As we’ve seen over recent times, grassroots campaigns are becoming increasingly common. Some might suggest they have become almost part of politics – and it doesn’t look to be changing any time soon.
Of course, the differences between a successful grassroots campaign and one that doesn’t initiate the change are stark to say the least. Jack Bonner has conducted some really interesting talks on the subject and how groups can utilize the best tactics to make sure they fall into the former group.
If we take tactics out of the picture briefly, it’s interesting to take a look at some of the core “ingredients” that are required to at least give the chance of getting the campaign up off the ground. Let’s take a look and see what our research found.
The internet is a key tool in any grassroots campaign
Let’s start with the best ingredient that any campaign will ever be given, the internet. To say this has transformed grassroots campaigns would be an understatement; the power of the internet means that even the small organizations can leverage change if their campaign has enough substance.
Years ago you may have had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to reach an audience of millions. Now, technically, this can be done without a dime. By forming your own communities (we’ll move onto this shortly), you have a readymade group who will shout all over the internet and attempt to get others to join in. It’s much easier to back one of these campaigns from behind a screen and if they get enough backing, the mainstream media will take note and add further fuel to the lobbying.
Communities need to be formed
The last point leads perfectly to this issue; you need to rely on communities. This can be online, as we have already discussed, or in a traditional sense. In terms of the latter, tactics such as door-to-door knocking might be appropriate – just to harness enough people to put their voice to your cause. Without that “togetherness” factor, a lobbying campaign just won’t be successful.
Nothing will beat financial clout
Sure, the internet means that financial clout isn’t as important as it once was, but a campaign is always going to have significantly more chance of success if it is backed by funding.
Like it or not, money does talk. The ability to get on the television, or into other forms of traditional press, can take a “maybe” campaign to the “probable” stage. Fund raising is a crucial part of grassroots lobbying, and always will be.
Communicate with policymakers as much as possible
At times they might feel like the enemy, but it doesn’t always have to be like that. Let’s not forget that it’s the duty of policymakers to listen to their constituents and if they can do this, their own chances of staying in power are immediately enhanced. After all, nothing beats the popularity vote.
Therefore, attempt to engage these policymakers at any opportunity. Making a lot of noise doesn’t necessarily work; you need to specifically target policymakers to explain your goals, educate them on the situation and only then make them listen to the noise of your campaign.