Advocacy campaigns are a great way to bring attention to a cause or effect change around a specific issue. In this article, we’ll look at a successful advocacy campaign from Save the Children Action Network and discuss why they’ve been so successful with their calls-to-action.
Save the Children is a 501c3 that exists to give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn, and protection from harm. Often, the policies that affect children the most are crafted and implemented at the state and federal levels. But children don’t have a voice in government, so Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) was formed in 2014 as a 501c4 to influence policy that affects the lives of children around the world.
SCAN uses Sala CRM with Engage advocacy tools to create and manage their digital calls to action, and in this article we’re discussing one of their more popular campaigns: High 5 for Kids.
SCAN has run their High 5 for Kids campaign over the past 3 election cycles to give children a voice on the political campaign trail. The campaign helps to keep child-related issues at the forefront of national political discourse.
Features of the High 5 for Kids Advocacy Campaign
High 5 is a multi-pronged advocacy campaign that asks people to get involved in the political process AND gives them the tools and education they need to be effective. It includes advocacy features like:
- Inspirational and Educational Videos
- Voter Education & Registration Information
- Checklists, Guides, and Templates
Their end game is to elevate critical children’s issues in the election and persuade voters to support ballot measures and sometimes candidates that support the issues important to SCAN. SCAN knows you can’t vote unless you’re registered, so they start with voter registration information in the education portion of the call to action. But this program is much more than a voter registration campaign.
We’re amazed at how SCAN taps into their network of celebrity supporters to highlight a video of Yolanda King (granddaughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) interviewing actress Anne Hathaway. The young Miss King’s questions are framed in a way that describes what is at stake for her and other kids in this election, and Hathaway explains why our vote helps to shape their future and what kids need to be successful and to thrive.
Seeing a kid interview an adult is a fun and effective way to flip the script on what we’re accustomed to seeing. And, with Hathaway’s genuine care for the issue, and the video’s understated, yet effective, production, you can’t help but be motivated to check your registration status and get ready to cast your ballot.
Going Beyond the Ask
After SCAN has your attention, the High 5 call to action kicks into overdrive. Since they have staff in 9 targeted states across the country, they are able to build local networks of volunteers and other more engaged advocates to drive them “up the ladder of engagement” to more involved actions that can have a greater impact than simply taking an online action or registering to vote.
They appeal for you to ask candidates questions at a virtual town hall with candidates and to get them on the record about issues important to the lives of children. Again, they provide all the resources to complete such an ambitious request, including a town hall tool kit, sample questions to ask candidates, and information on how you can find your local elected officials.
Here’s a regular event they hosted to help train potential volunteers on how to register people in their neighborhood and to promote their campaign:
Knowing that not everyone will have time or energy to volunteer, SCAN also provides some simple alternative options for engagement. Those who can't participate in a town hall are encouraged to host a debate watch party. Again, all of the resources and checklists are provided to help. Those who do not have the time to organize a town hall or a debate watch party can simply sign a petition and SCAN makes their voice heard by delivering all those petition signatures to the people they are trying to influence. By providing multiple options for engagement, and with varying levels of commitment required, SCAN was able to connect with more supporters and optimize their chance of affecting change!
It’s not enough to simply make an ask or appeal for action. These days, you need to cover every aspect of the action you are requesting, provide support for those who might take action, and give volunteers a clear understanding of the outcome you expect. In some cases, a simple petition with an appeal for a signature will suffice. For campaigns that seek a bigger impact, you need to do more, and continually engage your audience.
Constant Communication with Action Takers
Advocacy campaigns as ambitious as the ones Save the Children Action Network endeavor are rarely accomplished with just a single petition signature. Providing a few simple tasks in addition to the large ask opens the appeal up to more supporters, and brings in more contact information for SCAN.
The importance of these simple actions cannot be overstated. Those who fill out forms or sign petitions go directly into the Salsa CRM and SCAN is able to quickly scale their operation and support base. That information is immediately available in Salsa Engage for email, social marketing, texting, and donation appeals as well.
Once they’ve got a supporter in the CRM, SCAN can contact them and ask them to volunteer in a specific state or in support of a specific policy issue. They can also rally supporters around a specific bill and notify them when network events are taking place in their area. Here’s an example of an email they sent from one of their volunteer leaders in New Mexico encouraging other volunteers to join a training to learn how to participate in their text bank program - right from the comfort of their own couch at home.
Even if a potential supporter doesn’t take the intended action at first, SCAN gets another bite at the apple by sending follow-up messages with updates on the campaign. Over time, this brings in additional volunteers and, in the long run, increases the chance of success in the overall campaign.
This is exactly what SCAN did with the petition portion of their advocacy campaign.
When they amass thousands of signatures, they share that list of constituents with legislators. Salsa’s advocacy software filters signers by location so the elected official knows they’re hearing from constituents in their own district and not random people from other cities or even other countries, as can often be the case with other petition signing systems. That has helped SCAN increase the effectiveness of their calls-to-action.
So, what were the results of the High 5 campaign in 2020?
Across the nation, Save the Children Action Network contacted more than 270,000 voters via text message and hand-written postcards and was extremely effective in their use of Salsa’s advocacy tools to change our world for the better.
SCAN advocates engaged more than 37,000 Colorado voters and made history for Colorado kids with the passage of Proposition EE, a statewide ballot measure to secure funding for universal preschool. For the first time ever in Colorado, every four-year-old will have the chance to attend preschool and Colorado will become one of only five states in the U.S. to offer universal preschool.
“Salsa Engage’s online advocacy and communications tools enable us to easily engage supporters in online actions and send them targeted communications that match their interests and activities. And then CRM helps us track deep relationships with our more engaged activists and volunteers. The combination helps save our team valuable time and is a big part of the success we’ve seen.” - Jon Wheeler, Save the Children Action Network
We salute SCAN and are proud to work with an organization making such a positive impact on the lives of our children. You can view SCAN’s High 5 campaign here.
To learn how Salsa can help your organizations change the world for the better, check out our advocacy software for nonprofits and political action groups.