This was a banner year for NTEN's annual industry conference NTC. With a record number of attendants and over 100 sessions to choose from, we were glad to grab a seat for Friday morning's packed session "Are You There Congress? It's Me, Tweeting. Online Advocacy Tactics that Actually Get Heard." Check out these 5 actionable nonprofit advocacy tactics to try in 2017.
1. Unified Messaging
Nonprofits need to play a role in organizing people to share a common message with their policy makers. Trickle down messaging can be an effective way to target different audiences within the movement, so long as the same call-to-action is used.
2. Ask Questions
Don't be afraid to ask government officials and staff how decisions are made so that your organization can make strategic efforts to be heard. It is possible that the only person who sees social media communications is the representative's social media manager. Understand how multiple communications channels are handled.
3. Maximize your Impact on Social Media
Know your member of Congress' communication channel of choice. What do they use personally? Have supporters identify themselves as voting constituents and encourage them to be specific about how proposed legislation, budgets, etc. will affect their day-to-day lives.
4. Empower Supporters (even if your Organization has a Nonpartisan Status)
Own your expertise when you have a limited range of things you can do within your organization by focusing on issues. Use creative visuals and graphics to illustrate them and broad (nonpolitical) messages that can be backed up with data. Share useful resources, like specific talking points, with members on the Hill.
5. Use Online Messages to Ignite Offline Engagement
Use social media to build community and generate evergreen content. Maintain supporter engagement by focusing on solution-oriented messaging over finger-pointing. Remember to be creative about ways you can make supporters feel that they are doing something impactful.