Advocacy should be part of every nonprofit’s mission. Includes activities like: Non partisan analysis, study or research Discussion of broad social issuesTechnical assistance(These activities aren’t consider to be lobbying.)
All lobbying is advocacy, but not all advocacy is lobbying.Contrary to popular belief, nonprofits are permitted to do a small amount of lobbying as part of their work. You have information that legislators need to make informed decisions.The IRS permits an “insubstantial” amount of lobbying based on expenditures.Social media is one way to do advocacy and some lobbying while keeping costs down.What you may not do is support a particular political candidate or party – political campaign-related activity is forbidden for 501 c 3 orgs.
Goals – identify the cause you want to promote, think about your desired outcomes, create measureable goalsAudience – who do you want to target with your messaging? Legislators or a particular stakeholder group?Tools – once you know who your audience is, where do you go to find them? What social media platforms are they already using?Content – what do you want to say? (More about this in a few minutes.)Measuring – how will you know if you are successful?
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Conversational toneInclude a photo whenever possibleTell a story
Provide useful informationInspire and encourage stakeholders to share their own storiesKeep them connected and informed on issuesInitiate calls to action (if lobbying)Share interesting links to related information on your website or other social media channels (a tweet might link to a YouTube video, for example)Ask a question / poll stakeholders
People read 20% of what’s on a web page.Social media channels have a lot of “noise” so you want to make content easy to scan.Posts should be short and to the point. You can direct people to your website or a blog if you need to convey more information than social media allows.
Up-to-date content so people can:VisitLearntake action
Respond to (or delete) partisan comments. You can respond easily by adding a comment that repeats your disclaimer.Be careful about “friending” or linking to legislators – might be construed as an endorsement.(If they “follow” you, that’s different.)
Practice:Ask someone to name a hot issue surrounding AMR (anyone from audience can volunteer a topic)Break into groups of 5Give 11 x 17 sheets of paper and sharpies outTask: Write one social media post for Facebook OR one post for Twitter advocating around the hot issueHang on wall with scotch tape after and review/discussNeed:11 x 17” sheets of paperSharpie MarkersScotch tape
Social Media and other Tools for Advocacy
2013 PA AMR
Consulting Team Leader
Bayer Center for Nonprofit Mgmt.
at Robert Morris University
• Advocacy and Lobbying
• Social Media Strategy
• Managing Social
• On the Back End
• PracticePhoto Source: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/images/hydrograph_photos/kinp1/KINP1_US.jpg
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Views expressed by commenters are those of the
person making the comment and not necessarily
those of the organization.
The organization does not endorse any political
Commentaries are provided as a public service in
the interest of informing the public.
Consider adding a disclaimer
to social media profiles