Internet Advocacy Rountable: strategy for web outreach
In April, I attended the Internet Advocacy Roundtable at the Center for American Progress Action Fund here in Washington D.C. The rountable featured two web strategists from the DNC and RNC, who shared their experiences and gave advice on building campaign web strategy.
The roundable was hosted by Alan Rosenblatt, the Associate Director for Online Advocacy at CAPAF. The panel featured Tracy Russo, Former Chief Blogger and Deputy Online Communications Director in the John Edwards campaign, and a former member of the Democratic National Committee Internet team. The RNC panel representative was Mindy Finn, the former director of the web strategy of Mitt Romney's campaign.
Alan, Tracy, and Mindy discussed how web strategy must be integrated into all aspects of a campaign, and is a powerful advocacy tool because it gives clues about when you need to change your strategy before a mistake takes a toll. Email can work in two directions. It can make people really sense the community and conversation around them or feel as if they are one check on a mass mailing list. Individualizing content to specific audiences should be implemented in three main steps: Test, Target, and Track. Testing your technique, targeting specific interests, and assessing tracked results build web strategy into an online conversation that acts as a mobile technology of community development.
For a nice example, go to www.technpresident.com, to view how online community building tools such as blogs and personal profiles can be used to create community within a campaign.
Also check out www.utterz.com, a multimedia blog that integrates cell phone messages and pictures.
If you haven't already - read Andy Goodman!
If you haven't already read the publications from Andy Goodman or signed up for his newsletter, you should.
He has great communications tips for progressives and you can sign up for his newsletter here: http://www.agoodmanonline.com/newsletter/index.html.
Climate conference planned for October in New Hampshire!
Climate conference planned for October in New Hampshire
Citizens, businesses, conservationists and policy makers to convene in Manchester, New Hampshire this October. Prior to the First in the Nation Presidential Primary, leaders in business, energy, investments, climate science, and conservation will come together to discuss US climate policy at the Global Warming and Energy Solutions conference here October 12 and 13th.
“A solid majority of New Hampshire citizens consider global warming a serious threat that demands solutions,” said Adam Markham, executive director of Clean Air - Cool Planet, which will host the pre-primary event at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester. “Less than 3 months before the primary, this conference will be the best single opportunity to share solutions, communicate opportunities and challenges and thereby inform the global warming plans of the next President of the United States.”
Presidential candidates from both parties have been invited to attend and communicate their priorities for action on climate change and energy security. The conference will feature experts on federal and state climate policy, alternative energy sources, and paths to climate neutrality. Speakers include PSEG Chairman and CEO Ralph Izzo; Dr.Berrien Moore, director of the Complex Systems Research Center at the University of New Hampshire; author and activist Bill McKibben; National Wildlife Federation President Larry Schweiger; and Stonyfield Farm President and CEO Gary Hirshberg.
The Clean Air - Cool Planet Climate Champion Awards will be presented at a reception Friday evening. Workshops will focus on adapting to a warmer climate; implications for wildlife; action in the retail sector; demand-side savings for residents and businesses; and renewable energy potential in the Northeast
For more information or to register, visit www.cleanair-coolplanet.org.
If you are going to be in New Hampshire this fall, or this sounds like the conference for you, then register! Help us in supporting our members.
YouTube for bird watchers?
Newsweek recently wrote about Bird Cinema, a sort of YouTube for the bird watching circuit. What a great idea!
Since launching on June 7, 700 user-submitted videos have been uploaded onto Birdcinema from all over the world and nearly 116,000 videos have been viewed. And although the number of Americans who actively watch birds is declining, according to a 2001 government survey, there are still millions who are jazzed by the sight of an owl sitting on a log--or even a hummingbird in their backyard. In fact, according to the survey, one in five Americans watches birds, although some are more devoted than others.
Another way connecting thousands, even millions of people online, all in the name of one common interest. It's another idea of networking that non profits should take notice of. Are there other YouTube-ish sites that could be created that revolve around a specific environmental issue? We've seen how successful something like this has been and how easily it connects people together. It's another tool that progressives need to grab and run with.
How do we motivate our supporters?
Yesterday I went to my first EcoWomen happy hour. These happy hours bring women of all ages together who care about the environment and are working to protect it. This month's event featured Dr. Jamie Reaser as the speaker. Jamie is the founder of Ecos Systems Institute, an organization that helps with capacity building. The topic of her talk was motivating conservation and sustainable living and a lot of what she said were points I think many organizations can think about and use in their advocacy work.
Jamie explained that in order to motivate people (our supporters or even those who we want to support us), we need to effect them enough that we alter their values. The environmental movement tends to try to change people's behaviors, but we need to go even farther than that in order to make an impact. People won't simply do something without knowing how it truly affects them. Jamie explains that we need to work towards shifting people's identities so that they feel connected to an issues and shift their values towards caring about an issue.
The environmental movement is also continually trying to move away from problems. What we need to do instead is move towards solutions. People want to stop global warming, but we need to give them solutions towards how they can do this.
Jamie also challenged those of us at the happy hour to reach out to people who aren't yet supporting us. Find the audience least likely to care or show up and get in front of them. Think about their values and how what we are doing affects those values. Why not place an ad in a magazine we wouldn't normally think about, such as Glamour or Elle?
One last thing I wanted to note was that Jamie read several essays written about people's experiences with nature. What was moving about them is that they explained the person's connection with the environment, how they were affected by what was going on around them. It made me think about how maybe we need to do more storytelling - whether we do it or our supporters do it - but we can motivate people to act through these stories. Imagine the number of stories that came from Hurricane Katrina - reading about people's experiences made others want to act and do something to help. Their own values were affected by seeing families separated, pets lost, homes destroyed. And because these values are a part of their identity, they wanted to help and make a difference.
Ringtones as a conversation starter?
Bobbi's previous post about non profits using print ads in the Metro to encourage riders to text about important issues made me think about my daily commute via the Metro to work. Every ride someone's cell phone goes off. A loved one is calling to check in on when the cell phone owner will be home, or when they should meet for drinks, or how come they are running so late. And every time the cell phone rings, I hear a new tone. Whether it's someone's favorite song, or the opening tune from a TV show, or, quite creatively, someone yelling, "Pick up!".
Here's another great way for non profits to share their message with the masses. Why not create a ringtone for your organization and have your supporters download it? More than once I've been tempted to ask the person next to me where they downloaded their unique ringtone. And I've heard other commuters ask the same to their neighbor. It's a great way to start a conversation - someone asks one of your supporters where they downloaded that ringtone of a tiger growling, or ocean waves crashing. Your supporter then explains how they can go to your website and download it in support.
It may even spark a conversation between two people about an important issue, and your message has now been passed on.
Vote for Scorecard.org for a Progressive Source Award!
Scorecard.org, a project of Green Media Toolshed, has been nominated for a Progressive Source Award in the category of Most Innovative Advocacy Tool. This is the first year for the Progressive Source Awards and the goal is to recognize organizations that are using the Web to effectively spread their messages with provocative videos, arresting homepages, and informative resources to motivate, educate, and inspire.
The awards are hosted by a new NYC-based firm called Progressive Source Communication. Voting ends on Monday, June 25th, so if you have a moment, please vote for the Scorecard site!
You can vote here.
Thanks for your support!
Taming the Giant Corporation
On June 8th, 9th and 10th, Taming the Giant Corportion will be held in Washington, DC. The conference will focus on corporate accountability and will include a variety of speakers from MoveOn.org, the Project on Government Oversight, and more.
"Taming the Giant Corporation" will be an opportunity to learn, debate, meet leading advocates and activists, and grapple with the questions that must be answered if we are to strive for a just and livable world.
Click here to register for the conference.
How to Use Your Blog to Promote Your Organization's Cause
Britt Bravo posted on her blog Have Fun Do Good a great guide to how to make your blog support your organization's cause. There are some great tips in here, including this one:
"When you are creating your press list, be sure to search on Technorati and Google Blog Search to find bloggers who are writing about your organization's issues and send them your press release as well."
Check out her previous blog posts as well. She has a great post on how to start a non profit blog, if your organization is in that phase.
~Yvonne Archer, Green Media Toolshed
Viral Marketing Campaign to Check Out
Check out the These Come From Trees blog. The blog is the central point of the campaign to encourage people to reduce their use of paper napkins and towels. It's a great example of viral marketing and by subscribing to the RSS feed of the blog, you can keep up-to-date on the project as it moves forward.