obama campaign

Is Your Org Ready To Put An Engaged Base To Work -- Pew Survey Findings Show High Voter Expectations Of Involvement In Obama AdministrationThere’s so much emphasis on the challenge of building your organization’s base. After all, without a base, there’s no progress.

But once you open the door, you have to be ready to welcome and more fully involve your base. You need to walk the talk — if you invite folks to give or sign a petition, to staff a table or to participate in a program, then continue to be responsive, enabling them to be (increasingly) involved in the way they want to be. Far too many organizations aren’t poised to do so and play mad catch up, risking a vital resource.

Nothing proves the need to walk this talk more strongly than the recent release of survey results on post-election voter engagement (thanks to the Pew Internet and American Life Project). Researcher Aaron Rich reports that most of Obama’s campaign troops plan to remain engaged with the incoming Obama Administration and mobilize others in support of his agenda. That’s no surprise to me, but is the administration ready?

Rich also reports out that:

  • 62% of Obama voters expect to be involved in moving the administration’s agenda forward by asking others to support its policies. That’s voters, not campaigners.
  • 46% of Obama voters and 33% of McCain voters expect to hear directly from their candidate or party leaders over the next year, and many of them have a particular medium (phone vs. email vs. text vs. social networking) in mind.

Things are clearly different now, with Obama’s base (and McCain’s too, to a lesser extent) unwilling to shrink into the background. For example, my ornery friend Mark Sirkin complained to me today that he “…had to yell at [the Obama transition team] for calling me on the phone. I said hey, I’m a Web donor  [so get me online]. Don’t make me give you a fake phone number.

Dig into these findings yourself to understand fully how your base’s expectations have changed. They are going to expect to be more actively involved in forwarding your issues themselves. You have to be ready to give them whatever guidance, tools info or motivation they need to do so most effectively. Are YOU ready?

Click the Comments link below to tell me how your organization is helping your base move your issues or causes forward, or not.

P. S. Don’t miss out on the in-depth articles, case studies and guides on key nonprofit communications topics featured in the Getting Attention e-alert. Subscribe today.

Nancy Schwartz on January 7, 2009 in Campaign Marketing Models & Tips, Nonprofit Communications, Trends, Viral Marketing, Volunteers | 1 comment
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Don't Tell Your Audiences What They Want--Obama Lawn Sign Blow UpLooking for one of these?

So are thousands of other Obama supporters throughout the country. And they’re pissed: They want to be able to show their neighbors where they stand. They’re viral marketers eager to spread the word, proud of their stand but frustrated as heck they can’t get the ammunition they need to shout it loud and clear!

According to a recent article by Tim Craig in the Washington Post:

“Kevin Griffis, an Obama spokesman, said the campaign hasn’t put a priority on lawn signs, noting that they don’t vote on Election Day.”

Well, as much as Griffis may snub his noise at sign-wanters (based on the campaign’s insistence that Obama doesn’t need the name recognition boost signs provide), signs do matter to Obama supporters. The campaign, in staying unresponsive to folks who are looking hard for signs — and willing to pay for them — is sending out a negative vibe ala, “we don’t care what you want.” And that’s all wrong.

According to Scott A. Surovell, chairman of the Fairfax County, VA Democratic Committee, “”Signs are incredibly important, because supporters want to show their support and want to show their neighbors who they are supporting. It can be very frustrating when their neighbors have John McCain signs and they can’t get Obama signs. A lot of people feel like they are fighting this fight street to street, house to house, and when they see McCain signs everywhere, it makes them feel alone.”

While bumper stickers have clearly fallen away from the game of retail politics, the lawn sign has not. In fact, it’s possible to say, especially with the lightweight, plastic signs, that it’s easier than ever for campaigns to mail signs to supporters. In any event, the Obama campaign has made a bad tactical move here: “People vote, not signs” is just rationalizing a bad decision.

Campaigning, like fundraising, isn’t pure science. Human emotion plays a huge role, and overlooking it is a mistake.

Make it easy for your base to get and stay emotionally involved (as well as intellectually, creatively, politically, etc.) by listening hard to their needs and wants, rather than shouting over them. The community they form around your org’s work and issues is a valuable one, to you and to them. Do whatever you take to nourish it, no matter what the science says.

P.S. Learn how to craft the shortest and most compelling story for your org. Download the free Nonprofit Tagline Report for must-dos, don’t dos, case studies and 1,000+ nonprofit tagline examples!

Nancy Schwartz on October 29, 2008 in Branding and Messages, Campaign Marketing Models & Tips, Nonprofit Communications, Strategy | 2 comments
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