You know which piece of legislation you need to influence, and which policymakers you need to reach to do so, but how do you rally supporters to engage with your advocacy campaigns?
Heading into next year’s elections, the answer to that question is being debated around advocacy offices of corporations, NGOs, and interest groups around the country.
“For advocacy campaigns of any size, that’s very difficult to do through a one-size-fits-all strategy,” says Ben Tugendstein, public affairs director at Monument Advocacy. “As in any other part of life, different people are receptive to different messages and receive those messages through different mediums.”
Having demographic information at your fingertips can be exactly what you need to tip the legislative scales in your favor as you engage advocates to move your issues forward.
What Does Demographic Data Tell Us?
In our 2023 Advocacy Benchmark Report, VoterVoice analyzed campaign data from 2022 and the first half of 2023. The findings represent more than 2,000 organizations in 50 industries. One trend we noticed was that women were slightly more engaged than women in advocacy campaigns, contributing 51 percent of traffic to clients’ Action Centers in the first half of 2023.
We also noticed a shift in the age of visitors to Action Centers over the last few years: advocates are trending younger. In the first six months of 2023, advocates ages 35-44 comprised the majority of those visiting your action centers, which was also the case in the first half of 2022.
With advocacy engagement shifting younger, social media use is gaining prevalence. Social media is a cost effective, engaging way mobilize your supporters and expand the reach of your advocacy campaigns.
“Before our fly-in, we always do a geofencing campaign … to target Hill staff and offices,” shared Jeanne Slade, senior director of political affairs and advocacy at the American College of Emergency Physicians, at a recent VoterVoice event. “This year, we did that through Twitter, and we got a lot of comments when we were on the Hill saying, ‘I saw that ad,’ ‘I knew you guys were coming,’ ‘Thanks, we knew what you were going to talk about before you even got here.’ Using technology through social media has been helpful to us.”
Securing demographic information is important to running a successful campaign and understanding how to use this data is the key to unlocking favorable outcomes.
Why is Demographic Data Important?
Understanding the demographics of your supporters lets you know which angle to take when crafting calls to action that will motivate and engage them.
“Even a worthwhile and popular issue will struggle to gain traction if the campaign doesn’t communicate in a way that engages its intended audience,” Tugendstein says. “Demographic data is hugely valuable in defining who your audience is — both from the outset and throughout a longer campaign — and crafting messaging and strategies that resonate.”
Studies have shown differences in motivation between men and women. In the workplace, for example, men show higher engagement from financial factors such as salary, benefits, and bonuses. Women, while still valuing financials, place higher importance than men on striking a positive work-life balance and being treated with fairness and respect.
Other demographic indicators point to different engagement factors. “When advocating for conservation efforts, your messaging to more liberal audiences might focus on the environment and wildlife, while your approach for conservative readers and listeners would emphasize the importance of investing in rural communities and protecting hunting and wildlife habitats,” Tugendstein explains.
The better you know your audience, the more you’ll be able to motivate them to act using a message they care about.
How Demographic Data Improves Your Campaign Engagement
Segmenting your campaign messaging to target the different demographics of your advocate database is a much more effective strategy than employing a one-size-fits-all approach. The more personalized you can make your messages, the higher levels of engagement you are going to see with your campaigns.
As well as providing insight on how to personalize messages to motivate supporters to act, demographic data also tells us how people are engaging with your campaigns. Age plays a large role in the breakdown of engagement methods and can tell us whether supporters are more likely to engage using mobile phones, through email, or on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, or TikTok.
Having insight into demographic data will help guide your messages and the medium you use to communicate those messages. An advocacy campaign with multiple avenues of engagement tailored to the specific demographics of those channels is the best way to motivate as large a group of supporters as possible.
A digital advocacy platform like VoterVoice can tag which topic each supporter engages with so you can be clear about what issues are resonating with them, which messaging strategies are driving action, and through which medium your advocates are engaging.
“I use VoterVoice for our grassroots calls to action, maintaining our advocacy database, and segmenting our advocates based on areas of interest,” says Meghan Cruz, director of grassroots at the National Retail Federation (NRF). “I’ve been trying to tag each individual advocate with an advocacy area of interest based on their behaviors with our action alerts and other advocacy outreach that we do [through VoterVoice].”
The segmenting tools in VoterVoice have allowed the NRF team to target advocates who have clicked, opened, and taken action (or not) on a particular campaign to refine the messages they send to increase engagement and tap into advocates’ areas of interest.
With this valuable insight, you can construct the ideal outreach strategy for your campaigns, rather than simply floating messages out onto inboxes or social media with the hopes that they find the right people.
“I think social media is too influenced by algorithms,” says Drea Burbank, CEO at Savimbo. She acknowledges that the internet brings “more awareness” but with the mass of content on social media, the importance of your message can easily get lost in the mix.
Targeted messaging guided by demographic data improves the efficiency of your advocacy campaign and reduces the likelihood that your calls to action go unfulfilled.
Understand Your Demographics with VoterVoice
VoterVoice is a centralized digital advocacy platform that gives you access to all the demographic data you need to run a successful campaign. Understanding who your supporters are, and what motivates them, will give you valuable insight into crafting the ideal messages and springing your support group into action.
VoterVoice has all the tools you need in one place to plan, execute, and drive results on your advocacy campaigns.