Grassroots Advocacy: 7 Essential Elements for Success

Mark Kelly
December 19, 2017

Jumpstart your grassroots advocacy campaigns with these essential strategies!

Nonprofits like yours often use grassroots advocacy campaigns to affiliate their supporters with one another and lead important change that directly affects their main cause, projects, or missions.

We know what you're thinking; what is grassroots advocacy exactly? Grassroots advocacy differs from your typical lobbying in the way that it works to unite your community and encourage the public to approach your legislators and other government officials themselves.

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Grassroots advocacy campaigns rely on a strong donor base and an organized approach. You'll need the following essential elements from your grassroots advocacy software for success:

  1. Targeted messages
  2. Online petitions
  3. Social advocacy
  4. Click to call
  5. Legislator lookup
  6. Action alerts
  7. Dashboard & analytics

If you're ready to learn more about succeeding with grassroots advocacy, then let's go ahead and dive in!

The best grassroots advocacy software will allow you to send targeted messages to stakeholders.

1. Targeted Messages for Grassroots Advocacy Campaigns

Invest in grassroots advocacy software that allows you to send targeted messages directly to decision-makers that affect the politics of your cause.

Whether these individuals are local, state, or federal government officials or corporate leaders, your advocacy software can help you reach them.

Create targeted messages with your grassroots advocacy software for your campaign.

Once you've identified the decision-makers you want to target, Salsa's grassroots advocacy software can help you draft and template the messages your supporters will use to voice their opinions via email, webforms, Facebook, or Twitter.

Additionally, don’t forget about more traditional communication channels such as direct mail. Effective advocacy campaigns rely on reaching your supporters, and accommodating them by using their preferred outreach platforms is the least you can do to stay in touch throughout your campaign. 

Find a grassroots advocacy software solution that allows you to craft these messages with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop form builder.

Bonus! Check out Double the Donation's Top Advocacy Software Solutions to find a great provider for your organization.

The bottom line: Your grassroots advocacy software must enable you to easily send targeted messages to the officials that will help police your change. With the power of your supporters and targeted messages, your collective voice will be heard by your legislators.

Make sure everyone can participate in your grassroots advocacy with online petitions.

2. Online Petitions for Grassroots Advocacy

Make sure your grassroots advocacy campaign features mobile-optimized online petitions.

The quickest way to see real change in your political society is through the help of online petitions because this method helps amplify the voices of your supporters and expedite rapid action.

Plus, online petitions are an easy way to quantify support for change, and they're an easy task for new supporters to immediately complete and help your organization because they only take a moment to sign.

An online petition is a great segway to encourage supporters to become more involved with your nonprofit and your cause.

Communicating your message is an important part of creating a successful online petition. Leave plenty of room on your petition to discuss your nonprofit's stance on the subject. Salsa has a great post on more best practices to use when creating your online petition.

Be sure to work with a grassroots advocacy software provider, like Salsa, that will help you create customizable, mobile-optimized petition forms so your supporters can sign from their favorite devices, whether that's a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

The bottom line: Online petitions are one of the easiest ways to engage your supporters and inact real change in your community. Select a grassroots advocacy software provider that helps you craft professional and intuitive online petition forms.

Your grassroots advocacy software should integrate with your social media profiles.

3. Social Advocacy for Grassroots Campaigns

Your grassroots advocacy campaign doesn't stop at targeted emails and online petitions. You'll want your campaign to span across your social media platforms as well. That way, you can enable your supporters to interact with legislators on multiple sites.

From tweeting a representative to privately messaging one on Facebook, your grassroots advocacy software should help you encourage your supporters to speak up about the changes you want to see.

Create social media posts for your campaign with your grassroots advocacy software.

Directly in Salsa's software, you can easily craft and schedule messages on the following social media platforms to increase your reach and spread the word:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr

You can even post messages that enable your supporters to tweet or Facebook message their legislators directly from your post.

In addition, you can add social sharing buttons to your online petition forms or thank-you emails to encourage your supporters to share your campaign details with their friends, family, and peers on their favorite social media site.

The bottom line: Social advocacy isn't a step you can skip over. Integrate your advocacy strategy into your social media outreach with the help of your grassroots advocacy software in order to speed up change.

Use grassroots advocacy software that makes it easy for your supporters to click to call their elected officials.

4. Click to Call for Grassroots Advocacy

Enable your supporters to easily call their legislators and immediately work toward change with click to call.

After supporters indicate their interest in supporting your grassroots campaign by completing an advocacy form, give them the option to instantly call their government officials thanks to your streamlined tools.

Create scripts in your grassroots advocacy software for your supporters to use when calling their legislators.

Draft a script for them to read from and make their legislator's phone numbers just a click away so all the resources they need are easily accessible and change is just a phone call away.

The bottom line: Make it as easy as possible for your supporters to voice their opinions to their government officials about the change you wish to create.

Ensure your grassroots advocates can find their legislators with your grassroots advocacy software solution.

5. Legislator Lookup for Grassroots Advocacy Campaigns

Your supporters want change, and they're not afraid to work for it, but they need direction. That's why they're looking to you for help! One of the most important ways you can support them is by providing the information they need to take the initiative.

You have access to directories of the stakeholders your supporters need to contact. Allow your supporters to easily find their legislator's contact information by typing their zip code.

You can offer information on the following government officials to save your supporters time and energy finding it themselves — and possibly getting discouraged in the process:

  • Federal executive
  • Federal house
  • Federal senate
  • State executive
  • State house
  • State senate
  • US county
  • US municipality

Help your supporters look up their legislators with your grassroots advocacy software.


The bottom line: Make accessing your local, state, and federal officials as easy as pie for supporters by providing a search tool that simply requires their zip codes.

Craft custom action alerts with your grassroots advocacy software.

6. Action Alerts from Grassroots Advocacy Software

Setting a plan before beginning an advocacy campaign is a great method to set your supporters up for success. But sometimes, the plan needs to change. Advocacy is a mutable field, and your campaign should be flexible enough to adjust when needed.

How do you ensure that your supporters know about any changes to the plan?

Craft custom action alerts with Salsa's helpful drag-and-drop form builder. These alerts will show up directly on your supporters' mobile devices, keeping everyone in the loop.

This way, your supporters are always up-to-date with the politics surrounding your proposed change and can work with your organization to inact further change.

Provide your supporters with plenty of action alerts throughout your grassroots advocacy campaign.

The bottom line: Action alerts are necessary throughout your grassroots advocacy campaign because politics are always changing, so you'll need to inform your supporters. Plus, you'll want to make it as easy as possible for them to help you support the change you're aiming to create.

Track your advocacy campaign with easy-to-use grassroots advocacy software dashboards.

7. Dashboard & Analytics in Grassroots Advocacy Software

With Salsa's embedded visual dashboards, you can track your advocacy campaign data in one central location. View petition signatures, messages sent by supporters, and number of targeted officials for the past 30 or 90 days, 1 year, or the entire duration of your campaign.

You'll be able to dive into which petitions and actions are performing the best and resulting in the most positive change by viewing each individual form's metrics.

Use your grassroots advocacy software for tracking and metrics.

Plus, you can see where your supporters are coming from. Whether its your online petitions, targeted actions, events, fundraising forms, or other advocacy forms, you can view all the data with Salsa.

The bottom line: You'll need to be able to see where your campaign is excelling and where it's falling short in order to succeed. Luckily, your grassroots advocacy software will help you track metrics.

Now that you know the essential 7 elements for success with grassroots advocacy campaigns, there's nothing holding your nonprofit back from being the change you're looking to create! Rally your supporters and contact your legislators to begin your advocacy campaign.


If you want to find out more about grassroots advocacy, check out these additional resources:

Salsa Online Advocacy Demo

Topics: Advocacy
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