Help my not-for-profit bring about policy change online!
September 4, 2012 5:09 AM   Subscribe

What is the most important thing/s my non-profit organisation can do online right now to help us influence government policy and bring about legislative change?

I work for a small, not-for-profit advocacy organisation in the UK. We have just started a campaign that will attempt to bring about a change in legislation, and I have been tasked to find the 'single most important' thing we can do online that will help us achieve this.

We have a healthy database of supporters with whom we communicate regularly, update our website with news and blogs several times a week and engage with social media daily. I suspect it is more involved than just being able to implement a single thing that will magically increase our chances of achieving favourable policy reform, but what should I be focussing on doing online in the next few weeks that might help us influence change?
posted by Acarpous to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Get involved at the local level. The Tea Party and ultra-conservatives in the USA are going toe-to-toe with the more publicly popular centrists by focusing on municipal politics to build their support in the party, and then in national politics, from the ground up. If you concentrate on MP's and cabinet members, remember, part of their job is keeping political organizations like yours at arm's length so the Party can stick to its platform and govern how its core constituency sees fit.

You need to be a part of the core constituency, and that means politics at street level. Once you've built up influence there, you can pursue your objectives at higher and higher levels in government.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:50 AM on September 4, 2012

Twitter, tweeting, building your MP and Lords influence base on Twitter by asking and lobbying directly. I am experienced in this kind of escalation on twitter for UK charities. Feel free to message me directly.
posted by parmanparman at 6:52 AM on September 4, 2012

You have to be careful and check political rules surrounding 501(c)(3)'s.

Also check out CF Forward run by Robert Egger.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:39 AM on September 4, 2012

Honestly, it really depends. I develop online advocacy strategies for a living. If I were working for you, these are the questions I would ask to help you figure out what you should do:

- What are your goals, both policy-wise and organizationally?

- What will move your decision-makers? Do they use facebook/twitter? Do they read constituent emails, or will it take flooding their office with calls to get their attention? Or will they get nervous if their local papers are full of letters to the editor on this issue?

- How big is your list, how active are they and what kinds of actions are they most like to take?

- You say "in the next few weeks" - why that timeframe? Is this the launch of your campaign, and you want to know what you can do in the first few weeks to set up the campaign for success? Or is the final push, and you want to push it over the top?

Generally, the best thing you can do is use your online tools (email, social media, etc.) to move the people on your list to some sort of action. But the action you move them to, and the method you use to get them to take that action, will depend on the answers to the above questions.
posted by lunasol at 11:58 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

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