How a lobbyist was able leverage civic engagement data.
Last week I had the pleasure of speaking with Caroline Rayburn, the Government Affairs Associate at The Charles Group, a legislative consulting firm that focuses on policy analysis and intelligence, strategic planning, and government relations for their Federal clients.
Caroline has been working directly with the Association of Mature American Citizens, or AMAC, as their chief lobbyist. Caroline shared some of her strategies and the surprising results from their most recent grassroots advocacy campaign.
AMAC is a conservative advocacy and benefits association for seniors with 1.2 million members. Because a lot of seniors left AARP due to their support of the Affordable Care Act, AMAC's is one of the fastest growing associations for seniors as the "The Voice of Americans".
The campaign was AMAC's first to try and engage their membership base by email. Baseline goals of her campaign were:
1- Make their members aware of the issue and make it easy for them to share it with others to further raise awareness outside of their base.
2- Get co-sponsors for the bill to save home health care from the pending Medicare cuts.
3- Get the bill to pass.
The grassroots campaign started right after the bill was introduced and ran for 2 weeks. Some of the components of the campaign that were important included:
- Sent an email a few times a week to membership.
- Used social media a lot. (Over 280k like AMAC's page on Facebook)
- The landing page didn’t require members to have to log in.
- The landing page used video to create an emotional and personal message.
The results of the campaign over 4 segments of the AMAC membership:
- Total views of the advocacy landing page: 35,293
- Unique views: 27,505
- Total emails sent to legislators: 20,552
- Unique sends: 17,170
Despite a 58.23% engagement rate on the landing page, the bill stalled in committee. However, that is not the surprising part.
Grassroots Advocacy is Never a Losing Proposition
Because Caroline could see from the Votility reports where the most active members were, she was able to take the campaign one step further by reaching out to those who took action and asking if any of them has been personally affected. She got 50 emails back from seniors who shared personal stories about not being able to get the care they needed at home. The private sector business owner partners shared stories about how their agency was shut down and how they lost their jobs as a result.
Using the data from the Votility report along with these stories, Caroline put together a document and is using that in promotion on the hill. Their marketing group is using it to show how individuals are being impacted to gain more awareness and support.
Because she was able to see who participated and where they're located, it gave them the data to influence several members of congress who have signed on in those areas. They expect the bill to be re-introduced and have gained more sponsors and committee members in support. Once re-introduced, a few clicks will revive the campaign.
How easy grassroots advocacy campaigns can be.
Caroline ran the entire campaign by herself. In her words, "It doesn’t take a lot of time. It took me longer to write the copy than to set up and run the campaign!"