Non Profit Advocacy: Is Anyone Listening To You?

Non Profit Advocacy: Is Anyone Listening To You?

February 12th, 2013 // 12:00 pm @

Non profits have long been in the business of advocacy and policy engagement. It’s not an easy task — to compel people to support a cause via digital and print communications. To be forceful and gentle at the same time, demand but not beg.

But we’ve all received terrible non profit advocacy communications. Recently I received an email from a non profit thanking me for renewing. The only problem is I have never given money to them. Seems they can’t keep track of most basic stats on their email lists.

If they can’t keep their email lists straight, other elements behind the scenes might be equally messy.

Non profits often ask themselves a series of questions about their use of traditional PR tools — email, brochures, and press releases. They ask,

  • How many people did we reach?
  • Are they reading these materials?
  • How would we know, anyways? *Hint: the wrong tree is already being barked up.
  • Does any of that matter, as long as we are getting the materials out there? (Oy.)

Let’s look at a traditional press release….

Sent out through traditional channels, these are probably the worst way to make an advocacy news cycle splash. They offer little to no guarantee of coverage outside of websites that post press releases. These releases might be emailed to a stale list of media contacts. This offers little hope of traction in major media outlets, especially if you’re a smaller shop non profit.

Okay, maybe your email list isn’t stale? Maybe you even have good relationships with reporters at the local paper? However, we want large-scale traction! The kind an article in the local paper can’t give us — but social media can!

Fast forward to 2013…

Let’s take that same press release and promote it on social media. Post to Twitter with a ~120 character catch that pulls people in. Use your own short url for branding. Tempt influencers to share your content. Post it to a Facebook page with thousands of followers.

If you were already well engaged on Twitter and Facebook, you could tempt a few influential users to share your content. Then watch 1000s interact with your press release.

But what if you are not well engaged on social networks? What if you are starting from the ground up? Don’t fret, I’ve done this plenty of time!

Are you interested in building up your social networks to increase your reach? Please contact me today to work together!


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