Page 1 Improving Grassroots Efforts with Issue Advocacy Management Technology Grassroots political activities can be powerful tools of influence. However, the extensive coordination and communication required to make them effective can be daunting. How can government affairs professionals streamline the complicated process of recruiting, educating, encouraging and retaining volunteers while intelligently analyzing the success of grassroots efforts? Limited staff and resources make managing grassroots campaigns a cumbersome and time-consuming experience. Fortunately, new technology has eased the management burden, radically simplifying all aspects of grassroots campaigns. Issue advocacy management solutions include easy- to-use, web-based software to enable effortless coordination, communication and tracking of entire grassroots programs. Grassroots Management Challenges Government affairs groups are challenged to communicate timely issues to grassroots volunteers while making it easy for people to act. Improper handling of tasks ranging from recruitment to retention diminishes the effectiveness of grassroots programs. Challenges Recruiting Volunteers Asking members to Increasing participation is a primary responsibility of any government affairs participate and verifying director. Participation is typically jumpstarted by captivating the core their commitment can be costly and time- consituency with a well-crafted message intended to spur action. A consuming commitment verification process often involves a reply card or telephone confirmation. Placing phone calls and processing mail are time-consuming, expensive to administer, require many manual processes and are susceptable to human error. Ideally, a solution should automate as much of the recruitment process as possible and make it very easy to confirm volunteer commitment. Having all members in a central database for quick and easy e-mail transmission streamlines grassroots recruitment efforts and is more cost effective. Page 2 Keeping Volunteers “In the Know” Government affairs organizations struggle to keep people up-to-date on issues important to the corporation or association. Presenting a solid position on key issues is critical to keep grassroots volunteers well-educated. Traditionally, educational information is broadcast to volunteers via fax or mail. These time-consuming steps do not provide the immediacy necessary to communicate hot issues and place a heavy cost burden on the government affairs group. Ideally, communication with grassroots supporters should be quick and easy. An automated solution can help facilitate greater volumes and bursts of communication while also quickly educating members on key issues and stances. Web technology makes this a reality. Difficulty Encouraging Action Translating requests into Taking a grassroots volunteer from the commitment stage to performing a action is a major political objective is a challenging feat. Asking volunteers to craft letters or challenge for grassroots volunteers call legislators is easy enough. A disconnect typically occurs between the request and the actual action. Requests that lead to dead ends are usually caused by excessive steps needed for volunteers to act. For example, a volunteer may not know who to contact, what to say or what to expect. Government affairs groups may direct volunteers to sites that enable legislator lookups, but the process tends to be disjointed. What is needed is an easy way for volunteers to craft messages or access talking points while directing them to the appropriate legislators. Modern technology eases the process by connecting volunteers with legislators and drafting customized letters that can be automatically e-mailed, faxed or mailed to key legislators. Retaining Volunteers Government affairs organizations walk a fine line between inundating volunteers with action requests and not properly utilizing the strength of their grassroots supporters. Make too many requests and lose the volunteers, make too few and eliminate the feeling of ownership. The trick to retaining volunteers is to make it easy for them to learn about the issues important to them and act when needed. Many organizations write letters and make calls to volunteers. This time consuming and costly process does not make it easy for volunteers to take action. Ideally, volunteers' areas of interest are recorded and communications are targeted only to relevant volunteers. In addition, modern technology enables automated identification of who has or has not acted for follow-on targeted communications. Challenges Analyzing Results Government affairs Most government affairs groups have no knowledge regarding the actual groups find it difficult to know if volunteers have efforts taken by grassroots supporters. Often, volunteers will be asked to acted report any action performed; however, most actions are never recorded. This makes it challenging for government affairs groups to analyze the effectiveness of their efforts. Not knowing who responded, what the participation rate was and what actions were taken makes it difficult to determine the influence of grassroots campaigns. New technology enables comprehensive recording and analysis of all actions taken by grassroots volunteers for powerful campaign refinement. Page 3 Improving Grassroots Efforts with Issue Advocacy Management Technology Issue advocacy Designed to help government affairs organizations streamline grassroots management solutions streamline all critical steps efforts, issue advocacy management solutions automate key processes, of grassroots campaigns dramatically enhancing the effectiveness of grassroots campaigns. Issue advocacy solutions significantly improve grassroots recruitment, education, action, retention and analysis efforts via automated web-based processes that increase awareness among volunteers and make it easy for them to communicate with elected officials. Advanced solutions include issue and bill tracking, legislator and staff contact information, and integrated volunteer-to- legislator matching. Benefits of Issue Advocacy Management Solutions: Enhanced Efficiency Issue advocacy management technology brings the strength of intelligent software and the Internet to government affairs groups. The net result is faster communication and better results. Recruitment Benefits Issue advocacy solutions make volunteer recruitment and verification a pain- free process. Web-based forms make it easy for volunteers to commit to grassroots efforts with a simple click of a mouse. The verification process is handled automatically (i.e., sending an e-mail verifying the commitment) without any labor requirements from the government affairs group. All commitments are stored for future informational campaigns, making it easy to send alerts to the appropriate audience. Issue advocacy solutions reduce manual errors, make committing easier for volunteers and allow government affairs departments to focus on important issues such as crafting compelling messages. Educational Benefits Issue advocacy solutions Keeping volunteers informed has never been easier. Issue advocacy allow real-time solutions enable real-time communication with volunteers via informative web communication with grassroots supporters sites and e-mail communications. Urgent issues can be immediately communicated to constituents. Educational information can be linked with optional actions in an integrated location, making it easy for people to act in an informed manner. An issue advocacy solution also eliminates the need to rely solely on costly faxes and mailings. Issue advocacy solutions make educating grassroots volunteers quick and easy. Stimulating Action Issue advocacy solutions achieve the objective of making it easy for grassroots volunteers to act. Issue advocacy technology eliminates the need for volunteers to locate legislators and produce customized communications. An issue advocacy solution provides immediate access to the appropriate legislators and offers ready-made communication templates relevant to the topic at hand. Government affairs organizations can create speaking points and letters that can be customized and automatically converted into faxes, e- Page 4 mails or letters. All actions taken by volunteers are categorized, stored and tied to issues and legislators for further analysis. Improves Retention Issue advocacy technology empowers volunteers, increasing involvement in grassroots efforts. An issue advocacy solution minimizes the time necessary for volunteers to act, provides relevant and timely educational information and enables targeted communication to volunteers. For example, those who have not acted can be contacted automatically with a customized message. Additionally, participants can be automatically thanked or rewarded for actions. As the number of volunteers grows, an issue advocacy solution seamlessly scales, enabling a government affairs group to operate efficiently with a large pool of volunteers. Enables Analysis Issue advocacy solutions Powerful and insightful, issue advocacy solutions provide detailed analysis of provide powerful insight grassroots campaigns. Issue advocacy solutions automatically record all into volunteer actions actions performed by volunteers, ranging from reading news blasts to generating customized letters for legislators. With this knowledge, a government affairs group can easily categorize volunteers, such as those who are exceptionally active. All information is stored, allowing actions to be analyzed over time to gauge grassroots effects on legislative successes or failures. In addition, actions, bills, issues, legislation, legislators and volunteers can be correlated for analysis from any viewpoint. What to Look for in an Issue Advocacy Management Solution When seeking an issue advocacy management solution, be sure to select software and a company that provide: • Proven Success: Seek a provider that has been in the market, understands the unique needs of government affairs organizations, has a large base of government affairs customers and can fully integrate grassroots and PAC efforts. • Advanced Analytics: Look for a solution that automatically tracks the success of your grassroots programs and provides a graphical representation of results. • An Easy-to-Use Solution: Government affairs employees as well as grassroots volunteers should find the solution easy and intuitive to use. • 9-Digit Zip-to-District Tracking: To assure the most accurate match between volunteers and legislators, seek a solution that offers 9-digit zip code matching with optional +4 digit lookups based on a volunteer's on-file physical address. • News Integration: Look for a solution that can integrate news with issues relevant to your organization. Page 5 • Up-to-Date Legislation Information: The solution should provide daily updates to legislator contact information. • Hosted Solutions: Seek a hosted solution that does not require any hardware or software installation and does not burden the IT department. Demand the highest levels of security for hosted solutions including physical security, perimeter defenses, data encryption, user authentication, application security, internal systems security, operating systems security, database security and reliable backup systems. • Integration with PAC Data: Seek a solution that can integrate with an on-demand PAC solution for complete historical analysis of contributions for target contacts. The Vocus Solution Vocus' software for Vocus' software for government government relations is the leading solution for relations is a complete grassroots managing all aspects of a management solution for corporate grassroots campaign and non-profit government affairs activities. Since its inception more than a decade ago, the Vocus solution has become one of the most influential products in American politics. Many of the nation’s most successful lobbying organizations rely on Vocus to manage their grassroots networks, influence E-mails can be personalized legislation and run their PACs. and quickly sent to volunteers Vocus' software for government relations features powerful contact management capabilities that manage relationships with legislators, staff and grassroots volunteers by utilizing advanced features such as note-taking, history tracking and correspondence generation. The solution can create targeted lists and distribute action alerts and other messages by mail, fax and interactive e-mail. The Vocus solution tracks projects, activities and legislation; maintains a professional online advocacy site; and analyzes lobbying efforts and legislative success. To learn more about Vocus' software for government relations or receive a complimentary demonstration, visit www.vocus.com.