Grassroots Strategies in Issue Advocacy & Candidate Campaigns | July 10, 2018
Experts in issue advocacy and electoral politics shared the latest trends, tools and techniques in grassroots mobilization. Speakers included: Michael Blake Bezruki, Director, Grassroots Programs, National Association of Home Builders, Meghan Cox, Lincoln Strategy Group, Joshua Habursky, Assistant Vice President of Advocacy, Independent Community Bankers of America & Founder/Chairman of the Grassroots Professional Network, Domonique James, Founder & CEO of Politics with Purpose and Jennifer Holcomb, Vice President and Managing Director at Field Strategies.
Meghan’s top tips:
- Avoid form letters at all costs. Personalize all communications. If you want your message to get through then give specific examples. Don’t overestimate the power of those in person touches as well.
- It’s important to be creative. Sometimes the action or moment passes for a voter. Constantly be thinking of ways to enhance the delivery of your message. Don’t let digital make you lazy. The in person action gets more results.
About Meghan Cox: Meghan Cox has been with Lincoln Strategy Group since inception, where she oversees the firm’s large scale national grassroots campaigns for both political and corporate clients that require intense logistical planning and management.
Domonique’s top tips:
- I love message bots. Figuring out how to move your voters down a certain path is extremely important. None of us are ever an arm’s length away from our cellphones. 97% of text messages are read within the first 5 minutes of receiving them. Message bots, texts and email are key.
- As a grassroots organization it’s important to stand for something. Put your consumer first. Confused people do nothing or get angry. Help them know what your brand is all about.
About Domonique James: Domonique James is the Founder and CEO of Politics with Purpose, a digital media, training, and consulting firm. She is a political professional with over ten years of experience in strategic communications, grassroots advocacy, and political and public affairs advertising.
Jennifer’s top tips:
- So important to remember that technology is not going to replace traditional organizing. The technology will only supplement this. Still have to get out there and manage and recruit voters.”
- You might not be the best messenger for an issue. Get a community member or respected elder to deliver a genuine message.
- If you really want someone to pay attention to you then send people to their houses and post lawn signs. Bring grassroots to lobbying—need to marry the two. No substitute to sending the right people to voter’s doors.
About Jennifer Holcomb: Jennifer Holcomb has spent her career designing and executing winning grassroots programs for Democrats and their progressive allies. Jennifer cut her teeth in the field-dominant state of New Jersey.
Joshua’s top tips:
- The key function is creating a surround sound effect. Voters need to hear about your issue on multiple avenues. Always try to bring something new or innovative to the surface.
- Find the voice of your org. How can you communicate to voters? Also find the boiling point—what is the point where you’re going to get in trouble—being too creative/too disruptive. Continually fight to get to that point but don’t cross.
About Joshua Habursky: Joshua Habursky is assistant vice president of advocacy for the Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) where he manages ICBA’s advocacy communications programs and community bank grassroots initiatives as well as founder and chairman of The Grassroots Professional Network, a non-profit dedicated to advancing grassroots best practices and thought leadership.
Michael’s top tips:
- Best way to build a key contact is to start by volunteering on their campaign. Cut through to these offices that are bombarded with letters and phone calls.
- Take steps to establish your members as experts on an issue. Making them a resource is very important.
About Michael Bezruki: Michael is the Director of Grassroots Programs at the National Association of Home Builders. His career has been focused on developing innovative and meaningful practices in trade association management, government relations, political campaigns, and grassroots advocacy at the federal, state, and local level.