By Stephen Drachler

It’s about more than blasting: you’ve got to be strategic.

Done right, email can be a powerful tool for connecting your grassroots base to political decision-makers. It can convince decision-makers to support your cause and make our world a better place.

Done not-so-right, it’s a waste of vital energy and the money you have invested in the digital tools connecting those grassroots supporters to those decision-makers.

Nearly every day I get action alerts from the various groups I support. They ask me to contact a legislator asking them to vote a certain way, or to contact a governor, or a mayor, or even the president, seeking support for one cause or another. When I respond, I often wonder if our email makes any difference, and I wonder how many other folks responded with emails.

Joel Blackwell is known as the Grassroots Guy. His website is filled with counsel for organizers of grassroots advocacy and grassroots advocates.

Joel says it’s easy to send out an email blast, urging your supporters to take action. In most cases, that’s about all that happens. The sponsoring group sees the analytics and discovers that out of hundreds of emails sent requesting action, only a few show a response

He points out the issue isn’t quantity, but quality. That requires a strategic approach from the beginning:

  • Identifying your grassroots contacts who have a relationship with the target of the email campaign.
  • Instead of doing a massive email blast, have only those persons with real relationships contact the target.
  • Provide your grassroots advocate with training and the information needed to make a truly personal appeal to the target of the email.
  • Follow up with each of the grassroots contacts to see what they accomplished.

As he says in his blog post, Now… why did you send out that action alert?, “What’s the point of bees with no sting?”

He’s right. It sounds nice to say you’ve sent 1,000 emails to your grassroots supporters urging them to take action – but we want to do more than sound nice.

Be strategic. You’ll see the difference.