Advocacy Then and Now

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Once upon a time in a land called The Hill, knights in shining armor roamed free - defending all manner of causes. Each knight carried the coat of arms of a different house, and patrolled the halls of Russell and Hart. Juggling binders filled with handouts, talking points and maps, they wended the halls of a domed castle, seeking the ear of court officials. These are the Lobby Days of yore.

All right, so maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but it does a fine job of illustrating how old fashioned those advocacy tactics feel. Although the advent of the internet may have radically reshaped the world of advocacy, a lot of what we do today has a history in older communication methods.

Looking for ways to help bridge the gap for members new to digital? Here's a look at a few new tools with old roots:

From Printing Press to PDF

Before the digital epiphany, sharing data was confined to a text-heavy, ink-drenched standard piece of paper or, if you were lucky, a printed brochure. Not anymore. Today, we can share data in visually exciting ways (like infographics) without pushing the printer to the brink. Since we know now that our brains process visual content far better, we can explore interesting layouts, colors, and even movement.

Need a bit more information to convince them? Maybe peer pressure will work: in a survey of nonprofits and advocacy workers, 58.27% of respondents said they would focus more on creating infographics in 2015.

Snail Mail No More

Your older members may remember letter-stuffing parties, but nowadays taps on keyboards and the click of a mouse replace traditional snail mail campaigns. While people may have a sense of nostalgia for the piece of paper, email has become one of the best communication tools we have today. Paired with other digital tools, your call to action can now garner more engagement than you ever could in a traditional letter campaign.

No Longer Just the Town Crier

The emergence of public policy blogs means messages have the ability to reach farther than ever before. Before the blogosphere, you shared your platform in speeches, pamphlets, and handouts. But blogging means you can become the thought leader in your advocacy field by reaching an exponentially larger audience. Insightful posts provide fodder for online comments, social media conversations, and in-person dialogues.

A lot has changed in advocacy over the last decade: POTUS and Senators tweet; we don't paper the Hill much anymore; Presidential candidates take questions from Facebook. The list goes on... You can reach legislators in a dozen new ways, but remember that all of these tactics stem from the humble beginnings of traditional advocacy.

To learn more about how to take your advocacy efforts digital, visit our website.