Grassroots advocacy is becoming increasingly important. It helps to form and sustain strong communities. Various networks have started to appear, all wanting to help raise awareness of the plight of different people, dealing with their issues at federal, state, and local level. According to grassroots activist Jack Bonner, it is important to understand that advocacy is always political in nature. It aims to change the way the public thinks, but also the way public policy is developed.
Jack Bonner on How Grassroots Advocacy Can Be Effective
In order for advocacy to be successful, the organization or individual offering it must:
- Plan for their success. They must have an agenda that makes it clear what they want to achieve, and how they aim to achieve that. There are numerous successful advocacy strategies out there that have been proven to work.
- Have a strong culture of leadership. Whoever is at the top must know exactly what they are doing, and they must be able to inspire others to follow them.
- Have a brand that explains their type of advocacy. This should also shine through in any materials. This is where it becomes clear that advocacy is a type of political campaign and should be treated as such.
- Use any tools and methods available to spread the message to the world.
- Aim to grow. Individuals should try to build larger teams, and organizations should try to become larger. Membership is a great way to achieve that, also because it can bring in some much needed funds.
Jack Bonner on Membership
Bonner believes that setting up a membership organization is one of the best ways to build an effective grassroots movement. This is because the more people there are, the more people know. The fact that it brings in financial resources is a bonus, but the gathering of knowledge and the potential of having an expanding network is far more important. However, this is also why it is so important to have a culture of strong leadership. Unless everybody knows what the goal of the membership organization is, and which strategies are being used to achieve those goals, then it will become a disorganized mess.
Jack Bonner on the Power of Social Media
Bonner also believes that all grassroots advocacy organizations must become digitally efficient. Social media platforms, like Blogger, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, are vital tools to spread message, but also to provide metrics and invaluable insights on how well a campaign is going, and whether it is being effective. Someone who understands these types of analytics is vital to the success of advocacy campaigns, therefore.
For Bonner, whether you are a huge membership organization or a single individual, advocacy can be highly successful. However, it means seeing your actions as a political event, and treating it as such. Using all the tools and strategies at your disposal, you will have the opportunity to make real changes in the community, driving and changing public policy in such a way that it truly benefits people.