Tag Archives: building your volunteer network
The Good News
There is a lot of time and effort directed at motivating grassroots volunteers. The bad news is that much of it is directed in the wrong place.
What is lacking in most organizations, most markedly in the corporate grassroots programs, are grassroots managers with the motivation and team leadership skills who can motivate your members or employees to become raging grassroots thunder activists. Like it or not, just as a CEO or department Vice President imbues a type of leadership and culture upon their organization, the grassroots manager also does this with the grassroots program. Even Fortune magazine noted the drop in Christian Coalition membership when its charismatic leader, Ralph Reed, resigned.
Why Can’t We Motivate Grassroots Volunteers?
Most public affairs…
This is the fourth and final post in a series about how any organization with 501(c)(3) status can build a grassroots advocacy network and do lobbying within the confines of the law.
Step Four: Make Your Group Memorable
It’s essential to have a simple logo or a short phrase or slogan that sums up your organization and its message. The idea is to have a “brand,” or an easily recognizable image that volunteers and legislators will associate with the cause.
The American Heart Association’s “You’re the Cure” slogan is a good example. The Kentucky Homeless and Housing Coalition made up stickers with the phrase “Open the Door” and a simple logo – a keyhole on a bright yellow door – to summarize…
This is the third post in a series about how any organization with 501(c)(3) status can build a grassroots advocacy network and do lobbying within the confines of the law.
Step Three: Connect with Legislators
The size of your network is not as important as the credibility of the volunteers you have engaged. If they know the right legislators – or more important, if the legislators get to know them – you can get some attention and get things moving. I’ve seen an advocacy network with 12 volunteers get legislation passed and networks with thousands of volunteers flounder. The difference was simple: the smaller network was made up of highly motivated, engaged volunteers with connections to legislators.
Advocacy groups can build their credibility…
This is the second post in a series about how any organization with 501(c)(3) status can build a grassroots advocacy network and do lobbying within the confines of the law.
Step Two: Retain and Motivate
Be very specific about what you want your volunteers to do and give them lots of support. I’ve watched advocacy programs struggle because staff members don’t set concrete requirements and measure how well their volunteers meet them.
If the volunteers’ job is to send letters or emails to legislators, help them get access to websites that provide legislator contact information. (Project Vote Smart is an excellent resource for information about lawmakers and candidates for office.) If you want volunteers to visit legislators or their staff, help them prepare…
This is the first post in a series about how any organization with 501(c)(3) status can build a grassroots advocacy network and do lobbying within the confines of the law.
Step One: Recruit Volunteers
Begin by considering where you can find volunteers for your lobbying efforts. Start with your organization’s strengths – mine your database of donors and volunteers: Who in your organization has relationships with legislators or people with connections to legislators? Who are the effective communicators?
To be successful, you must involve all facets of your organization in your advocacy efforts – including your board of directors. Board members are the leaders in demonstrating the behavior the organization wants from its members. If members of the board aren’t willing to help,…