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Grassroots software: 4 fundamental questions you should ask

February 13, 2022
This supporter is advocating for a nonprofit's cause with a megaphone after being engaged through grassroots software.

By nature, grassroots causes thrive on community support at every level. Your team needs to have the right tools on hand to build strong connections with your grassroots supporters that you can rely on for campaign after campaign.

When you have a foundation of robust grassroots software tools to support your grassroots organization, there’s no limit to the change you can effect. Let’s break down some common questions about grassroots software so your team can make the right decisions as you invest in new tools.

1. What is grassroots software?

Grassroots software is technology designed to help nonprofits and advocacy groups with canvassing, advocacy campaigns, community events, fundraising, and other grassroots initiatives. Grassroots initiatives are unique because they rely entirely on the advocacy organization’s community to make a splash.

Primarily, there are two types of grassroots software that organizations like yours may consider: 

  • Grassroots advocacy software. This kind of software is designed specifically to help grassroots causes amplify their message, recruit supporters, and build coalitions to effect change—such as passing legislation or changing corporate policy.
  • Grassroots fundraising software. Grassroots fundraising software needs to be highly customizable and fully integrate with your advocacy tools to maximize its potential.

Because grassroots organizations often need both of these types of software, it’s best to look for grassroots software that provides a full suite of tools that can be configured for your needs. For example, Bonterra Supporter Engagement (formerly EveryAction), offers all of the grassroots solutions that you need for your future campaigns.

2. What are some essential features of grassroots advocacy solutions?

Because there are many types of grassroots organizations out there, many different types of advocacy solutions have also cropped up over time. How should you determine which solution will best meet your needs?

In short, you need software that will help you complete the campaigns you host and plan to host in the future. Some of the features you should look for in your software solution include: 

  • Online petitions. Responding to a petition is often one of the first points of interaction an individual has with your cause. Your grassroots advocacy software should provide the tools necessary to design customized digital petitions that will drive engagement and inspire action among your community members.
  • Targeted actions. Offer engagement opportunities that are specifically tailored to supporters’ interests, where they live, or other identifiers. For example, a targeted action could enlist community members in a particular legislative district to call their legislator demanding that they take a particular action.
  • Social media advocacy. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are often central places for community members to interact with one another, as well as with major decision-makers your organization is trying to influence. Amplify the power of your supporters on social media by encouraging them to tweet representatives and attract their attention. 

In addition, if your organization raises funds to support your initiatives, it’s best to look for a solution with integrated fundraising capabilities. Consider your organization’s own campaign needs and prioritize features that will help with your current initiatives and those you plan to launch in the future. 

3. What differentiates grassroots fundraising software?

Remember that grassroots initiatives are all about empowering masses of people to support a common cause. Therefore, grassroots fundraising software should not only help your organization raise money, but also get the word out about your cause.

When analyzing grassroots fundraising software, look for solutions that: 

  • Integrate with your advocacy software. Instead of choosing two entirely separate solutions, pick a platform that works with your advocacy software. This way, your team can keep your messaging consistent and offer fundraising opportunities to individuals who engage with your advocacy efforts.
  • Offer customizable online giving forms. Your team needs to be able to customize your online giving forms to your grassroots cause, from color scheme to logos to the wording on the page. This allows you to share your organization’s purpose directly on your giving form.
  • Enable peer-to-peer fundraising. Advocacy organizations love tapping into the power of peer-to-peer fundraising, and it’s no secret why. With this fundraising method, you empower supporters to raise money on behalf of your cause through their personal networks. This helps you raise additional funds and get your message across to more people. 

Fundraising is essential for grassroots organizations. Consider how you can use the features of your chosen software solution to simultaneously raise money and attract new supporters to your cause.

4. What are some different ways to leverage grassroots software?

Grassroots software can help your team carry out a dynamic range of actions. Let’s review some of the top ways your organization can leverage your solution to support your purpose. Your team can:

  • Create advocacy campaigns. With grassroots advocacy software, you can plan and implement advocacy campaigns from start to finish. Draft petitions, share them via scheduled social media posts or emails, and then follow up with signers after campaigns.
  • Inspire supporters into action. After you build lists of dedicated grassroots supporters, you can leverage your software to reach out to those individuals with engagement opportunities that are meaningful to them, like a targeted action or new petition.
  • Solicit supporters for gifts. For your returning supporters, consider asking them for a gift using your grassroots fundraising software. You could create an email list of individuals who signed advocacy petitions and then frame your ask around that campaign.
  • Offer giving alternatives. Perhaps your supporters are unable to make a donation. There are still numerous ways they can contribute to your purpose! Share peer-to-peer fundraising opportunities, ask them to call their legislator, or offer a giving alternative that helps make the most of their interest in your grassroots organization.

Adopting dedicated grassroots advocacy and fundraising software means that your team will have your hands on a host of solutions that make carrying out your purpose more intuitive than ever.

Grassroots software offers cause-driven organizations like yours a wide range of tools to create your social image and spread awareness for your purpose. After reviewing these top grassroots software questions, your team should be ready to get out there and make the right choice for your next software investment!

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