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Helping Canada’s largest labour organization engage with Canadian workers online

The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) is the peak labour organization in Canada, bringing together unions, federations of labour and community-based labour councils, representing more than 3 million workers across the country. Seeking ways to increase the reach and impact of their digital work, the CLC engaged Point Blank Creative to develop a new digital organizing strategy to grow their email list and engage more working people than ever before.

Helping Canada’s largest labour organization engage with Canadian workers online

Point Blank Creative’s Major Deliverables

  • Full digital organizing and communications strategy.
  • A new organizational website focused on driving people to take action.
  • An integrated national organizing infrastructure through networked nations.
  • Grow the CLC’s email list through issues campaigns and acquisition advertising.
  • Staff training on effective digital communications.

Full digital organizing and communications strategy.
The CLC’s central goal was to build meaningful connections with working Canadians in every part of the country. Building on the CLC’s existing campaigns work, we revamped the channels they used to reach people, improved internal content production and evaluation processes, built up a list of supporter contacts, and implemented a strong ladder of engagement. Through extensive stakeholder interviews, communication audits and web audits, Point Blank developed a comprehensive digital organizing strategy to help the CLC achieve their goals.

A new organizational website focused on driving people to take action.
We redeveloped the central CLC website to better support the goals articulated in the organizing strategy, incorporating content for each step of the matrix of engagement, and ensuring the design was optimized for campaign actions, content sharing, and data collection. The site used an innovative approach, where NationBuilder – as the main organizing hub – was integrated with a WordPress site, which gave the CLC the required functionality for their CMS, while using NationBuilder’s best-in-class organizing infrastructure.

Point Blank’s redesign of the CLC website began with reorganizing their content with Canadian workers top of mind. The layout of the website allows visitors to find common cause with the CLC, view up to date content through the lens of key issues such as gender equality or social justice & democracy, and immediately take action on a related petition or campaign. Flexible campaign templates – including integrated petition and event tools from NationBuilder – maintain consistent navigation elements across the entire website, while allowing customized colour palettes and graphics to convey a unique look and feel for each campaign.  

In addition to Canadian workers, the site provides multiple tools and points of entry tailored to the needs of each audience.

  • The CLC’s most dedicated audience of affiliates and activists can easily amplify the CLC’s campaigns, events and content, as well as find the support and resources they need such as labour education classes and workshops. 
  • Using extended WordPress functionality, researchers and key stakeholders can search and filter complex files and documents from across the site to quickly find what they need, and a dedicated media section was built for the latest media releases, advisories, op-eds, and submissions from the CLC. 

An integrated national organizing infrastructure through networked nations.
In addition to building a new central website for the CLC, we developed and implemented a plan to empower local labour organizations (labour councils and provincial federations) to use the power of NationBuilder and build their own digital organizing infrastructure—engaging more local workers across Canada. As of Feb 2021, 63 labour councils and federations of labour from 9 provinces have signed up to use the NationBuilder platform.

Through this project we built a website template and the infrastructure for an integrated NationBuilder database. The goal is for labour councils and federations of labour to transform the way that the Canadian labour movement organizes communities, engages online audiences, and influences public opinion. Ongoing support and planning, one-on-one and group training sessions, and the creation of digital training materials has allowed these labour councils and federations to begin leveraging the NationBuilder suite of digital tools to put digital organizing at the centre of their work.

Grow the CLC’s email list through issues campaigns and acquisition advertising.
Over two years, we’ve helped grow the CLC’s email list by 14,680%, through list building actions and ads. We’ve reached Canadians on issues that they care about, asking them to take action. Some of these issues campaigns included retirement security, pay equity, climate change, pharmacare, minimum wage, and reconciliation, among others.

One example was the Pharmacare: A Plan for Everyone campaign. We built a complete supporter experience around engaging ad content, signing the online petition, and joining the campaign email list. This list of pharmacare supporters served as the base for the CLC to organize around its national pharmacare tour, to pressure MPs to support the campaign vision, and to connect Canada’s labour movement to everyday working people. After huge public engagement in the pharmacare campaign, the 2019 Federal election saw the Federal NDP, Liberal Party and the Green Party commit to the implementation of universal pharmacare if elected.

Staff training on effective digital communications.
Great online content can be the start of a long-term relationship with a supporter or part of nurturing an existing relationship. Content directly drives action, which is why writing for web, social, and email is unlike writing for earned media or print. We identified that specific training is needed to learn how to craft strategic, shareable content for each of the CLC’s digital channels. In partnership with CLC staff, we created a training program for effective digital communication which consisted of 2 x 4 hour sessions with the CLC’s full content team and regular one-on-one coaching sessions to reinforce what had been learned. 

Overall Impacts

  • The strategic planning process led to a new focus on speaking to all Canadian workers, and engaging them in winnable CLC campaigns on the issues they care about. 
  • A new organizational website utilizing the organizing power of NationBuilder allows the CLC to quickly create responsive actions and comprehensive campaigns to enact meaningful change for Canadian workers on issues that matter.
  • As of Feb 2021, over 60 labour councils and federations from 9 provinces have fully onboarded or are in the process of onboarding to the networked nations project, with a custom website and the organizing tools of NationBuilder.
  • Over a two year period, the Pharmacare: A Plan for Everyone campaign resulted in 105,000 petition signatures, nearly 30,000 emails to an MP or a member of the Advisory Council on the implementation of national pharmacare, and over 6,000 registrations to attend one of the public pharmacare consultations. This played a major role during the 2019 Federal election, where the Federal NDP, Liberal Party and the Green Party committed to the implementation of universal pharmacare if elected.
  • Grew the CLC’s email list by 14,680%  through acquisition advertising and issues campaigns such as retirement security, pay equity, climate change, pharmacare, minimum wage, and reconciliation, among others.
  • Trained and supported the CLC communication staff on effective digital communications.
  • A revamped email engagement process and template meant that supporters continued to be connected to the campaign after taking initial action.
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