Skip to main content

Success Strategies To Create a Pre-Election Advocacy Campaign

The step-by-step guide you need to mobilise support, engage your audience, and drive measurable results in your pre-election advocacy campaign with the ActionButton and NationBuilder Integration.

Success Strategies To Create a Pre-Election Advocacy Campaign
  1. Decide your targets
  2. Set up your ActionButton
  3. Setting up your post action email series
  4. Setting up other NationBuilder integrations
  5. Identify and Engage Your Audience
  6. Track your results and follow up

As we move closer to key elections all around the globe, many organisations will be thinking about how they can be engaging with political parties, candidates, organisations and institutions. In order to shape the political narrative, obtain manifesto or candidate commitments, understand where people stand and bring in new supporters whilst keeping existing supporters engaged. In this Guide, we’ll look at how ActionButton can be used in conjunction with NationBuilder to achieve just that. 

Firstly a quick recap of the tools we’re going to be talking about here: 

  • NationBuilder: Providing the infrastructure to build a community and nurture relationships at scale, including people database, communications suite, action website, fundraising features and much more. 
  • ActionButton: Flexible buttons/widgets to acquire, engage and mobilise supporters. Fully integrated with NationBuilder and flexible to deploy & embedded across platforms.

The guide below details the step by step process on how you can use both these tools together to build a robust advocacy campaign that will help you to set up your advocacy infrastructure in a robust and streamlined way that will integrate with your supporter database, move your audience to take action with engaging content and automated follow up, whilst optimising your campaign performance and driving measurable results. 

1. Decide your target audience

First off, you’ll want to work out who you are targeting your advocacy actions towards. This will vary depending on your overall goals, are you trying to collect data on all candidates' positions? Are you trying to encourage a party to make a manifesto pledge? Or are you trying to encourage a 3rd party organisation to make a commitment to put pressure on parties?

Depending on your targets you will then want to gather relevant email addresses. You will be able to obtain much of this online but there are helpful resources that can help you to find this in one place. For example if you're based in the UK, then the UK Democracy Club, is collating and  updating data on prospective parliamentary candidates that  can be accessed, filtered and downloaded here. This data will be regularly updated as more candidates are selected.

2. Set up your ActionButton

The next step will be setting up your ActionButton, for this example we are assuming a ‘Custom Email Target’ button, but to get an understanding of all ActionButtons click here. 

NOTE: you can also use a ‘Contact Your Lawmakers’ button if you want to contact existing lawmakers (i.e. MPs/MSPs/MSs/MLAs). In this instance, you won’t need to find the target email addresses as mentioned on step 1 as they are preloaded in the button infrastructure and work off a postcode lookup. 

Setting up a custom target button takes just a few minutes as you add in your contacts, key information and an example email to be sent out. If you’re struggling for inspiration on the email copy then Chat-GPT can be a helpful ally.

Once you’re set up you will have a button ready to go that will look like this:

You may also want to create a number of buttons; for example an individual button for each constituency, region or district. You can then use your NationBuilder infrastructure to target who you send these to in a number of ways: 

  • Filtering based on region/constituency (using NationBuilders in built autodistricting feature) and emailing out the buttons accordingly.
  • Using liquid logic on web pages or in email blasts to display/link the relevant button to the relevant supporter, depending on their geography. This helps you to have one landing page / email for all supporters but dynamically display their relevant button with their own local candidate data built into it based on the address data that they’ve shared with you. For more information on how to configure this contact [email protected] 

3. Setting up your post-action email series

Your button is looking good. But before you send it out to your audience we’d recommend spending some time to set up some more infrastructure so you can ensure you’ve got a robust process to encourage organic sharing and crucially collect data and responses from your supporters. 

First up, we’d encourage you to set up a data collection button or a NationBuilder action page so you can follow up with supporters a few days/weeks after they’ve taken action to find out if they’ve heard back and collect information. 

There are a few ways you can do this, you can use an ActionButton ‘Opinion’ button to collect the information as in the below example:

Or alternatively you can use NationBuilder pages that enable you to collect this, which allows you to add extra fields for more data collection for example a signup page or a repurposed vote pledge page (such as in the example below).

When you have this set up, you’re ready to go ahead and create your email automation that will automatically follow up with a delayed email to anyone taking action via the button above. You will want to make sure you create a ‘multi source automation’

In the example below you can see that there is an initial email that is sent out immediately, asking supporters to share with others; and then a follow up asking them if they’ve heard back.

When that’s set up and set to ‘run’, you can go back to your ActionButton dashboard, navigate to your integration settings to ensure that the button is set to add all action takers to the automation (as per the image below).

4. Setting up other NationBuilder integrations

In addition to the automation you’ve set up, you may also want to consider other ways to ensure data submitted via your ActionButton, is helpfully recorded in your NationBuilder. Here are all the integrations available:

  • Point Person: Assign a specific point person to follow up with action takers
  • Tags: Create an identifiable tag so you can easily filter for all people who have taken action with this button. 
  • Path: Track your supporters along their ladder of engagement via paths. For example seeing who has written to their candidate and who has registered receiving a response etc. You can also configure other ActionButtons or NationBuilder pages to automatically assign to different supporters, enabling you to have an automated advocacy tracking path (such as in the example below).

  • Social Capital: Social Capital is NationBuilder’s built in ‘virtual currency’ meaning you can allocate ‘points’ based on different actions being taken. Ensure you’re allocating social capital for your advocates so you can follow up with them to thank them, or utilise leaderboards or recognition schemes to gamify your supporters. If you want to configure how many points are given for an ActionButton contract, update the ‘contacted’ value for Social Capital in your NationBuilder settings. Dive deeper into gamification features in this how-to.

5. Identify and engage your audience

Your infrastructure is ready to go. You’ll now want to get it out in the world. As well as embedding your buttons on a website (which can be a NationBuilder website or otherwise) and sharing out on social media channels, you will also want to make sure you’re targeting your existing supporters. 

This is where NationBuilder filters can come in, enabling you to filter on hundreds of different data points, related to data they’ve shared with you, engagement data on how they’ve interacted with your ActionButtons, Website or Emails in the past or geographic data like constituency/district data that use auto-districing to work out a supporters district, constituency, region or ward and allowing you to filter at that level. Below are some examples of filter criteria you could use to identify and target your audience. 

And when you’ve selected your audience, you can save it, spin up a quick email in the drag and drop email editor encouraging supporters to take action (like the example below) and away you go.

6. Track your results and follow up

Your button is out in the world, you have actions being taken by supporters, prompts to supporters asking them to share buttons as well as data and feedback flowing into your nation. 

Now you need to make sure you’re keeping an eye on the data as it comes in, reacting to the data you’re collecting and crucially ensuring you’re listening to your supporters, thanking them for the actions they are taking and keeping them updated on how their actions are contributing to your goals. 

NationBuilder features mentioned above including filters, paths, social capital and tags will all enable you to do this. And if you want more in depth reporting and data visualisation, then get in touch to find our more about NationBuilder insights

Hungry for more content? Check out a recorded webinar on 'Engaging with your community ahead of General Election 2024' below. This is aimed at a UK audience but the best-practices featured are relevant to all.

Share this story

Try NationBuilder for free