Grassroots Strategies: Relationships Matter

grassroots

Grassroots Strategies Work when You Focus on the Relationship

There are many grassroots strategies out in the world, but not all of them work.  So when it comes to grassroots, what actually works? The most effective strategies are built around personal relationships with legislators. When organizations build real relationships between their members and elected officials, their engagement lasts longer and their phone calls get returned.

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Grassroots Campaigns: a Political Memory

grassroots campaigns memories

How I Learned Grassroots Campaigns from the Master

Every Fourth of July, I think about my former boss, Congressman Jim Jontz. Jim taught me the importance of grassroots campaigns - real conversations, and knocking on doors. Jim was a congressman from Indiana’s 5th district and a progressive legend. In his first campaign, he won a state representative seat by 4 votes. He went on to win a state senate seat by less than 100 hundred votes and three congressional elections by less than four thousand votes total. He was my mentor and teacher in the world of grassroots campaigns.

I, along with many future campaign operatives, got my start in politics by doing field work for Jim Jontz in a rural Indiana district. There, I spent six months of my life organizing volunteers and knocking on doors and got a great apprenticeship in how to run grassroots campaigns.

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Winning Advocacy Strategies for 2015 and Beyond

Advocacy Strategies for 2015 and beyond

The Evolution of Advocacy Strategies

Advocacy strategies have changed a lot over the last 20 years. When I was a chief of staff in the New York State Legislature, I don't remember there ever being a real advocacy campaign around public support of an issue that focused on legislators. The main way groups moved legislation was to hire a lobbyist and that was really it. There were occasional print ads and lobby days, but day-to-day mass contact from constituents that were driven by member groups were few and far between. Today, we spend a lot of time running advocacy campaigns on the state level.  Issue advocacy tactics that were once only used on large, federal issues are now seen on smaller federal issues as well as state and municipal issues.

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