The key to creating societal change today is advocacy. Speaking up on behalf of a group that is directly affected by an issue happens at all levels, but the most important influences often begin at the grassroots level, through community advocacy campaigns.
For advocacy groups, your efforts help spread awareness of your mission and inspire your supporters to take action. Mobilizing as many people as possible for the greatest impact will likely be a challenge for your organization at first, but there are specialized software solutions available that can help with your advocacy efforts.
To choose the right advocacy software for your organization, you’ll need to research solutions that offer a range of features that fit your needs while fitting into your nonprofit’s budget. In this guide, we’ll help you get started in your research by covering these topics:
At Grassroots Unwired, we believe that organizations of all sizes can make a difference by using digital advocacy tools to inspire change at the grassroots level. Our mobile-first, customizable solutions have enabled nonprofits and political organizations to gain supporters and donors through canvassing, events, and other advocacy efforts. In our years of experience, we’ve also gotten to know a range of software providers in the advocacy space. Let’s dive in!
Advocacy allows organizations to raise awareness of issues that affect the communities they serve, especially those that relate to your mission. Effective nonprofit advocacy also involves encouraging supporters and other community members to take action. Advocacy software, therefore, helps your organization to educate and mobilize supporters for civic action and engagement.
Your organization can use an advocacy software solution in conjunction with your other marketing channels, like your website, email, and social media, to draw your supporters’ attention to an issue and distribute educational materials.
Once you’ve spread awareness, you can use specialized advocacy tools to aid your efforts, including:
A mobile-first platform will be especially helpful for many of these activities, since your volunteers can easily carry a smartphone or tablet as they go out into their communities to start conversations about your cause. Supporters will also be able to interact with your campaign at any time and in any location. This versatility allows your nonprofit to expand its reach further and make a greater impact.
Historically, grassroots advocacy work involved volunteers going out with clipboards, writing down names and phone numbers of interested supporters in their communities, and returning to their organization to input data manually. This process would often take hours, and volunteers could easily make mistakes.
But now, with innovative advocacy software, volunteers can go out armed with mobile devices, which effectively eliminate the barriers to building a solid donor or advocacy list. People can enter their information onto the devices, their email addresses will be instantly verified, and their information will be sent to a safe, comprehensive database. The process works much more quickly, and fewer costly mistakes are made.
Advocacy itself has changed over time as well. Face-to-face conversations still have high value when it comes to galvanizing support for a cause. But the rise of digital communication has brought new forms of advocacy to the forefront, such as:
Using specialized software to aid your organization’s advocacy will help you to stay on top of trends in the field and communicate with more supporters through the communication channels they’ll be most receptive to.
Ultimately, the advocacy software you choose will need to fit the unique needs of your organization and be easy for your staff, volunteers, and supporters to use. When researching software solutions for any organization, though, we recommend prioritizing these five features:
Having these features in your software solution will benefit most advocacy campaigns, but your exact needs will vary based on the size, purpose, and goals of your individual nonprofit. So, it’s important to weigh the benefits of several software options to decide which one is right for your organization.
With all the provider and feature options out there, choosing the right online advocacy software platform for your organization can be overwhelming. We know how important it is to find a provider that fits your nonprofit’s needs while also remaining within your budget. Luckily, there are a variety of unique advocacy software solutions out there that offer great features at affordable prices.
Grassroots Unwired offers dynamic advocacy and canvassing tools for nonprofits, progressive political campaigns, and labor unions. This product is built on the philosophy that mobile-first technology can power the greater good.
With innovative in-person and virtual solutions, Grassroots Unwired has all the features your organization needs to create a successful foundation for messaging or fundraising.
The Grassroots and Legislative Advocacy App by Grassroots Unwired brings formerly web-based activities into a mobile environment. The platform enables your organization to:
In addition to all these functions, Grassroots Unwired’s solution continues to work even when offline. If your volunteers go into areas with low internet connectivity, they won’t have to worry about losing valuable data.
Grassroots Unwired is an end-to-end advocacy platform that can help you execute your entire campaign. These tools can handle virtual and mobile canvassing, donation and data tracking, canvasser and turf management, and much more. Grassroots Unwired offers a direct point of contact for any and all support needs and competitive pricing, in addition to a tailored, out-of-the-box solution.
SalsaLabs’ advocacy tool, SalsaEngage, will help your organization educate and mobilize supporters through various communication channels. Its email marketing features will help you spread the word about your advocacy campaigns, and you can create and send out custom registration forms for events.
SalsaEngage’s main purpose, though, is to create online petitions. When you send a petition to your supporters, they’ll be able to support your cause with just one click. SalsaEngage will automatically follow up with your new advocates via email, and their contact information will be immediately sent to the Salsa CRM software if you use the streamlined integration.
Mobilize is an event management and volunteer recruitment platform empowering mission-driven organizations to reach more supporters than ever before. Nonprofits, labor unions, and political campaigns of all sizes have raised awareness, recruited volunteers, and organized events using the Mobilize platform.
Mobilize also has a peer-to-peer component, allowing volunteers to create custom calls to action that they can send to their friends and family. A personal referral from someone close to a potential donor makes your cause appear more credible, inspiring further action in addition to raising awareness.
CharityEngine is a CRM that comes with built-in advocacy software. This all-in-one software makes it easy to streamline data from the field back into your long-term donor management system. This allows you to leverage the information you collect for future outreach.
CharityEngine also provides your organization with advocacy tools for federal, state, and local levels of government, in addition to fundraising features.
MobileAction! gives advocacy organizations and fundraising teams all of the tools they need to engage with supporters on the go. This solution is full-service advocacy software delivered straight to your supporters at any time and in any place.
What makes MoblieAction! stand out is how it’s tailor-made for each organization. DNL OmniMedia will configure an app to your specific needs, so you can easily implement the solution and make adjustments as needed.
With NationBuilder, you can grow your advocacy efforts by developing data-driven outreach and engagement strategies. NationBuilder’s software provides tools to segment and map your supporter list, create supporter cultivation plans, and track data to help you hone your efforts.
RAP Index is built on the understanding that legislators receive hundreds of constituent emails every day. In order to make your cause stand out, you’ll need to take a more personal approach, which they’ll help you to design. Their software can empower your organization to engage officials in a more strategic way using your existing supporter network.
Cision offers government relations software that’s perfectly suited to political advocacy organizations. With their supporter database and integrated marketing and advocacy tools, Cision helps you target the right supporters for your cause and then engage them effectively.
Cision’s grassroots solutions feature outreach tools designed to keep your supporters informed on the most important elements of your mission. They also have helpful data tracking features, especially when it comes to political fundraising
Bloomerang is a nonprofit CRM with built-in advocacy features that can enhance your grassroots campaign. Nonprofits can use Bloomerang to collect and use supporter data to develop strategies that result in action, whether you’re raising money for your cause, organizing an advocacy event, or delivering real-time updates to supporters via email and social media.
For being such a high-powered software, Bloomerang boasts a high level of user-friendliness. If you have multiple team members engaging with your advocacy strategies, you won’t have to worry about in-depth training or confusing documentation.
DonorPerfect’s advocacy software, Votility, equips nonprofits and membership organizations with the tools to mobilize supporters and enact change starting from the grassroots level. Votility allows organizations to run public-facing or private campaigns centered around specific legislative actions, which can be easily shared on social media. They also make it simple to send member responses to policymakers.
Votility is only one aspect of DonorPerfect’s fundraising and constituent engagement solution. All of their advocacy features integrate seamlessly with a scalable donor management system that allows you to connect to your supporters comprehensively.
Soapbox Engage’s advocacy software can help you streamline your campaign from start to finish. With a suite of apps designed to work together seamlessly, their tools can take your advocacy work to the next level. Their advocacy app, in particular, will help you generate custom automatic emails while creating contact lists to organize message blasts.
One appealing feature of Soapbox Engage apps is that they integrate with Salesforce. You can save all of your transactions to Salesforce, allowing you to spend less time on data entry and ensure your donor and advocate profiles are completely up-to-date.
The Action Network was designed for organizers by organizers. They understand all that goes into rallying advocacy for a cause, so they’ll help you do so with their intuitive online toolkit.
With The Action Network’s online advocacy software, you can make all your forms mobile-friendly, allowing you to sign up supporters and collect donations from anywhere. They also have a text-to-take-action feature that supporters can use to sign petitions and register for events in seconds.
With EveryAction’s one-step advocacy tools, you can easily convert supporters into donors and grow your donor base by simplifying the process of sending emails, posting on social media, and promoting click-to-call advocacy.
EveryAction will also draw supporters’ information from your online advocacy forms so you don’t waste time creating yet another email list. Their experts make sure your emails don’t end up in supporters’ spam or junk folders using automatic retry mechanisms, so you can rest assured that your supporters will see your messages.
Ujoin creates branded, mobile-optimized action pages for targeted email, Twitter, and click-to-call actions. It integrates with your organization’s social media accounts and has a legislation tracking dashboard that can be displayed on any website.
Ujoin has a variety of pricing packages, including a free option, set monthly payment plans, and personalized quotes.
Advocacy software allows you to focus on your mission while eliminating points of frustration for staff members like data entry, low fundraising numbers, or disorderly event planning. Choosing the right solution for your organization involves weighing the benefits of several options and finding one that fits your budget. The process can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.
Check out these additional resources for more information on advocacy and technology: