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2017 Open Space Conference - Communications: Building a Bridge Between Message Research and Delivery


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Communications: Building a Bridge Between Message Research and Delivery - Breakout Group (2)

- Deb Callahan, Executive Director, Bay Area Open Space Council (Moderator)
- Liz Deering, Communications Director, Conservation Minnesota
- Robin Pressman, Consultant, Robin Pressman Consulting
- Dave Metz, Partner, Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3)

These panelists spoke at the 2017 Open Space Conference, Eyes on the Horizon, Boots on the Trail on May 18, 2017 at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, CA. More info on the Bay Area Open Space Council's website:

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2017 Open Space Conference - Communications: Building a Bridge Between Message Research and Delivery

  1. 1. a At Conservation Minnesota, we turn your love of Minnesota’s Great Outdoors into the laws that protect it.
  2. 2. a • In 2008, Minnesota voters overwhelmingly passed the largest state-level voter approved conservation funding measure in history. • The Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment increased sales tax by 3/8 of 1% for 25 years. • Most importantly it passed EVERYWHERE! Step Back to Minnesota's Constitutional Amendment.
  3. 3. a • A geographic audit of 16 MN environmental groups showed 82% of membership lived in Twin Cities Metro. • But the Legacy Amendment had passed EVERYWHERE. • To build power we needed to engage a diverse and active statewide network, including Legacy Amendment supporters. The Wake Up Call.
  4. 4. a Step 1: Use targeting to find Minnesotans from across the state willing to respond. Step 2: Find a compelling way to engage those who respond. The Question: How do we Build a Statewide Network?
  5. 5. a We asked a targeted audience to tell us how important various conservation issues were to them and then asked which one was the MOST important? We Asked. Our Interest Survey.
  6. 6. a Direct mail was sent to 100,000 Minnesota households. Our targeting and message resulted in a 16% return rate. It Worked. People Responded!
  7. 7. a • We listened to what they told us and showed interest in their opinions. • A second letter told them what we were doing on their issue: We Listened and Reported Back. “You told us that protecting our drinking water, our lakes, and our rivers from contamination by pesticides and agricultural run-off was the most important issue in our survey. 9,888 of the people who took our survey agreed with you that this issue is important. I am excited to tell you that our board agreed with you as well. We will be working hard this year to protect our waters from agriculture run-off. Here’s how…”
  8. 8. a • Member communications were customized to match the issue areas they told us were important, including: – Annual Postcard to their State Legislators – Email Communications – Quarterly Newsletter Then We Reminded Them. Again...
  9. 9. a • Test And Again.
  10. 10. a What were the Results? Huge Growth in…
  11. 11. a Results: Our Membership.
  12. 12. a Results: Grassroots Actions.
  13. 13. a Results: Donors and Donor Dollars.
  14. 14. a • Our survey and customized communications are now embedded in the organization’s identity. • Everything our members do is recorded in our database and available for future use. • We’re truly building statewide power because of the relationships we’re cultivating. Our Conclusion: Ask Questions and Listen.
  15. 15. a Liz Deering Contact Information
  16. 16. ©Yuhas Consulting Group, LLC 16 Building Models to Effectively Target and Deliver Your Message
  17. 17. 17 “Key targeting of voters and message development was critical to the success of this initiative. The micro targeting developed for the campaign will pay dividends in years to come as constituent groups continue to use the data to build their memberships, target constituents on key legislative issues, and focus legislators on the issues their constituents care about.” -Paul Austin, Exec. Director, Conservation Minnesota MN Constitution Amendment ©Yuhas Consulting Group, LLC
  18. 18. Identify who are your likely supporters Customize the message to align with their interests The combination increases impact – Less money wasted on unsupportive contacts – Aligned messages increase response 18 Targeting Improved Performance ©Yuhas Consulting Group, LLC
  19. 19. ©Yuhas Consulting Group, LLC 19 Step 1: Identify Targets 5,000 registered voters were polled. The sample was drawn from the Catalist voter file. Five voters of interest were identified: • Amendment supporters • Activists • Hunters and fishers • Agree global warming is a crisis • Potential donors to Conservation MN
  20. 20. Append External Data – Voter files - age, race, party, tenure and vote history – Public records – census, deeds, and DMV – Commercial demographic and behavioral data Step 2: Attributes of the Targets ©Yuhas Consulting Group, LLC 20
  21. 21. 21 Step 3: Model Your Targets Marital Status + Purchasing PowerGender (voter file) + + % College Graduates In neighborhood (census) 2+ Children + + Internet User What attributes are associated with your targets? What is their relative importance? ©Yuhas Consulting Group, LLC
  22. 22. 22 Step 4: Identify Others with Similar Traits + + + % College Graduates = 16 + Internet User + ++ Internet User Marital Status 2+ Children + + Internet User Purchasing Power = 83 = 72 = 54 Gender Gender Gender Purchasing Power % College Graduates % College Graduates
  23. 23. 23 Lowest Scores Use Scores to Sort & Select Individuals Highest Scores Target voters with high scores • Contact supporters (volunteer recruitment, activism) • Start at highest scores and work down (efficient calling) Exclude voters with low scores. Mid-Range Scores ©Yuhas Consulting Group, LLC
  24. 24. 24 In the past two years, how many times have you contacted an elected official about an issue of importance to you -- never, once, or more than once? Never...................................................................... 58% Once........................................................................ 16% More than once........................................................ 25% For the purposes of the 2008 model, we chose to model the 25% who responded more than once. In 2017, we used the contact history from Conservation MN solicitations. Activist Model ©Yuhas Consulting Group, LLC
  25. 25. 25 On average, 25% of the responders had contacted an elected official more than once in the last two years. This percentage rises to 47% of those voters with a score of 10, which is nearly double the mean and four times more likely than those voters with a score of 1. Activist Model Performance 12% 16% 18% 20% 20% 24% 29% 31% 37% 47% 25% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50% 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total Activist Score MoreThanOnce ©Yuhas Consulting Group, LLC
  26. 26. ©Yuhas Consulting Group, LLC 26 9 years later 1. Extend the models to new registrants. 2. Assed whether the models were still effective 3. 3 of the 5 could be rebuilt using the current voter file 4. A new “responder” model was built to identify who is likely to “take action” or contribute. Models were assessed and developed using data Conservation Minnesota collected in their program work; saving the high cost of conducting a poll. Updating the Models in 2017
  27. 27. ©Yuhas Consulting Group, LLC 27 Conclusion from MN Case Study Models can be a solid investment for organizations Models often hold up well over time Collecting and saving your data can pay significant dividends down the road
  28. 28. Contact Information Robin Pressman Consulting 202.276.0603 ©Yuhas Consulting Group, LLC 28
  29. 29. aThe Language of Conservation 2017 How to Communicate Effectively to Build Support for Conservation in the Bay Area
  30. 30. aaa “In your own words, what does the term ‘watershed’ mean to you?” 1999 survey of 850 Santa Clara County, CA residents Don’t know: 47% A geographic area through which water flows to a common destination: 27% A building or shed used to store water: 26%
  31. 31. aaa I think it’s like an irrigation or a percolation pond thing, where it is kind of like the water table. It is like a holding tank. Rain falls in it and feeds down into this area one way or another. It is the whole area that collects the water. It sounds like it’s a box with the water. I picture that big cement thing full of water. I’ve seen them at Rancho San Antonio…I saw something that looked like it. It was a big huge tank kind of thing. I’d say a backup water supply. Some sort of receptacle or container for water.
  32. 32. aaa We communicate to voters in subtle ways that can help to shape these misperceptions.
  33. 33. Water, Water, and More Water
  34. 34. 35 The Elephant in the White House
  35. 35. The Role of Climate Change is Changing
  36. 36. Future Generations
  37. 37. “Our area is known for its beautiful parks, natural areas, and hiking and biking trails. Having access to these is part of what makes living in Sonoma County so great. This measure will expand and maintain our unique trails, from the beautiful, rugged Hood Mountain trails, ideal for camping and enjoying nature, and will complete the network of paved trails throughout Sonoma, perfect for commuting, leisurely bike rides, and walks.” Way of Life
  38. 38. aaa82% 94% National Voters Hunters % Total Serious Problem “Children not spending enough time in the outdoors and in nature” 50% Extremely/Very 73% Extremely/Very Help Kids Get Outdoors
  39. 39. aaa Connect Conservation to Health “Pollution from harmful chemicals like PCB’s, mercury, and pesticides has put the Bay’s fish and wildlife at serious risk. Restoring Bay wetlands is critical to reduce the toxins that threaten our fish and wildlife.”
  40. 40. aaa We can protect land and water and have a strong economy with good jobs for Americans at the same time, without having to choose one over the other. Sometimes protections for land and water and a strong economy are in conflict and we must choose one over the other. The Environment and the Economy
  41. 41. 42 Eat Locally
  42. 42. aaa Very Convincing By Party - 45% - 37% - 40% “What is a conservative after all but one who conserves… And we want to protect and conserve the land on which we live — our countryside, our rivers and mountains, our plains and meadows and forests… This is what we leave to our children. And our great moral responsibility is to leave it to them either as we found it or better than we found it.” Evoke Responsibility
  43. 43. aaa Highlight History % of American voters who call themselves a “History Buff” % of American voters who call themselves an “Environmentalist”
  44. 44. aaa
  45. 45. Talk benefits – not process.
  46. 46. a Dave Metz 510-451-9521