The Role of Membership Organizations in Grassroots Advocacy

Consider the growing importance of grassroots advocacy. It is the best way, that is, to build communities. Building communities is the mantra behind a strong grassroots advocacy model. The role of networks of motivated membership organizations in advocacy is to raise awareness in order for a community of people to care about issues at either, local, state or federal levels. And the purpose in any effort of grassroots advocacy involves some level of political activity meant to draw attention to causes and issues and to influence public perception, regulations or public policy.It is typical for membership organizations such as Chambers of Commerce, professional trade associations, and all shades of advocacy groups to take advocacy to a level beyond the grassroots into more organized forms. The strength in networks of motivated membership organizations is often manifested in their clout and in their ability to organize with client organizations and to create united groups of concerned constituents which is hard to ignore.

Mechanics of Effective Grassroots Advocacy There are a number of things you can do with your membership organization to be successful as a grassroots advocacy organization.· Plan for success: as a grassroots advocacy entity you must have a well thought out advocacy agenda that uses lots of different grassroots techniques to make your voice heard around the issues you care about.· Organize around a strong leadership structure: to succeed at a very high level, have in place a strong leadership structure with clearly defined responsibilities.· Build a “brand” advocacy model: a well-articulated “brand” should give your advocacy materials a consistent look and feel just like any standard political campaign.· Use every available advocacy tool: to get your message out be prepared to use every advocacy tool at your disposal.· Grow your organization: a well-defined and sustained membership drive is a necessary strategy for strength in numbers.The most powerful advocacy asset of any member-based organization is its potential for grassroots advocacy. You just have to leverage this asset by using every advocacy tool at your disposal. The best practices for effective grassroots advocacy include the education of your client organizations’ memberships on public policy issues; you work to also attract volunteer participation, and be able to provide suitable and necessary information about public policy issues and to justify the authoritative reasons for sustained involvement with use of tools for effective advocacy.Know how well you can engage your grassroots potential. That is key. The membership database of your organization is the appropriate source of engaging the grassroots potential of your organization. You can develop cost-effective and manageable advocacy regimes that inspire volunteer participation, and maintain adequate level of awareness among your membership organizations.

Versatility of Social Media PlatformsToday, one of the keys to the new world of digital efficiency is the fact that you can use certain versatile online social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogger, YouTube and Picasa to track almost anything. These measurable metrics on actionable insights and the sentiment of the membership you represent on causes and issues are something you can build your advocacy campaign on.So, be it your membership organization is a Chamber of Commerce, a powerful trade association or just any form of advocacy group, you are the representative organization of hundreds, perhaps thousands of potentially influential constituents. Politically, your organization matters as a power player in the game of influencing public policy. You just have to be a major part of the process. And the role of your members is what propels your organization’s advocacy machine.

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