We recently spoke with Penny Okamoto, Executive Director of Ceasefire Oregon and asked her some questions about how they have grown their organization by using Salsa. It’s always great to spotlight a client whose work is so inspirational.
1. What is your organization’s mission?
Ceasefire Oregon works to prevent gun violence by advocating reasonable, effective gun laws. We educate the public and legislators about gun violence, lobby on behalf of bills that will help make our communities safer, and work to prevent the passage of bills that would make it easier for dangerous people to obtain and carry firearms.
2. How long have you been a Salsa client?
We have been working with Salsa for over five years!
3. What were your challenges before you started using Salsa? How did Salsa help you overcome those challenges?
Before we used Salsa, we were using email groups to contact our supporters. As you can imagine, it was time consuming to categorize everyone. Salsa gave us the ability to easily send specific messages to specific supporters. For example, with Salsa, we can ask our supporters from one legislative district to call their senators with a message of thanks for supporting a bill. We can ask their neighboring district to send another message to a senator who did not support a bill. In short, we can send tailored messages to specific groups based on legislative groups, geographic groups, or groups of people who participated in a specific event.
"Salsa gave us the ability to easily send specific messages to specific supporters."
We also now have the ability to create groups in incredibly easy ways. We can tag groups based on interests ("supports child access prevention," or "wants to know more about banning assault weapons"), participation in an event ("attended 2015 Lobby Day") or when someone makes a donation. Sorting by legislative district is the best -- and Salsa does it all for me! I just select the district I need, and Salsa figures it out based on address and zip code.
Now our actions are far more sophisticated because they are targeted and precise with the necessary information going to the right group.
4. What is your favorite Salsa feature/tip?
I like the petitions feature because they can help light a fire, spread your message and bring supporters to your website. People really want to do something about our issue and petitions grab their attention and help us expand our army of supporters. I also like the tell-a-friend (TAF) feature because it helps in the same way. People want to make a change and petitions/TAF can educate people about our organization, the issues we face and how we can make that change.
5. Tell me about a successful campaign. Why was it so successful? How did Salsa help make it successful?
"... and Salsa does it all for me!"
Some of our most successful campaigns involve getting our supporters to contact their legislators about bills, which needs to be done very quickly. All the information needs to be right in front of them. I’ve created emails for the supporters to use and added links for any additional information they might need. We have sent many successful alerts through Salsa that have resulted in supporters responding quickly and en masse.
6. If your nonprofit was a book/movie, what would its title be?
Courage Under Fire
7. What advice would you give new Salsa users?
Take all the seminars or webinars you possibly can. Salsa is a very powerful tool and it's well worth your time to know how to use it. Take advantage of all the free trainings they provide. Learn during your slow season so you are ready when you need to move quickly.