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6 ways to help your supporters advocate for your cause

May 02, 2023
This image shows a group of diverse individuals with signs and megaphones. They are participating in supporter advocacy for a nonprofit.

The change that your nonprofit organization is making in the world is impacted by many entities, such as local and national legislators, corporations, institutions, or others who hold power and shape the way we live our lives. That’s why you need as many passionate advocates on your side as possible—when decisions are being made that affect your nonprofit’s purpose and work, it makes sense to unite your supporters and move them to take action with you in pursuit of your purpose.

Maybe you consider advocacy a core strategy for advancing your mission, or maybe advocacy is new to you. Either way, we think activating your supporters should be easy and effective. Here are six ways to leverage technology to make advocacy with your nonprofit a smooth and efficient experience for your supporters.

1. Collect petition signatures.

A petition allows you to quantify support around an issue, bring new supporters on board, and keep your existing advocates engaged. To properly demonstrate the collective will of your supporters, a digital petition form should include these key features and characteristics:

  • Clear and concise messaging: Make it easy for supporters to understand your ask and the urgency behind it. Include data to support your calls to action and illustrate the impact of a signature. 
  • Mobile optimization: M+R’s 2023 Benchmarks found that 57% of nonprofit website traffic came from users on mobile devices. Leverage this traffic by optimizing your digital petition for mobile devices, allowing supporters to conveniently interact and sign.
  • Easily shareable on social media: Social media platforms are amazing vehicles of outreach for nonprofits. Empower supporters to spread your message by integrating your petition form with social media and making it easy to share.

Another way to garner more support is to include a secondary ask after your supporter has submitted your initial petition form. Sometimes referred to as “daisy-chaining,” this can be an extremely effective way to secure continued engagement. For example, your follow-up could be an ask for a re-share or a donation to maximize impact.

2. Contact elected officials and other decision-makers.

Your supporters hold many identities—they’re legislative constituents, consumers and customers, and community members. This means their voices hold power in many ways. Harness this power by making it easy for them to fill out an advocacy form and contact elected officials and decision-makers with targeted messages. Here are a few ways you and your technology can help your supporters send a clear message:

  • Create a template message for supporters to use. By doing this, you’ll lower the barrier to participation, as supporters will have a starting point that can help the advocacy process feel more accessible.
  • Automatically match them to their legislator or the decision-maker you’re targeting. Make the process convenient for supporters by matching them to the person they should contact. You can even include an image of the legislator or decision-maker so supporters can visually confirm that they’re messaging the correct individual.
  • Encourage supporters to make phone calls. Calling legislators is an effective way of bringing their attention to a cause. Implement a click-to-call functionality to boost supporter advocacy—with the click of a button, they’ll be connected to elected officials to whom they can deliver their message.

Make sure to provide supporters with talking points and the help they need so that they can feel confident in the messages they send. Consider creating multiple message templates or phone call scripts, as this will allow supporters to choose a message that they resonate most with.

3. Employ email segmentation.

Using email to share petitions and prompt targeted messages to decision-makers makes the process easy for you and your supporters. To encourage supporter advocacy, segment your emails to target supporters based on data you already have about them in your CRM platform.

Consider what type of supporter will be most likely to respond to your requests for help. These might include recurring donors, one-time donors, volunteers, and other supporters that regularly engage with your nonprofit. Target your messages towards these individuals to maximize supporter advocacy efforts and allow them another opportunity to engage with your nonprofit.

4. Leverage the power of social media.

Social media advocacy enables you to mobilize thousands of supporters to get your issue trending, generate grassroots momentum, and keep your issue on the minds of relevant decision-makers. Enable supporters to share your advocacy campaign messages on their social media to leverage their networks and reach other potential supporters.

By leveraging the power of social media for supporter advocacy, you’ll be able to reach a wider audience. This will help you raise awareness of your nonprofit’s purpose, drive increased amounts of traffic to an advocacy form or your website, and build your supporter base over time.

5. Share evocative stories with supporters.

Stories help us to better connect with one another as human beings, and when it comes to advocacy, storytelling can be a powerful tool. Story collection forms allow nonprofits to easily collect personal stories from supporters about how your cause impacts their lives. Share these stories with your supporters to illustrate the impact you’re making and to encourage their continued support.

Make these stories more compelling by adding evocative visual and auditory elements. You can do this by attaching photos and videos to your messages to help you further engage supporters.

6. Organize a lobby day.

Organizing a lobby day is an effective opportunity to rally your supporters in front of elected officials or decision-makers to directly make the case for your cause. Whether in-person or virtual, like any other type of event, numbers make a difference. The right event management tools are especially important for making your lobby day successful—from RSVP and check-in forms to easy Zoom integrations to sending follow-up messages after the event, your technology should make it easy for you to keep track of and thank your supporters as they advocate for your cause.

Using data for supporter advocacy

Regardless of what strategies you employ to increase supporter advocacy, consider how you can use your data to aid your advocacy efforts. Use your existing information to help determine which supporters are most likely to lend themselves to your cause or purpose, and offer them more personalized advocacy support opportunities to retain their support over time. Remember that supporter advocacy is another way to engage with and retain existing supporters, so be sure to leverage the opportunity!

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    Supporter Engagement
  • Nonprofits
  • Digital communications & marketing