Engaging Your Community in Advocacy: 3 Outreach Strategies

Mike Snusz
Director of Nonprofit Customer Experience at Tatango

Running an advocacy campaign is no easy feat. From organizing advocacy activities to mobilizing support for your cause, it can be challenging to push forward your goals and keep motivations high. So, how can you effectively promote and get your community excited about your advocacy campaign?

The answer is with the right outreach strategies! Whether you’re hoping to spread public health awareness, push forward an environmental policy change, or advocate for any other cause that’s central to your nonprofit’s purpose, having a strong communication plan is central to your advocacy campaign’s success.

In this guide, we’ll go over three tried and true outreach strategies to rally your community around your advocacy goals and spark meaningful change.

Use the Right Communication Platforms

To get your audience involved in advocacy, you have to first get your campaign on their radar and demonstrate why it’s worthy of their attention. This is where using the right communication platforms becomes essential.

Consider your audience’s communication preferences, then select the platforms where they’re most likely to see and engage with your messaging. For example, if your audience is mainly made up of Generation Z, you might focus on sharing promotional content on social media platforms like TikTok or Instagram.

There are many different communication channels, both online and offline, that you can leverage to create buzz around your campaign. Here's a breakdown of the different platforms at your disposal:

Digital Channels

Your supporters already spend most of their time online, so why not meet them where they are? Here are the top digital platforms your nonprofit can use to market your campaign:

  • Text Messaging: With a 99% open rate and a 90% read rate, text messaging is one of the best ways to get your messaging in front of audiences. Texting is inherently flexible, giving your nonprofit the ability to send everything from requests for volunteers to donation appeals that push forward your advocacy efforts. Tatango’s guide to nonprofit text messaging recommends working with comprehensive software so you can automate and personalize your messages to inspire action.
Text messaging is one of the top outreach tools to engage your community in advocacy.
  • Social Media: Social media is another powerful digital marketing solution that can keep your nonprofit and advocacy campaign top of mind. To build a strong social media strategy, generate engaging photos and videos related to your campaign that create an emotional impact. For example, if you’re an environmental organization hoping to bring attention to ocean pollution, you might share photos of sea turtles swimming alongside trash. Use relevant hashtags to expand your reach and get in front of new audiences.
  • Website: Develop a landing page on your nonprofit website that explains the purpose of your advocacy campaign and how supporters can participate. You can also develop educational blog content for users who may be unfamiliar with the issue you’re tackling.
  • Email Marketing: Email is a great platform for sending campaign updates and calls to action to get involved. However, your supporters receive tens to hundreds of emails a day. To stand out from the crowd, create compelling subject lines that pique your audience’s interests and develop an accessible and visually appealing layout for your emails.

Now that you know the top digital channels to spread the word, let’s take a look at some offline channels.

Offline Channels

Offline marketing can be especially valuable for advocacy campaigns that are taking place on a local scale, as they help increase visibility around your cause to the individuals that would care most about your campaign. Even if you’re hosting an advocacy campaign on a larger-scale, offline marketing is a great way to break through the noise online and get in touch with audiences who may not be reachable through digital means.

Here are the top offline platforms to keep on your radar:

  • Direct Mail: Some of your supporters might be more old-school and appreciate hearing from your nonprofit in the mail. Consider adding QR codes to your direct mail that take supporters to the landing page on your website that summarizes your advocacy campaign.
  • Print Materials: Design and distribute pamphlets, brochures, and flyers where appropriate. For example, you might pass out flyers at town hall meetings and community events.
  • Local Media: Collaborate with local newspapers, radio stations, and TV channels to increase your exposure and get in front of more people.

As you decide which platforms to use, consider your audience’s preferences and interests. Tailoring your outreach strategy to your target audience will increase the chances that they’ll see and act on your messaging.

Leverage Storytelling in Your Communications

Once you’ve nailed down which platforms you want to focus on, you’re ready to draft your communications and content. To ensure your messaging resonates with audiences, Kwala’s guide to donor communications recommends telling engaging stories that emphasize the gravity of the issue at hand, explain your nonprofit’s impact, and ultimately show why supporters should join your advocacy campaign.

For example, you might:

  • Tell a story about an individual affected by the given issue.
  • Share photos and videos of beneficiaries or your volunteers in action.
  • Use statistics to add credibility and boost trust.

Make sure to connect your stories back to your advocacy campaign’s purpose and end with a clear call to action on how supporters can get involved, whether that be by signing petitions, writing letters to their local congressmen, or donating to your cause by text-to-give.

Drive Continuous Engagement Through Your Communications

Messages that engage supporters are more likely to prompt action and help you build momentum for your cause. Use these tips to drive continuous engagement through your outreach strategy:

  • Provide regular updates on the results of your advocacy efforts.
  • Share links to educational content, including relevant articles on your blog.
  • Send surveys asking supporters about the different ways they’re interested in helping your organization, such as volunteering.
  • Organize in-person or online advocacy events, such as webinars with experts on the issue you’re tackling, and let your supporters know when these will be taking place.

Using your various communication platforms, you can track engagement and determine whether your content is making an impact. For example, with the right text messaging platform, you can track open rate, click-through rate, and conversions from your texts. This will point you to ways you can optimize your text messaging strategy to meet your goals.

Wrapping Up

Churches, nonprofits, and charities can all benefit from running advocacy campaigns to bring attention to important issues—but they need the backing of their community to support their goals.

Make sure to reflect on the effectiveness of your communications and make changes as needed to drive even greater results. You can also send out surveys to supporters asking for feedback on your communication strategy so you can better tailor it to their interests.

Mike Snusz
Director of Nonprofit Customer Experience at Tatango

Mike Snusz brings 19 years of digital fundraising experience to his role as Director of Nonprofit Customer Experience at Tatango, a text messaging platform for nonprofits and political campaigns. Prior to Tatango, Mike spent 15 years at Blackbaud leading a team of digital consultants that helped nonprofits improve their online fundraising, monthly giving, email marketing and peer-to-peer fundraising programs. Mike started his nonprofit career managing the Ride For Roswell from 2003 to 2005 in his hometown of Buffalo, NY.

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