Building a national strategy from the ground up – Grassroots doing more than just advocating

You are a case worker for an organization helping children at-risk of child abuse.  You are an accountant at a small firm.  You are the President & CEO of a successful laundromat chain.  And, you are all asked to answer the same question:

How can we ensure every child has an equal opportunity for healthy growth and development?

Over a dozen national child advocacy groups agreed to start the National Movement for America’s Children.  A movement that is using the idea of grassroots and crowdsourcing to develop a strategy to answer the question above.  If you have an interest in helping the nation’s children, then they want to hear from you!

You can sign up, answer The Big Question in the forum, and even keep a blog.  Local groups can be created to work together to add to the conversation.  I have never seen anything like this before (but, I have only been in the professional world for a little longer than a year).

Prevent Child Abuse America‘s President & CEO, Jim Hmurovich, blogged yesterday about using crowdsourcing to develop a strategy.

Developing such a strategy through crowdsourcing is where the National Movement is leading the way. We aren’t developing another top-down set of policies. We’re enlisting the help of 3.7 million Facebook fans, a Twitter hashtag campaign and real, amateur video captures, as well as virtual and actual town hall sessions.
– Jim Hmurovich, President & CEO of PCA America

This is more than grassroots advocacy, this is grassroots leadership.  I am excited to be a part of this and hope to see follow-through from the leaders of the movement.

I hope to see leadership take the ideas and directly implement them without making them spin to fit into what the ‘top-tier’ organizations idea for a national strategy.

What do you think of the National Movement for America’s Children?
How do you think it could be most effective?
Comment below!

Bringing creativity into the workplace – allowed or encouraged?

Did anyone see Pastor Joe Nelms’ prayer at the NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Nashville?  If not, take a look (even if you have, rewatch because it’s awesome!).

At first, I didn’t know how to react.  It felt a little weird, listening to a prayer that sounded like it was brought to you by all of the NASCAR sponsors.  But, I began to think about why Pastor Joe went about it this way:

  • Maybe this is how he prays
  • Maybe he is just a little weird (we are talking NASCAR here, sorry race fans)
  • Maybe he was just having a little fun

I don’t think anyone’s God dislikes fun.  Pastor Joe was simply bringing some creativity to his job.

photo by Sean MacEntee

Bringing creativity and a personal spin into the workplace should be more than welcomed, it should be encouraged.

Given, there are times when an employee needs to respect the situation and act a certain way, but you have to be able to bring personality into the workplace or else it becomes a ‘job’.

How do you put splashes of your personality and creativity into your everyday tasks?
Is it welcomed by your employers?
Let me know!

How advocacy campaigns can create a network of millennial donors for you non-profit

In July 2011, there was a great article written on Written by Christina Attard (@gptekkie), the article entitled “Good news about Millennials and Fundraising” dove into great statistics and tendencies about millennial, specifically millennial donors.

Christina touched on the very important aspects of millennials to remember…

  • Millennials aren’t in the best position financially to be giving money away.
  • Millennials expect to be treated exactly like donors of past generations only through different media and outlets
  • 55% of millennials are giving already; what about recognizing the top tier of millennial donors
photo by pratanti

As a millennial, personally there is not a lot of cash to be given to ALL of the organizations that do a FANTASTIC job of serving the causes that I am passionate about.  However, there are plenty of possibilities to serve your nonprofit.

As a fundraiser, I want to make sure that potential millennial donors have a chance to connect with my organization, remember what we do, and make a positive impact.  Advocacy campaigns are built for millennials.

Here are some tips to make it easy for the technology-using, passions-flaring, and world-saving millennials to make an initial connection with your non-profit’s cause that will last forever:
  • Action alerts – whether this be asking to donate a tweet, use house party profits for your organization, or send an email to a legislator, giving millennials goals to achieve is the first step.
  • Leadership programs – create  an opportunity that encourages the millennial working for your organization or the millennial that has been volunteering since high school to lead a program that includes others from their friend network and professional connections to create awareness for your cause.
  • Volunteer/internship opportunities –  especially for college-aged millennials, the first volunteer or internship that they participate in could be the organization that they will support the most.  Knowing that you made an impact within a summer internship creates a link to that organization that is hard to break.

Advocacy campaigns are just the beginning, may not result in a lot of initial donation, but can create a group of loyal followers who WANT to make a difference.

Millennials – what opportunities with non-profits have caused you to maintain your connection with their cause?
Fundraisers – how have you created opportunities to let young professionals make an impact on the community under your organization’s mission?

Comment below!

Is Facebook useful in your Advocacy campaign?

If it is not  a part of your grassroots efforts, then it should be by tomorrow!

A national poll of America’s 18 to 29 year olds done by Harvard’s Institute of Politics shows that Facebook and other social media tools can be an essential part of a grassroots advocacy.  The poll was done on nearly 3,000 millennials and about one-third said that

‘online tools like Facebook, Twitter, blogs and YouTube make more of an impact than in-person advocacy’!

Other findings from this research project of note:

  • Of those who like advocacy updates online, Facebook is preferred over Twitter by 2 to 1.
  • Almost all participants in survey said they would rather get updates from their friends rather than a campaign page or an organization.

Give your followers content they can share!!

photo by MoneyBlogNewz

Now, to answer the official question… YES! Facebook is very useful in your advocacy efforts.  With a more personal way of friending and sharing, it is an excellent tool for you to encourage your followers to advocate and share information with their friends.

Here are three examples of organizations, who rely heavily on grassroots efforts, using Facebook:

How do you spread advocacy updates to your friends on Facebook?
What posts engage you the most when visiting an organization’s page?
Comment below!


The EASY way to advocate through Social Media

The hard way = Trying to do it alone!
The easy way = Using your network as a tool and a resource.

As is true with many things in life, trying to go about it all alone is a trap.  One of three things can happen when you think you can advocate by yourself:

  • You get overwhelmed
  • You get sidetracked with other tasks
  • You get overwhelmed and decide to focus on other tasks

Social media is BUILT for likes, comments, retweets, and sharing.  It is like that for a reason.  If you find the cause that motivates you to advocate, then there are other people like you who use social media as well.

For example, advocating for community health centers or homelessness?
Follow @NACHC or @naehomelessness

From @: Community health centers...ramped up their Twitter activism for the town hall: #fqhc #SaveCHCs
Thanks for the RT @! Our friends at @ are doing great work.
End Homelessness

Next step: search through there followers list and find people from your area or other active individuals who are using Social Media for advocacy.

Advocacy through Social Media is becoming more and more active.  We saw it yesterday during the Twitter Townhall with President Obama.  So make it easy on yourself and build a network of other advocates.  Retweet, comment, like them!  Then it will be easier to send out that tweet that says…

Remember the millions of patients counting on #fqhc for care & the amt of $ saved frm preventing unnecessary ER visits #AskObama 2 #SaveCHCs
Willie Matis

Because that was fun!