Advocacy Engagement Funnel

Mar 08, 2021
Advocacy Engagement Funnel

Advocacy Engagement Goes Further with A Funnel

Getting more advocacy engagement for your organization involves finding new supporters and turning them into dedicated advocates. But getting people to make the transition from giving you their email address to taking action on your organization’s behalf requires a thoughtful engagement strategy. We created an advocacy funnel to show different actions you could ask your supporters to take and what value can be assigned to each action. The more personal the action is, the higher its value.

Check out our advocacy funnel infographic to see examples of action items and their engagement value.

What is the difference between a marketing funnel and an engagement funnel?

They are very similar, and they share the same core principles. With a marketing funnel, you are turning leads into customers. With an engagement funnel, you are turning supporters into activists. In both cases, the idea is to start with low-pressure asks and track who completes them, following up with progressively larger asks. Not every lead will result in a sale and not every supporter will become an activist. But using a funnel method like this can help you get people to take more actions on your behalf than they would if you went directly into the big asks. For example, someone who wouldn’t meet with a legislator in person may be willing to tweet about your organization, which still helps!

What do I do with people who don't seem engaged with my message or my content?

If someone has never engaged with your organization, delete them from your list. Your time is better off spent putting individuals who have engaged in some basic way into an engagement funnel. It’s also important to know your membership so you can make sure your content is interesting to them. One easy way is to send polls in your emails or post them on social asking people what they want to know more about. You also need to keep track of what content performs well so you can make more of it.

What is the easiest engagement?

Petitions and patch-through calls are easy advocacy engagement actions to ask people to take because they require little time and commitment. These engagements are ultimately short-lived and tend not to have as much impact as social media posts or lobby days. That said, every action can add up. If a given legislator is sent a petition with a lot of signatures, gets a lot of patch-through calls, and sees their social media blow up, that can all add up to a pretty loud message for your advocacy campaign.

What is the hardest engagement?

The hardest engagement for folks to take is a personal one. The more personal the action—though valuable for both the short and long-term—the tougher it is to achieve. Legislators are inundated with easy actions, so the personal ones stand out. These actions also help solidify the relationship a volunteer has with your organization and transform a causal action-taker into a real activist. Instead of thinking of engagement as a single stop, think of it as a journey. Only a thoughtful path creates real engagement.

Where do folks get stuck?

It’s important to keep track of your supporters’ journey through your advocacy engagement funnel so you can see if there are places where people tend to fall off. Using a CRM will make the process easier, but even a spreadsheet can help you measure engagements. If you are seeing a place where folks seem to get stuck, that’s a good time to reevaluate the way your asks progress. Is there a jump from an easier ask to a much harder one? Or do your supporters not understand the ask the way you’ve written it?

How do you reconnect with folks? Why is this hard?

For people you have had limited engagement with, start with the easiest advocacy engagement tactic in the funnel. To be successful, you need to put yourself in the mindset of that audience, and slowly build the relationship with individuals who have fallen by the wayside. 

Because we are plugged into our missions, we make assumptions that our members and activists know what to do for our advocacy campaign without being asked. This is a huge mistake. It is important to have a clear strategy post-acquisition. You need to establish what engagement means to you, and how you're going to continually engage and acquire people to be active members of your supporter list in the long term. Many people spend too much time and money acquiring members and activists without making the proper investment in keeping these connections. 

Any time you add new supporters to your list, they need to receive a timely welcome email. From there, they need to receive consistent communication that isn’t all one note. Every email you send can’t be an ask for them to complete, you also have to help energize them to keep supporting your mission. Sharing success stories and how your supporters have contributed to those wins is a great way to motivate people. Sending polls or asking them to send you their questions can help you learn more about your audience while making them feel like valued members of your list.

Bottom line

Set and hold yourself accountable for measurable goals and track them on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Take stock of your supporter list regularly and look for areas where people aren’t moving through your advocacy engagement funnel and reevaluate those asks. Engaging with your supporters can’t be left up to chance or you’ll be wasting a valuable asset. Treat your supporter list like the investment it is because when it’s well managed, it can pay dividends for your advocacy campaign. 

Have questions about our advocacy engagement funnel? drop us a note

For more information on how to amp up your membership communication, check out this deep dive.


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