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...Pressure lawmakers to support a piece of legislation

Your organization supports an important piece of legislation and wants to pressure the Senate to pass the bill. You have a list of senators who don’t support the legislation. To increase pressure on those senators – and to ensure that the senators who do support the bill continue to do so – your organization wants to run separate, local campaigns targeting each of these senators. Your organization wants to have a separate petition and local leader for each of these campaigns, and you want each of these campaigns to be tied to the larger, national effort.

Setting Up the Campaign

To run this type of campaign, you can use ControlShift’s efforts feature. The efforts feature allows organization administrators to quickly create and manage a collection of similar local petitions that are part of a larger campaign. Begin by creating a new effort. During the setup process you’re able to choose certain settings for your campaign. For an effort targeting senators, you should consider:

  • What is the best search strategy for this campaign? This determines which petitions are returned when a user enters their location. For this type of campaign, you should use “Region/State” for the target search strategy. This will ensure that users are shown the correct campaign for their state, even if it’s not their closest campaign.

  • Do you want to recruit local leaders? If your organization’s campaign strategy does not include local leaders – or if you have staff or volunteers who can run these campaigns locally – you can choose to hide recruitment. However, having a local leader often reduces the staff time required for a campaign and shows that the campaign is not just a petition started by an organization, but rather a campaign being run by one of the target’s constituents.

  • Do you want to allow local leaders to edit the default petition text during the campaign setup process? If you want leaders to edit the petition text before launch, you should click to “Prompt Edit.”

  • Do you want to include specific instructions for local leaders? During the leader recruitment process, users are shown training text explaining how efforts work. You can customize this text to include instructions specific to this effort, like important dates or tips for a successful campaign. This information will also be available to campaign leaders from their campaign’s manage page.

When creating the effort, you must include default text for the title, what, and why. When adding this text, you can choose whether you’d like to lock certain fields. This will prevent local leaders from editing these fields in the future.

After creating the effort, you’ll need to add targets. If your organization has a csv of the senators’ names, you can send the file to support@controlshiftlabs.com and we can upload the target set for you. If you don’t have a csv, you’ll need to manually add the targets. When adding targets, or using a target collection, you’ll be asked if you want to automatically create petitions, or only create petitions once they have a leader. Both strategies have advantages. By waiting to create petitions, you ensure that there is a local leader who can move the campaign beyond an online petition. Additionally, not having the option of signing a leaderless campaign may encourage users to commit to being a leader. On the other hand, requiring a leader before collecting signatures may reduce the number of signatures. Because a campaign targeting US senators has a manageable number of targets, it makes sense to automatically create these petitions.

Running the Campaign

When you’ve finished setting up the effort, you can begin running the campaign. You may want to start by using your CRM to send an email to your most committed supporters directing them to the effort’s landing page (the page with the map). From the landing page, these users can search for their local campaign and commit to being a local leader if the campaign is leaderless. After the first round of outreach, you can begin publicizing the campaign more widely. Some options for publicizing the campaign include:

  • Using your CRM to send a second email to the rest of your list. Direct them to the effort’s landing page so that they can find their local campaign. You can encourage those supporters who are particularly interested in this piece of legislation to get in touch with their campaign creator or your staff for additional ways to help. Alternatively, consider adding a custom checkbox to the petitions allowing your supporters to indicate that they’d like to get more involved.

  • Featuring the campaign on your homepage. By clicking to feature the effort (available from the effort’s settings page) you can add the effort to the featured campaigns column on the homepage. To make the effort more prominent, you can add a new story to your homepage carousel that directs users to the effort’s landing page or hub page.

  • Using social media. Feature the campaign on facebook, twitter and/or tumblr. Direct these users to the landing page or hub page so that they can find their local campaign.

Supporting Campaign Leaders

Throughout the campaign you’ll need to provide support to your campaign leaders. To help ensure a successful effort, consider:

  • Using ControlShift groups tool to create a group for campaign leaders. Using the tool, these leaders will be able to discuss their campaigns, ask questions, share best practices, and quickly be apprised of updates to the legislation’s progress. If an admin at your organization joins the group, you’ll be able to quickly keep track of emerging issues.

  • Use your CRM to email all of the effort’s leaders and invite them to join you on a conference call or google hangout on air. This will allow you to quickly disseminate information about campaign milestones and priorities, as well as answer questions in real time.

  • Use your CRM to email all of the effort’s leaders to provide updates about milestones and successes. Keeping leaders apprised of the legislation’s progress and the status of the senators may encourage petition creators to continue their campaigns.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to support campaign leaders throughout the life of the effort, not just after initial launch. Plan regular check-ins with petition creators as the campaign progresses.

Throughout the campaign you should also encourage campaign leaders to hold events, as this will increase the campaign’s visibility. Some ideas for possible events:

  • Your organization could set up a day of action in support of the legislation and encourage campaign leaders and supporters to hold events around the country.

  • Before the crucial vote, create a calendar allowing campaign leaders to organize petition hand-in events.

After the campaign is over, consider having a final check-in with campaign leaders to receive feedback.

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