Your organization has many moving parts – likely media outreach, fundraising, events, member relations, website content management and more. Ultimately, all of these activities support your core mission. That mission is to effect public policy decisions. It is important to take a moment to ask yourself: Is your organization absolutely as effective as it could be in achieving your mission?
If the answer is yes, you can stop here! You do not need a grassroots advocacy campaign if you feel that you are already achieving everything you set out to achieve!
If the answer is no, let’s assess the situation more closely.
What is the true cost of not having a grassroots advocacy component?
Does your find organization spend time:
- Trying to convince legislators that voters care about your issue?
- Searching for real world examples of how your policy recommendations would impact constituents?
- Struggling to find a better way to get people to understand facts and numbers?
- Looking for a new hook to overcome media fatigue?
- Looking for new spokespeople for events?
By not building a grassroots base, you’re likely spending more time and money trying to achieve these objectives than you need to be.
Just think of the time your staff could have back if these objectives could be more easily met. Would you capture back the time of one full time employee? Two or more? Would that be the equivalent of expanding your budget by 10%? 20%? Even 25%? That is the opportunity cost of not taking the time to develop and launch a grassroots plan. Can you really afford not to have one?
What can you gain by having a grassroots advocacy component?
A grassroots coalition of supporters helps boost your potential with:
- Finding dynamic people to give “color” to your issue during live events
- Getting reporters vested in tracking the milestones achieved by your coalition
- Developing a story bank of real world scenarios that motivate the masses
- Getting legislators to “feel the heat” from their voters
- Achieving a critical mass of credibility for your cause
That last point is critical. Many organizations believe that building a grassroots coalition might detract from their own efforts or their own brand. But when done right, a grassroots coalition speaking on your behalf lends your organization more credibility.
Questions to consider
In order to make the right decision about why and when to launch a grassroots campaign, gather your organizations stakeholders and ask the following questions.
- What is the end goal that you wish to obtain this year?
- What time and resources are being applied towards that goal right now?
- How would a base of like-minded supporters better help you achieve that goal?
- How would each of your efforts benefit from a strong base?
- What resources would you dedicate to make these benefits achievable?
- When would you like to begin seeing results?
Once you have answered these questions, you are ready to move onto the next phase, “How to get ready to launch a grassroots action plan.”