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Building Momentum Between Election Cycles

Keeping your supporters engaged between campaigns and election cycles is something that should be practiced by every politician or party. Sometimes the things that are expected are the things that often get overlooked.

Recently, Ecanvasser teamed up with Canadian consultancy New/Mode to create some actionable steps to activate your network and take you through key learnings from activists around the world who have been successful in this area. Here is a recap of those steps and the key points from them.

1. Identifying your supporters

Always start a campaign with knowing exactly who your supporters are. One of the key principles of engagement is “meeting your supporters where they are” and to do this you need to know who they are, how they fit into your journey and where are they on the ladder of engagement.

2. Connecting with your supporters?

Opening up as many lines of communication as possible with your supporters is an obvious starting point. Have a database with a data points relating to all your supporters and also a list of the relevant channels you wish to use to reach them. One of the most successful ways to make a real connection with your supporters is to speak with them face-to-face. This creates long term engagement and moves them up the ladder of engagement from a passive to a leading supporter.

“I would describe myself as a passive supporter with a great big active supporter in me. It’s just no one has ever asked me. Every election cycle I get a knock on my door by this party and every time I tell them that I will be voting for them, no question. In the twenty or so years since I have been saying this not once have I been asked for my email address, never have I been asked to join the party, take part, donate, nothing… maybe I’d be one of their key people now if they had asked 20 years ago.. "

This is something we hear often. There are plenty of passive supporters out there and if you don’t ask and you don’t open the lines of communication in a pragmatic way then you will definitely miss out on these individuals.

3. Do you know what motivates them?

Most campaigns are built on the simple foundation of asking people to join a community. People join these movements for a long list of reasons.

One of the key questions we can ask ourselves is:

  • What do we stand for at a higher level?
  • Is this something people can get passionate about?

Another motivation is the desire for action! When it comes to building long-term momentum for campaign, we need to have a keen sense of supporter motivations.

4. Match your projects to the supporter’s interests

Whether you are using a traditional person model with people divided into keyboard activists, local events people, or time door donators, the idea is to match the projects to those persona types. We have seen campaigns run concurrent recruiting new supporters through social media but also leveraging the capability of grassroots teams going out into the community and onboarding supporters on the street.

Imagine sending 50 grassroots advocates out with mobile apps to do street surveys and polling. If a person who is being surveyed declared their support for the campaign, they could be asked to give their details so that they could get involved. You could also run a Facebook campaign retargeting these people so there interest in further enforced.

5. Make onboarding new activists a great experience

When long-term engagement is the goal we really need to pay attention to our supporters journeys from onboarding straight through to maintaining momentum after your big victory. The key takeaway here is that the best user journeys build authentic community power, through a series of actions escalating in importance and effort – and usually move people from online to offline support. The reality is that both online and offline support both have value and importance at different stages of your campaign.

6. Get Social Proof

Where in the offline and online worlds do we find the truth to listen to? People and supporters are far more likely to sign up to a campaign or take action for a campaign if they are hearing about the campaign from a third party or an existing supporter who is passive. Seeing someone I follow or admire being active in a campaign can influence me to do the same.

Find out where your supporters are online, what publications they read, what news sources they read or groups that they are a part of, these are your influential sources.

7. Have Fun

Fun makes everything seem like less work, but it should be a top of mind strategy for the rest of us – even our most engaged leaders will jump ship if we don’t acknowledge or celebrate their success and really appreciate their efforts.

8. Delegate Responsibility

This is the thing that will bring all of these steps together. The smartest organisations are the ones that delegate decision making to local teams and then use those eyes and ears on the ground to gather information and ultimately make better decisions. Bonus points can be creating a culture where effort is rewarded with movement up through the organisation.

You can listen to the full webinar here.

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