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Advocacy Effectiveness Tips from Netroots 2015

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to attend Netroots Nation 2015. This year’s annual conference gathered bloggers, activists, social justice advocates and other progressive thinkers to Phoenix, Arizona for three days of exciting and stimulating activities. The jam-packed schedule included a mix of training sessions, keynote speakers, and open forum panels. There was an amazing turnout – we had people speaking out for lots of different issues, but one common question we all had was: how can my organization improve our online presence to attract advocates and representatives? Allow me to share with you some of the helpful tips I learned at Netroots.

Who’s the Joker in Your Story?

Picture this scenario: you’ve learned that users are more likely to connect to your organization when you include personal stories in your content. So you’ve made sure that stories of adversity or triumph are told from a personal perspective, and you’ve highlighted someone as the hero of your story. But consider this – if your organization and the people you’re fighting for are the heroes of your story, doesn’t it make sense that there needs to be a villain? We love to cheer for Batman, but even more, we love to hate the Joker. It’s a different way to increase the power of your storytelling and get your users to connect even more to your cause. Give us more than just someone to root for. We want someone to root against.

In Your Face

Images are great, but did you know that users are more likely to respond to a facial image? The scale of the image is also important. Larger photos create a sense of empathy with the person. In other words, to show connection with a particular community, create the connection with a good portrait first. Then you can prove their connection with an image of them engaging with that community. You might want to consider the placement of text in relation to the image itself. The most important information should be kept on the same line as the person’s eyes since that is where we naturally look first.

Sorry, I Never Got Your Letter

Does your organization encourage your constituents to send letters to congressional members on your behalf? The chances are that you provide a letter template which your constituents can use. But do you ever wonder how many of these letters are actually being read? In fact, the majority of congressional leaders agree that these following factors help increase your letter’s chance of being read. Your letter should:

  • Have a clear and achievable ask
  • Include a personal story and/or images
  • Be short and direct
  • Provide good contact information
  • Address a timely issue

Bonus Tip: Have you ever encountered a situation where you’re working on a document or web page for your social cause and needed to drop in some placeholder text? Yet, all those Ipsum generators return the same, boring gibberish. Perhaps you should try the Social Good Ipsum generator instead.

I hope you found these tips to be helpful. Let us know in the comments if you plan on trying any of them, or share your own Netroots experience with us!

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