Here’s a neat trick that Engagement Organizations can do: because they have solid, integrated website and database systems, they can quickly identify contact records that have missing information, then send out an email blast like this one I just got from Dogwood Initiative:
Contact update email from Dogwood Initiative
As you can see, the email includes a personalized URL that takes me directly to a page on the Dogwood website that displays my current contact info from Dogwood’s database, and lets me update it with a single click. The information feeds back directly into the database–no data entry or cumbersome import processes are required, so it’s fast and easy both for me and for the Dogwood team.
Dogwood contact update web page
Dogwood sends an email like this a couple of times per year. In just a few seconds, their members are able to easily update their contact information. Dogwood reaps the benefits of an up-to-date supporter list and its supporters get the most relevant, personalized information possible. That sounds like a great deal to me!
This didn’t make it into the paper on Engagement Organizing that we’re about to release, but I thought it was an important point on its own. Curious to hear your thoughts.
One thing is common to all of the engagement organizations we interviewed: authenticity. These are organizations that are so comfortable with their identity and able to explicitly connect their work of the moment to deeply-held core values that their supporters feel it and respond to it with higher levels of engagement than in other organizations. In a world where people are less trusting all the time, authenticity is a critical foundation of social change.
I’m working on a fairly big chunk of writing about advocacy campaigns, organizing and strategy. (More on that very soon!) In the meantime, one idea that popped out along the way that didn’t really fit into the main thrust of the piece was the observation that, for many organizations, there’s a deep tension between building an army of passionate followers and being credible with the not-already-converted. One manifestation of this tension, with which we’re all probably familiar, is the organization that is extremely fired up but decisionmakers don’t take them seriously. More common, though, is the organization that is well positioned to be credible, but extremely weak. The creative challenge, I think, is to be both passionate and credible.