care2 –user generated petitions (individuals or organizations) –twitter petitions CostConvio - Convio and Salsa provide user engagement pages including action alerts, surveys, registration pages, LTE alerts, call pages and basic web pages as well as a back-end database, email building and sending capabilities.Salsa – or Democracy in Action Care2 - both Care2 and charge for you to purchase the names of people who take an action you post. You can build your list by working with them to send one of your actions to people who may be interested and then you purchase (for $1.50-2.00 those names)
  • Online Tools & Tactics:Market & Distribute Email -BCCing -Listserves -Content Management Systems (Convio, Salsa)Your webpage and blogSocial networking sites -FB, Twitter, etcMobile -Mobile CommonsWeb Ads -Google, FB
  • Market & Distribute: Timing-Let’s take a moment to put the pieces together for how to use online advocacy in legislative campaigns. We talked about how to research, cultivate and activate your supporters and how to distribute these opportunities. But, when are the various opportunities most effective?-Here is a general outline of what tactic we tend to use at different points in a legislative campaign:Bill Movement - eNews Story, Blog Post, Social MediaFinal Vote - Phone BankPost-Vote Accountability - Action Alert, Social MediaPost-Vote (no accountability) - Email blast, eNews Story, Blog PostNo Bill - eNews Story, Blog Post, Social MediaPublic Comment Period - Action Alert
  • Official presentation end slide, as well as the ballroom slide.
  • Using Online Tools for Effective Organizing

    1. 1. Using Online Tools for Effective Organizing Friday, October 149:00-10:20 a.m.Woodward Ballroom C<br />Jennifer Janssen National Wildlife FederationOnline Advocacy and Outreach Senior Coordinator<br />
    2. 2. Using Online Tools for Effective Organizing<br />Moving beyond the buzz<br />
    3. 3. What is Online Organizing?<br />Image:<br />
    4. 4. What is Social Media?<br /><br />
    5. 5. Why I Love Online Organizing<br />Reach<br />Engagement<br />Action<br />
    6. 6. Developing Online StrategyBest Practices<br />Goal driven<br />Audience-centered<br />Focused<br />Long-term<br /><br />
    7. 7. Start With a Numeric Online Goal<br />Cultivation<br />Recruitment<br />Petition volume<br />Public comments<br />Phone calls<br />LTEs<br />Event RSVPs<br />Fundraising<br />Image: Flickr / Nathan Forget<br />
    8. 8. Navigate the Hype <br />Use the right tools for the job<br />People, not tools achieve campaign goals<br /><br />
    9. 9. Know Your Audience <br />Do research <br />Use messaging that is compelling—to your supporters<br />Collect data <br />
    10. 10. Know your audience – National Wildlife Federation Example<br />
    11. 11. Think long-term<br />Ladder of engagement<br />Timing<br />Balance asks with cultivation<br />Investment<br />
    12. 12.  Online Tools & Tactics <br />Research<br />Cultivate<br />Activate<br />Market & Distribute<br />
    13. 13. Audience Research Tools & Tactics<br /> Survey<br /><br /><br />Google forms<br />Behavioral Data<br /> Email a/b tests<br /> Web stats<br />Listening <br />Google alerts/reader<br />Addictomatic<br />Search.twitter<br />
    14. 14. Cultivation Tools & Tactics<br />Home base<br />Website<br />Blog<br />Online community site<br />Offer “products”<br />Information<br />Access <br />Make a difference<br />Audience-centric<br />Interactive<br />Layered cake<br />Keep it fresh <br />Multi-channel marketing<br />Web, emails, e-newsletter, social media, web ads, mobile, etc<br />
    15. 15. Activation Tools & Tactics<br />Online petition<br />Call page<br />LTE page or alert<br />Event page or social site<br />Donation page<br />Target’s page<br />
    16. 16.  Online Petitions<br />Free<br /><br />Care2<br /><br />Cost<br />Convio<br />Salsa<br />Care2<br /><br />
    17. 17. Marketing or DistributionTools & Tactics<br /> Email blast<br />Action alert, e-news, invite<br />Convio, Salsa, etc.<br />BCCing<br />Listserves<br />Your webpage and blog<br />Features on your webpages<br />Social networking sites<br />Facebook, Twitter, etc.<br />Mobile<br />Mobile Commons<br />Web Ads <br />Google, Facebook<br />
    18. 18. Timing in Legislative Campaigns<br />Bill Movement<br />eNews story, blog post, social media<br />Final Vote<br />Phone bank<br />Post-Vote Accountability<br />Actionalert in email blast, social media<br />Post-Vote (without accountability)<br />eNewsstory, blog post<br />No Bill<br />eNewssStory, blog post, social media<br />Public Comment Period<br />Action alert<br />
    19. 19. Great Lakes Restoration ConferenceMarketing and Distribution <br />Live streaming<br />Live blogging<br />Images, interviews, responses, tweets<br />Targeting decision-makers<br />Expanded access<br />Crowd sourcing<br />#healthylakes<br />Email content<br />
    20. 20. Develop an Online Plan<br /> 1 Campaign or organizational goal<br />+ 1 Online goal<br />+ 1 Audience<br />+ Realistic capacity<br />+ 1-3 online tactics & tools<br />= A strong plan.<br />Create a plan, share with your group, & report back.<br /><br />
    21. 21. Spread the word!<br /> Wireless: <br />Choose “Woodward Prefunction” and use passwordHOW11<br /> <br />Conference website:<br /> <br />Email us photos, comments, tweets or video & we will post online:<br /> <br />On Twitter? Use the hashtag:#healthylakes<br />