Reflections on When Advocacy Goes Digital


I attended the When Advocacy Goes Digital Event last week, and wanted to share some of the highlights. The presenters at this event represented Netcentric Campaigns,, and United for Change USA in the digital advocacy field (one presenter also previously worked at


  • The U.S. has hit a saturation point in terms of number of emails being sent. The smaller the target (community or state-level issues), the more likely you are to gain traction and inspire followers to read emails
  • Test all emails with a small but diverse group of followers to ensure your ideas “stick” (can be gauged by number of clicks to site, petitions filled, etc.)
  • Petitions need to have a next step and be linked with a theory of change – cannot just be a petition for petition’s sake
  • Expand digital efforts – partner with groups on the ground/in the field to advance your cause
  • Consistently gauge these metrics: Growth and Impact
  • Don’t fall into the trap of educating your members – put faith in their knowledge and let them educate you… Hold a platform discussion if you aren’t sure where members fall on an issue and let them reason it out
  • Advocacy Networks are different than Social Networks: Advocacy Networks keep protocols and are designed to build groups of advocates; Social Networks are unpredictable and uncontrollable

Digital Organizing is…

Good at: Bad at:
Garnering a rapid response from followers Sustaining a long-term or prolonged response from followers
Stopping bad things (through petitions, etc.) Starting new good things (need to build off of existing momentum)
Multi-issue organizing (humanitarian efforts + environmental efforts + politics, etc.) Single-issue organizing (doesn’t hold follower interest for long)

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