TACTICAL CASE STUDY #10: MANAGE YOUR CONTACTS

DISCLAIMER

The contents of this article are for information and educational purposes only. Patriot Propaganda does not officially recommend using any of the tactics, techniques or procedures presented. 

 

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INTENT

 

UNDERSTAND YOUR CONNECTIONS. This tactic is recommended for understanding your connections and relationships so you can make the most of your networks. 

 

We’re giving you the basics of an effective nonviolent resistance tactic that was successful in the past, and could be adapted, either wholly or in part, to other scenarios. We’re not concerned about the specific motives behind the tactics presented; our aim is to study mechanisms that work, and imagine ways we can use them for our own campaigns. While platforms and technologies may change, the principles remain essentially the same. Study what the adversary does, and do it better.

 

PLAN YOUR CAMPAIGN

  • Building a database of contacts can be challenging. How will you know the relationship people want to have with you? Do they want one-off information about a specific action, or are they happy to receive regular news on more general or ongoing campaign issues?
  • The more accurate the data you have about your contacts, the more powerful the connections with them will be. Evaluate how to keep your database of contacts as current and as complete as possible.
  • Is gathering people’s contact information using email more reliable than using a sign-up form on a website? Can posting a profile for your campaign on social network sites be a way to ask supporters to join you? It is important to plan carefully how you will collect contact information from people and that you tell people why you are collecting it and how you will use it.
  • Customize the information you provide to people as much as possible. Sending out a mass message to all your supporters may cause people to ignore all of your messages and end their relationship with you. You can ask your supporters what format (an email, a text message, a video), type (newsletter, specific types of campaigns, events), and frequency (daily, weekly, monthly) of communication they prefer.
  • In addition to sending information to your contacts, you can also connect people to one another to engage in live events or actions, or to form local or more specific actions or campaigns.

 

 

 

CASE STUDY

 

TITLE: Kleercut

 

WHO: Greenpeace

 

WHERE: North America

 

WEBSITE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleercut

 

DESCRIPTION 

Kleercut was a campaign implemented by Greenpeace to end the use of virgin wood fi bre in KimberlyClark products. CiviCRM was used to collect contact information from people who visited the Kleercut website and to send them email alerts once or twice a month. In these alerts, people were asked to take an action, for example, to return to the Kleercut website to send a targeted email to Kimberly-Clark shareholders, or to attend a direct action near them. Kleercut also connected advocates to one another, allowing them to create regional and city-based email lists that they managed themselves. Richard Brooks who worked on the campaign says, “We couldn’t organise every protest in every town and city, so it was important to give people tools to self-organise. Instead of fi ve campaigners, we had 10,000 people able to do things in the physical world because of tools we made available: a Kleercut action pack, a toolbook, posters, media releases.” CiviCRM was used to track people’s engagement and Kleercut could see that 15-20% of the people it emailed took a follow-up action – “a higher response rate than the general Greenpeace list,” says Richard. In August 2009, the Kleercut campaign ended successfully when Kimberly-Clark agreed to introduce standards for fi bre content in its products. 

 

TOOLS USED:  Drupal for the website and CiviCRM to manage contacts. Richard says: “As more tools became available, like Facebook, YouTube, MySpace and Twitter, we started using those as well.”

 

REACH: Over five years of the campaign, 30,000 people signed up, with most in North America. Website was available in English and French.

 

RESOURCES: Once publishing and contact management tools were launched, there was no additional significant cost to support the technology behind the campaign. “A lot of the web content – stories, blogs, and action items – 80% of that was done by campaigners,” says Richard.

 

TIME: 4 to 5 months to implement and customize website and constituent management systems. Campaign launched November 2004, ended August 2009.

 

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: 3 out of 5

 

COST: Several thousand US dollars for outside contractors to create the website, integrate Drupal and CiviCRM, and design the logo. Web hosting cost USD $50-$60 per month. Plus ongoing staff costs to manage and implement the project.

 

OTHER EXAMPLES

 

ORGANIZE AND MOBILIZE YOUR CONTACTS

Open source software for advocates and programmers

 

CiviCRM is a free and open source software tool that can be used to manage your relationships. It can send and track responses from bulk emails and be used to help plan events and fundraise. Like an address book, CiviCRM organizes constituents’ contact information in a database, but it also tracks interactions with people (emails sent, emails responded to, live events attended) and people’s relationships with each other. CiviCRM stores this data on your own web server, which means you can install security to ensure the information is private and you can access it anywhere with an internet connection.

 

TOOLS USED:  CiviCRM requires a web server running PHP and MySQL, with an option to use Drupal or Joomla or a standalone content management system (CMS).

 

LEARN MORE: https://civicrm.org/ 

 

PROVIDING TARGETED RECONSTRUCTION INFORMATION 

Mercy Corps and FrontlineSMS

 

As part of reconstruction work after the Asian tsunami, Mercy Corps used FrontlineSMS to provide people with highly targeted relief information by mobile phone. FrontlineSMS is a free and open source software tool that allows you to send text messages to customized groups of contacts. In this way, Mercy Corps could send different information to different groups of people; by using their mobile phones, tsunami-affected people had access to upto-date information. 

 

TOOLS USED: FrontlineSMS, mobile phones

 

LEARN MORE: https://www.frontlinesms.com/

 

DO IT YOURSELF

 

QUESTIONS TO ANSWER:

  • What people do you most need to add to your contact database, and how will you reach them? Once recruited, how will you continue to engage them in your campaign?
  • How will you use the media to draw attention to your campaign and to bring more people into it?
  • How can you use people, already recruited to the campaign, to recruit others by forwarding your email alerts, sharing videos, posting images to their blogs and social network site profiles?
  • What is the process by which people can be removed from your database in an easy way?
  • What steps will you take to ensure that your group’s data is secure and kept private? Will you host this data on your own server? How will it be backed up in case of seizure or loss?
  • What kinds of actions that you want people to take are most important to track – events organized, new contacts recruited, petitions signed, emails sent?

 

DIFFERENT WAYS YOU CAN DO THIS

 

1.     In addition to tracking your supporters, organize the contact information for those who have the power to make the change you want to see – even if these people are opposed to your campaign. You will then have this information on hand when you need to send (or get your supporters to send) targeted campaign emails and you can find ways to track their responses.

 

2.     Recruit people to sign up for mobile alerts from your campaign by conducting a poll on your issue that they can respond to with a text message.

 

3.     Create a support-base map, of where your supporters are most concentrated, based on information they provided you with consent.

 

4.     Help supporters to organize their own campaign events by offering to connect them with other people in your campaign near to them. By using contact management tools, you can do this without revealing people’s contact information to others.

 

5.     At a live event related to your campaign, ask people to sign up to receive targeted text message or email alerts that provide live reports or relay information you have already prepared.

 

FEATURED TOOL 

 

KEEP IN CONTACT WITH THE PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT YOU 

CiviCRM  (http://civicrm.org/) is free software for making it easier to track your communications with your constituents, campaigners, and other contacts. In addition to storing your contacts’ names and addresses. The software is also good for formatting contact information into emails, letters, and mailing address labels. It can also be used to track donations made and follow-up communications sent. Works on all operating systems.

 

TIPS FROM PROS

 

RICHARD BROOKS, FROM KLEERCUT AND GREENPEACE, ON CAPACITY

“If organizing people online is an important tool for your campaign, make sure you have the capacity to continue. We expected the campaign to finish earlier than it did, and when we had to shift our focus to include other tactics, we didn’t have the capacity to continue the online organizing as much as we had when we began.”

 

KEN BANKS, FROM FRONTLINESMS, ON TARGETING YOUR MESSAGE

“In terms of building relationships with people it is clearly important that you do not upset them, annoy them or antagonize them by sending information to them that they do not actually want. From the operational side, to make sure that doesn’t happen, it’s important that you group people. Depending on what software or system you are using, you can very easily identify and target specific people depending on what specific message you are planning to send.”

 

MICHAL MACH, OF CIVICRM, ON GETTING SUPPORT WHEN USING OPEN SOURCE TOOLS

“Online communities exist around many tools, especially open source software tools, and these communities play an important role by helping people to customize software to meet their own needs and contexts. So when you do use a particular tool for managing your contacts, my advice would be to share your experiences with others so they can also benefit.”

 

Next Article: WHAT IS 5GW? PART 1: HISTORY

 

This article was adapted from 10 Tactics. https://www.informationactivism.org 

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