Grassroots Software: 5 Fundamental Questions You Should Ask

Mark Kelly
August 2, 2018

Learn more about what features to look for in your grassroots software platform.

For grassroots organizations of all shapes and sizes, there comes a time when investing in software solutions becomes an inevitability. However, it’s not always clear what grassroots software is out there, and what kinds of tools you really need.

New Call-to-action

By nature, grassroots causes thrive on the support of their community at every level. This means your team needs to have the right tools on hand to build strong coalitions with your grassroots supporters that you can rely on campaign after campaign.

Grassroots causes have different goals and constituencies than typical nonprofit organizations, so why would you choose a generic software platform that doesn’t address your unique needs as a grassroots movement?

In this post, we’ll work with you to answer some of the top questions organizers are asking about grassroots software, including:

  1. What is grassroots software?
  2. What kind of grassroots advocacy solutions are out there?
  3. What differentiates grassroots fundraising software?
  4. What are some different ways to leverage grassroots software?
  5. What essential features should you look for in grassroots software?

When your grassroots organization is supported by a foundation of robust grassroots software tools, there’s no limit to the change you can effect in the world.

Let’s break down these common questions about grassroots software so your team can make the right decision as you invest in new tools.

What is grassroots software?

1. What is grassroots software?

For most organizations researching grassroots software for the first time, there tends to be some disconnect in understanding what exactly constitutes grassroots software, as opposed to simply communication or fundraising software that any nonprofit organization might adopt.

Grassroots software is defined by the fact that grassroots organizations depend on community organizing much more than general nonprofits.

The primary mission of these organizations isn’t just to raise funding for projects, but to actually drive change whether it be at the community level, the state level, the national level, or even the international level.

This means that grassroots organizations have to have software tools on hand that are designed to spread their message far and wide while simultaneously empowering supporters to take action on behalf of their mission.

Check out some of these core kinds of grassroots advocacy software to brush up on the wide range of tools available to grassroots causes like yours:

  • Grassroots advocacy software. This kind of software is designed specifically to help grassroots causes amplify their message, recruit supporters, and build coalitions to effect change in the real world—such as passing legislation or changing corporate policy.
  • Grassroots fundraising software. Grassroots organizations need to raise money to support their actions, but grassroots fundraising software needs to be highly customizable and fully integrate with your advocacy tools to maximize its potential.

The bottom line? Grassroots software can offer so much to your cause; you simply need to know what tools your team needs to drive action and effect change.

What kind of grassroots advocacy solutions are out there?

2. What kind of grassroots advocacy solutions are out there?

When grassroots causes start searching for software tailor-made for their needs, the first place they’ll typically turn is advocacy software solutions. After all, a cornerstone goal for most grassroots organizations is awareness-building, and advocacy software is designed for just that.

Yet, there’s a lot more to grassroots advocacy software than might first meet the eye. Not only should it help spread the word about your mission, but it should also empower your community to take action on their own to help support your cause.

As you research grassroots advocacy solutions, keep in mind some of these essential features your platform should offer:

  • Online petitions. Responding to a petition is often one of the first points of interaction an individual has with your cause, so your grassroots advocacy software has to give your team the tools to design customized digital petitions to drive engagement and inspire continued action among your community members.
  • Targeted actions. Offer engagement opportunities to your supporters that are specifically tailored to their interests, where they live, or other identifiers. For example, a targeted action could call on community members in a particular legislative district to sign an online petition demanding that their legislator take a particular action.
  • Social media advocacy. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are often the central place community members interact with one another online, as well as with major decision makers your organization is trying to influence. Amplify the power of your supporters on social media by managing social posts and driving social media campaigns.

Want to learn more about grassroots software? Check out Salsa Engage for Online Advocacy to learn more about what these useful solutions can offer grassroots causes like yours.

What differentiates grassroots fundraising software?

3. What differentiates grassroots fundraising software?

Nonprofits of all stripes need to raise money to support their cause, and this doesn’t stop being true simply because your grassroots organization is primarily focused on effecting social change. In fact, grassroots organizations have highly pressing fundraising needs.

Whether you’re planning an awareness-building event or funding research to address a topic close to your cause’s mission, your organization will need to raise capital to support your actions.

But, many grassroots organizations are simply unaware of the fundraising software out there that’s specifically designed for grassroots organizers and their constituencies.

As you research fundraising software options, look for solutions that:

  • Integrate with your advocacy software. Instead of choosing a wholly separate fundraising solution, pick a platform what works as one with your advocacy software. This way, your team can keep your messaging consistent and offer fundraising opportunities to individuals who engage with your advocacy efforts.
  • Offer customizable online giving forms. Your team needs to be able to completely customize your online giving forms to your grassroots cause, from the color scheme of your forms, to the logos featured, and even to the wording on the page. Since grassroots constituencies are so unique, your giving forms should be, too.
  • Enable peer-to-peer fundraising. Advocacy organizations love tapping into the power of peer-to-peer fundraising, and it’s no secret why. With this fundraising method, you empower supporters to raise money on behalf of your cause through their personal networks. Highly motivated supporters will thrive using this fundraising strategy.

Curious about other essential fundraising software tools for advocacy organizations? Learn what Salsa Engage can do for your grassroots organization’s fundraising efforts.

What are some different ways to leverage grassroots software?

4. What are some different ways to leverage grassroots software?

If your organization is new to grassroots software, you may not be sure how to best leverage these tools for your cause. After all, if your team has never used solutions designed expressly for grassroots organizations, this is all unfamiliar territory.

Luckily, what makes grassroots software so unique among other nonprofit software solutions is that it can help your team carry out a dynamic range of different actions on behalf of your cause.

Let’s review some of the top ways your organization can leverage grassroots software for your mission. Your team can:

  • Create advocacy campaigns. With grassroots advocacy software, you can plan and implement advocacy campaigns from start to finish. Draft petitions, share them via scheduled social media posts or emails, and then follow up with signers after the fact.
  • Inspire supporters into action. After you build lists of dedicated grassroots supporters, you can leverage your software to reach out to those individuals with engagement opportunities that are meaningful to them, like a targeted action or new petition.
  • Steward supporters for gifts. For your returning supporters, consider stewarding them for a donation using your grassroots fundraising software. You could create an email list of individuals who signed advocacy petitions and then frame your ask around that campaign.
  • Offer giving alternatives. Perhaps your supporters are unable to make a donation. There’s still numerous ways they can make an impact on your cause! Share peer-to-peer fundraising opportunities, ask them to call their legislator, steer them toward matching gifts, or otherwise offer a giving alternative that helps make the most of their interest in your grassroots organization.

The bottom line? Adopting dedicated grassroots advocacy and fundraising software means that your team will have your hands on a host of solutions that make carrying out your mission more intuitive than ever.

What essential features should you look for in grassroots software?

5. What essential features should you look for in grassroots software?

As organizations like yours figure out what grassroots software can offer their cause, there’s just one thing left to determine: what makes certain grassroots software stand out from the crowd.

Not only do you want your team to adopt a solution that’s equipped with all of the features you need right now, but you also want to choose a platform that’s designed to grow with your organization for years to come.

As you zero in on your top-choice grassroots software pick, keep in mind some of these must-have attributes to look out for. Your software should be:

  • Designed for grassroots organizations. All too often, grassroots causes choose to piece together a system of lightweight software tools that aren’t actually designed for their unique needs. Be sure the solution your team adopts is expressly designed for grassroots causes like yours so you can be sure you have all the essential tools.
  • Integrated with your favorite CRM platform. Grassroots advocacy and fundraising software aren’t the only solutions you’ll need to carry out your mission. Having a robust CRM platform on hand can be the key to effectively managing your constituency, so your new software should seamlessly integrate with your chosen CRM tools.

For grassroots communities like yours, you don’t have to compromise when it comes to your software strategy. With the right grassroots software, you can have it all: advocacy tools, fundraising solutions, and constituent management features.

Grassroots software offers cause-driven organizations like yours a wide range of tools to create social image and spread awareness for your mission.

Now that we’ve reviews these top grassroots software questions, your team is ready to get out there and make the right choice for your next software investment!

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

Salsa Online Advocacy Demo

Topics: Advocacy
Get a Salsa Demo

Get a Personalized Demo Today!

Smart Engagment Tools for Today’s Nonprofits

Download Now!