Effective Advocacy for Iowa Progressives

Effective Advocacy for Iowa Progressives


by Paul Deaton

One of Blog for Iowa's goals is to be a resource for progressives. We frequently post action alerts that urge advocacy on progressive causes and if you are like most of our readers, you are contacted by snail mail, e-mail, telephone, Facebook, twitter, and other social media multiple times a day by people and organizations asking for something. It can be to donate money, contact elected officials, attend an event or join in signing a petition. We get asked so often, it is hard to imagine that each request is taken seriously. So how can progressives become effective advocates?

The authors of action alerts understand that it is a numbers game. When our number of viewers, members or contact list is not as large as groups like Organizing for America, we really have to work to get enough people to join in to make the effort of an action alert worthwhile. Once a person has assembled enough names on a petition, it is time to submit is to an elected official.

Only trouble is that according to Matt Stempeck, of the New Organizing Institute Education Fund “you may not actually get their attention. Because half of the people working for your representatives think that you, the corner-cutting advocacy group, have just appended the names of your member rolls to your petition, without their permission, to make it look more impressive.” Read Stempeck's article titled, “Half of Congress Doesn't Believe Your Members Signed that Petition” to hear more about advocacy effectiveness.

Another new resource to use when planning an advocacy campaign is the Partnership for a More Perfect Union's new report, “Communicating with Congress: Perceptions of Citizen Advocacy on Capitol Hill.” Inside the report, the authors present five key areas of effectiveness: using the internet, effectiveness of various advocacy techniques, dealing with content, grassroots advocacy and communicating via social media. In order to improve your advocacy efforts, download and read this report before you plan your next effort. You will be glad you did.

~Paul Deaton is a native Iowan living in rural Johnson County and weekend editor of Blog for Iowa. E-mail Paul Deaton

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