Electronic outreach wins support for causes, campaigns

Want to get people organized to promote a cause or a political candidate? Campaigns and public affairs groups are increasingly using data mining and social networks to conduct electronic outreach - which is seeing rising sophistication and falling costs - to prospective supporters.

Want to get people organized to promote a cause or a political candidate? Campaigns and public affairs groups are increasingly using data mining and social networks to conduct electronic outreach – which is seeing rising sophistication and falling costs – to prospective supporters.

Compared to the 2006 midterm elections, political campaigns are more easily able to find and make appeals to likely supporters in increasingly personal and successful ways, says Laura Gross, president of Scott Circle Communications. Gross volunteers for Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) presidential campaign, in addition to representing various clients.

She notes that political campaigns are more often segmenting outreach to individual neighborhoods and demographics with specially tailored messages.

“It's evolved this campaign season to where it's not just ‘Joe Biden' sending out an e-mail; it's my neighbor three blocks away whom I've never met,” Gross adds. “They can say, ‘We know you're a woman who's concerned about certain issues,' even though they don't know exactly who I am. The micro-targeting gets more and more powerful because you feel people are talking just to you.”

Campaigns generally have access to cutting edge communications tools, but grassroots organizers are catching up, taking advantage of similar technologies to organize supporters for their causes, says Jon Melzer, director of online campaigns for OnPoint Advocacy.

“The use of e-mails and online social networking to bring people together physically to promote a candidate or cause represents the melding of the very latest in electronic communications with tried-and-true grassroots outreach,” he says.

Key points:
  • Physical gatherings are the cornerstone of effective grassroots organizing
  • Lower costs and greater sophistication of data-mining software allow increasingly personalized outreach to the public
  • Corporations and advocacy groups often follow the lead of political campaigns in adopting the technology

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.