It takes a continued investment of focus, resources and time to build strong advocacy campaign teams and engagement cultures that are up to the task of creating change in the modern landscape.
We created this checklist to help leaders and practitioners do just that. Take this list to your teams and use it to identify gaps and surface areas for growth and development. Or draw inspiration from the list and start your own checklist.
The team here at MobLab would also be happy to discuss your results and support your progress in people-powered campaigning. Check out our training and coaching offerings for more.
Building participation starts with a strong vision of where we want to go, and to be effective at engaging people we need to have a clear and credible vision of the role people will play in making change happen.
- Everyone in the organisation has a common understanding of the strategic role and potential of people power to contribute to our mission.
- Everyone in the organisation also recognises the role of people power to grow and strengthen the organisation.
- There are organisational objectives for recruitment, levels of engagement and retention. Project teams and senior management assess contributions toward these objectives.
- Everyone in the organisation feels responsibility for achieving engagement objectives and milestones.
- We recognise the crucial role people power will have in transformational change to achieve our mission. We create opportunities for people to help shape the future in both the short and long term.
- We have identified the root causes of problems we want to change. Whether we tackle them directly or indirectly, we know the real beast we’re fighting.
- We have a long term Theory of Change that identifies the role people play in our mission; it’s easily communicated and inspires commitment.
- We know who we have to reach in order to grow our organisation and have impact on our issues, and we understand the differences between these groups and their role in our work.
- There are clearly defined objectives for engagement that are based on the role of people to strengthen the organisation and achieving change.
- We regularly draw on research from potential and current supporters to inform decisions and to develop / create campaign projects.
- We monitor changing opinions and events about our organisation and the issues we work on. We adapt our work to reflect current trends and take advantage of opportunities for change.
Stories have the power to shift attitudes, values, behaviours and societal norms. If we want to change the world, we need to change the stories by which we make sense of the world and inspire others to join with us taking action.
- The story we tell about our work clearly states why we work for change, what we believe in, and what that mission is.
- The story we tell puts people at the centre as the heroes of our work and reinforces the power of participation consistently across channels and campaigns.
- The stories we tell provide evidence, hope and belief that another world is possible.
- The stories we tell debunk old stories that aim to control people through fear and maintain the status quo.
- We provide opportunities, encouragement and tools for supporters to retell the story in their own voice and with their own pictures, videos and actions.
- We are using our organisational channels and reach to add weight to and amplify the stories and actions of others.
Acts of Courage
Creating change in the world will require courageous acts. Signing a petition will not alone be enough to stop climate change. Making a donation will not save all the forests. Every one of us will need to find the courage to do things we have never done before to shape the future.
- We identify actions that supporters can take to leverage their power and influence.
- We regularly use the engagement pyramid or a similar tool to plan “asks” that encourage supporters to step out of their comfort zones and take more courageous acts.
- We know what actions supporters have already taken, and we tailor communications and asks to recognise prior contributions.
- We know what supporters expect of us and what they need from us to maintain their current level of commitment and take on more courageous acts.
- We provide connection between supporters so that they can find greater courage from being part of a community working for a better world.
Working With Allies
By working in collaboration with allies and partners, we can achieve more than we would be able to achieve on our own. Our allies bring different perspectives, knowledge, skills and networks, and this diversity makes us stronger as a movement. Also by working with diverse partners, we will be more effective at addressing the root causes of problems that have diverse impacts on society.
While coalition work can often be challenging, building strong relationships, trust and agreeing clear roles and responsibilities will create a foundation of cooperation that will last beyond individual projects and demonstrates living our values through shared responsibility.
- We work with allies and partners at a strategic level identifying common and complementary objectives, including seeking potential partnerships outside of our ‘comfort zone’ to tackle the root causes of problems. While we may take different paths, we recognise that we all have a unique and important role in bringing about change.
- Working with partners and allies takes work, collaboration and compromise. We work with allies to find solutions that strengthens both of our work to achieve our common purpose.
- Co-creation is the primary way we plan and implement projects with allies, including strategies, activities, communications and engagement asks. We do not take decisions that would affect the coalition without consultation.
- We have clear and specific agreements when working with allies and partners on projects about responsibilities, contributions, data sharing and decision-making and we live up to these agreements.
- We are transparent with our allies and understand this is key to building trusting and lasting coalitions. We invite allies to internal meetings, skillshares and trainings and are open with them about our own needs and challenges.
- We are there for our allies when they need us most, either helping behind the scenes, amplifying their work or standing beside them adding our voice to theirs as needed.
- We play to our strengths when working in coalitions. This may mean dedicating staff time, equipment or resources. Or it could be contributing expertise, skills, networks and knowledge. While contributions may vary, we recognise the unique contributions of all our allies and give credit where it is due.
Experimentation and Innovation
We run our campaigns at the speed of the internet. It is not enough to merely follow trends; we need to consistently develop new ways of engaging more people for greater impact. We need to disrupt the old systems that are holding people back. We need to support new forms of collaboration that will create a radically positive future.
- Leadership recognises that engagement is an evolving area of expertise. They support innovation through experimentation and learning.
- Our team identifies opportunities for experimentation and learning as part of planning.
- We allocate adequate time, space and resources to create and develop new ideas for engaging people with greater depth and breadth.
- Our team has defined areas where risk is encouraged. There is a clear process for evaluating risk and weighing these against the potential learning and benefits.
- We regularly create lightweight or zero cost prototypes to get immediate feedback before we start designing or building anything.
- We get new ideas out the door quickly with minimum fuss so that we can measure results and learn from them.
This is where our work comes to life for audiences and supporters. It is a living interconnected ecology of communications channels where we interact with audiences, adapt to changing technologies and trends and evolve to take advantage of opportunities and engage audiences.
- Our team has a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of different channels and matches projects and tactics to complementary tools for reaching and engaging target audiences.
- Storytelling is planned, coordinated and consistent across channels over time while content is adapted for effective outcomes by channel and project.
- Each channel used by our team has a clearly defined target audience by project and role for engagement.
- Content is written and/or designed for target audiences in a human voice and personalised for audiences based on their potential or past contributions.
- Our team is responsive to supporters and potential supporters across channels encouraging conversation with and among audiences.
- Our team is responsive to current events and changes within campaigns with timely content across appropriate channels.
We use all available data to make our work smarter and build better relationships. We determine what data we need to make decisions and analyse data to adapt and improve performance.
- We have identified and track metrics that reveal the quality of engagement as well as growth.
- Project teams have identified and track metrics that reflect their theory of change and measure progress.
- We conduct regular A/B testing across digital channels that starts from a hypothesis; results are based on conversion and account for statistical significance.
- Our senior management and project teams have access to dashboards that track KPIs for the organisation and campaign projects.
- We have a regular process for analysing, discussing and applying results including data visualisation techniques to aid analysis and the results of these are regularly reported to senior management.
- Decisions are based on multiple sources of data and testing, and we adapt our work based on real time data to be more effective at reaching and engaging people.
- Senior management regularly assess the metrics we’re tracking to ensure that we’re incentivising behaviors that lead to meaningful results and impact.
Digital and Data Infrastructure
Digital technologies are constantly evolving. We provide a reliable foundation that allows us to explore and evaluate opportunities to improve engagement while having the flexibility to experiment with new technologies before mainstreaming them.
- We track KPIs related to campaign and organisational goals.
- We share reports across all departments via dashboards or other easily accessible formats.
- We have access to 360 degree supporter data and are using analytics tools to track supporter activities from entry point through to different conversion levels.
- We regularly test new technologies and tools to assess their potential and share the results with leadership and project teams.
- We track industry trends and standards and keep pace with technology advances relevant to our work (e.g. mobile responsiveness, search engine optimisation).
- Data collection is consistent and syncs across all key systems.
- We have a consistent and appropriate implementation of privacy, security and ethical data use policies across all systems and the office has a recorded history of permissions granted by individual supporters.
Engagement Capacity and Culture
Our team members possess a breadth of knowledge in engagement as well as deep expertise in their area of concentration. We have the ability to collaborate across disciplines and to understand and interpret the context for strategic planning and implementation.
- We have a collaborative culture in the team. We regularly build on each others’ ideas and provide constructive feedback to find better solutions that recognise the needs of all team members.
- We take a creative approach to problem solving that brings everyone along and creates commitment to the solution at the same time.
- We have a deep commitment to learning and broadening our skills. We embrace uncertainty and seek new experiences.
- We are advocates for supporters and seek out ways to harness the collective intelligence of supporters, allies and other key audiences.
- We have dedicated staff for data management and analysis. We review performance against KPIs and identify successes and opportunities for optimisation in real time.
- Teams that comprise engagement (e.g. fundraising, volunteers, digital, comms) are all represented equally in organisation leadership.
- Teams that comprise engagement (e.g. fundraising, volunteers, digital, comms) are all represented equally in campaign strategy and project planning.
- Team members do not avoid conflict; we openly discuss competing needs and find ways to resolve problems together.
Top photo by Andres Arias on Unsplash.