Growth is a critical aspect of any organization. The cliché “if you aren’t growing, you’re falling behind” is as true for non-profits and campaigns as it is for business. Legislative policies and demographics are constantly shifting and the environment in which you operate changes quickly.
To effectively maintain your influence, it’s important to gather accurate and up-to-date intelligence on the status of public opinion and to bring fresh blood into the organization via new members and supporters. Identifying people who agree with you on the issues, yet have never heard of your organization or campaign before, can provide you with a fresh population to prospect for supporters or donors. Conducting a voter identification survey can provide you with the hot-button issues of an individual voter and their requisite contact information. Based off of the results of such a survey, you could then include a targeted population into your issue awareness campaigns or GOTV efforts.
Expanding your internal database in such a way can also provide the benefit of reducing the likelihood of “going to the well” of your existing supporters too often. Burning your supporters out from too many “action alerts” or fundraising efforts is a very real issue, and the best way to limit this eventuality is by increasing the number of people you reach out to and segmenting your lists.
For every organization, resources are limited. This should not be an excuse for doing nothing though, but a reason for ensuring that your resources are being used in the most efficient, impactful way possible with measurable results. Delivering targeted, audience-specific messages, and knowing that you aren’t spending resources on reaching people who likely disagree with you in the first place, as may be the case with broadcast messaging such as radio or television ads, can be valuable. You can avoid the placebo effect (which occurs when you’re doing something without being able to measure results) by setting specific goals and adjusting strategies and efforts accordingly if they are not achieved.
Another way to avoid organizational stagnation is to ensure that your messaging is reaching the broadest population. Diversifying the methods by which you communicate with your members is essential. Email is one of the most common ways that many organizations or campaigns seek to reach out to their members, and while an essential aspect, it is often a necessary but not sufficient condition for organizational growth. Coordinating your fundraising or prospecting efforts is key. Every form of communication has a downside, but by coordinating email, telephone, social media, and direct-mail, you can ameliorate the negative aspects of each method and accentuate the positives, all while reaching more people.In the end, change is inevitable in all aspects of society, and the ability to adapt distinguishes successful organizations and campaigns from those that struggle or fail. I would encourage you to think outside the box and be willing to be aggressive in your outreach and prospecting efforts.
Jeff Kubler may be reached at 503-914-1082 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.