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5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Launching a Digital Advocacy Campaign



Digital advocacy efforts are vital for enabling nonprofit organizations to cut through the noise and win campaigns.

Without digital advocacy, it can be difficult to measure the success of your campaigns — or even know if you’re winning, at all. In fact, 94% of advocacy campaigners believe the opposing side is winning, and 86% believe they should embrace more impactful tactics.

It is time we step up our digital advocacy efforts.

Whether you’re a seasoned campaigner looking to go back to basics or are completely new to digital organizing and don’t know where to start — you’re in the right place.

Here, let’s explore five questions you’ll want to ask when starting a digital advocacy campaign.

5 Questions to Ask for a Successful Digital Advocacy Campaign

1. What is your goal?

Before starting any digital campaign, it’s important to understand what you’re trying to achieve. 

Think about what you want to accomplish. Do you want to turn the tides on a policy decision currently on the table? Do you want to help de-stigmatize an issue in your community? Do you want to mobilize your supporters to publicly support your issue ahead of an upcoming election?

Marshall Ganz is a scholar at Harvard and activist who has studied powerful movements and what led to their success. Through his research he found a framework for setting goals.

Ganz determined that effective campaign goals should:

  • Be measurable and tangible to improve the lives of your supporters. You should be able to clearly measure the incremental progress towards the goal.
  • Focus resources strategically to achieve your goal. Consider what you have in your back pocket– can you put your organization’s skills and strengths to use to achieve a single outcome?
  • Build capacity for your organization internally. For example, when working towards this goal will you recruit and engage volunteers? Will you gain valuable experience or resources, exposure and clout that will help you with your next goal?
  • Use points of leverage where you can use your communities strengths and/or capitalize off of your opposition’s weakness
  • Focus on a single motivational issue that has a direct impact on your supporters’ lives.

2. What is your theory of change?

It is incredibly important to show your supporters that their actions can have an enormous impact.  

In our research report on Full Spectrum Engagement, we found that it’s essential to show how change is possible. Providing a blueprint for that path — and showing how you get from A to B — will help supporters understand the steps it takes to win, and they’ll directly see their role in that change. 

Google’s research into civic engagement attitudes shows that those who do not take action are held back in part because they didn’t believe their actions would have an impact. When people see how their small action plays into a larger strategic plan, they will be more likely to join.

Here is how the #StopAdani illustrated their theory of change:

#stopadani campaignThe giant #StopAdani campaign used this graphic to illustrate the theory of  change of their campaign to stop a new coal mine in Australia.

3. Who are your targets?

Now that you have a goal, ask yourself, who are the key decision-makers in charge of making your goal become a reality? Who do you need on your side to make it happen? A good exercise for narrowing in on decision-makers is called power mapping.

To conduct power mapping, follow these steps:

  • Brainstorm: List all of the people involved in your campaign, including stakeholders, influencers, decision-makers, and constituents who are directly affected by the issue.
  • Power Map: Next, place them on a grid and map them based on how much power they have over your issue, and how sympathetic they are to your cause.
  • Pick a Target: Once everything is on the grid, you can see who might be the best person to target in your campaign. Remember — it doesn’t have to be the most powerful person. Depending on how long you have, you may go for a more sympathetic person first, or even do an assessment of the most powerful person’s network. You need to analyze the pathways and relationships that can get you access to these decision-makers, and how to put pressure on them through a larger network.

Here is an example of a power mapping brainstorm. The goal is in the pink sticky note, and all of the actors related to the goal are in yellow sticky notes and have been mapped:

power mappingA Screenshot of a power mapping board. The campaign goal is to eliminate proof of immigration status when enrolling in school so they process aligns with the statewide sanctuary policy. The vertical axis maps the level of influence/power each actor has over the decision related to the campaign. The horizontal axis maps the level of support each actor has for your campaign. Template inspired by Anita Tang’s work at The Commons 

To get more in depth instructions on power mapping please check out our Advocacy Targeting with Intention Manual to give you step-by-step instructions and great prompting questions for your brainstorming.

4. How will you reach your goal?

You have determined your goal and your theory of change … but how will you put this plan into action?

New/Mode provides a platform for supporters to reach decision-makers and for their voices to be heard. We offer multiple avenues and channels to reach decision-makers.

Reaching a CEO or a bank? Perhaps they would be more receptive to the public and a hashtag on Twitter calling them out.

Need to reach a local representative? They have staff dedicated to opening, reading, and responding to their constituents. New/Mode has built-in datasets that automatically match supporters with their elected officials so none of the manual work falls on your shoulders.

Check out the types of digital advocacy tools you can use to achieve your goals:

1657890449 29 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Launching a Digital Advocacy

Tweet Storm

Use Tweets to build a powerful public narrative, grow support, and make your campaign go viral.

Learn how the Regional Transportation Authority used the tweet storm to win funding for transit.

1657890449 961 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Launching a Digital Advocacy

Letters to the Editor

Make the headlines! Encourage supporters to write letters to local publications and provide a platform for your collective story… decision-makers will be sure to notice!

Learn how organizations such as the Warren Democrats, Stand Up America, and New Hampshire Democratic Party have used this great tool.

1657890449 988 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Launching a Digital Advocacy

Targeted Emails

Input multiple email subject lines and messages into the system to increase deliverability and open rates. Create conditional messages that are dependent on the decision-maker’s current vote or position. Give your supporters an appropriate script for the given situation.

Learn how Defund the Police campaigns all over North

America used email actions to give their supporters a strong voice.1657890449 637 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Launching a Digital Advocacy

Personalized Calls

Call your local, state/provincial, and federal officials, and candidates and tell them what matters most.

Learn how BattleForTheNet used the call tool to advocate for open internet for all.1657890449 646 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Launching a Digital Advocacy


Give your supporters something to believe in! Provide an easy way for them to take action and get in touch with local decision-makers.

Learn how Safe Passage used a combination of the petition, tweet and letter to the editor tool to reunite families.

5. What is your follow-up plan?

Campaigning is a long and dedicated effort. In your digital advocacy campaign you are developing and furthering a relationship with both your supporters and decision-makers. You must have a plan for both of these relationships.

How to Nurture your Relationships with Supporters

You will have a list of supporters who take part in your advocacy campaign and you will have an opportunity to deepen your relationship with them.

Using New/Mode in tandem with a customer relationship management software is really effective to keep track of and nurture relationships. Once an action-taker uses New/Mode, their contact information will sync to HubSpot. In HubSpot you can see who has taken an action, and how many actions they’ve taken.

With this information you can start to follow-up with those people every couple of months and ask them to participate in an action they’re ready to take. For example, if someone starts with a low-barrier action such as a petition, you could ask them to do another simple action like sending an email to a representative or ask them to escalate their action and ask them to Tweet at their representative.

A helpful way to visualize this is a pyramid of engagement/ladder of engagement which is used by campaigners and organizers to define a series of tasks for supporters, usually escalating in difficulty or commitment required.

Different advocacy tools might be better depending on which level a supporter is at, as shown in this picture:

pyramid of engagementFor more tips on how to engage your supporter base, check out this Campaign Engagement Checklist, developed from decades of experience leading advocacy campaigns across the globe.

How to Nurture your Relationship with Decision-Makers

Once your supporters contact their decision-makers you need to be ready to follow-up with them, make your ask again, and/or hold them accountable. You should ask supporters to notify you of the response they get so you can keep track of how receptive the decision-maker is.

Depending on how responsive the decision-maker is you may want to ask them for a meeting and invite supporters along so you can make your asks and demands face-to-face. If they’re not responsive, perhaps it’s time to try another communications channel if they are not receptive to the first request.

If they are not responding to emails, would they be more attentive if they saw their name in thousands of tweets or in the newspaper? If you do receive a commitment from a decision-maker, make note of this and come up with a plan to check in and hold them accountable.

Time to Get Started

You are officially set up for success because you now have a goal in mind, a plan to get there, targets to reach, a way to reach them and a plan to follow up on your efforts.

Good luck, and happy campaigning.

At New/Mode we are providing technology to help leading social good organizations cut through the noise and win campaigns. We provide digital advocacy software that is designed to turn engaged supporters into advocates that achieve tangible wins for our communities.

We support hundreds of cause-based organizations and so far have facilitated over 17,000 campaigns and 60 million civic messages to decision-makers with our software– we know what works and want to share the top five questions you should ask before launching your campaign to ensure you have a successful one.

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The Complete Guide to Becoming an Authentic Thought Leader



The Complete Guide to Becoming an Authentic Thought Leader

Introduce your processes: If you’ve streamlined a particular process, share it. It could be the solution someone else is looking for.

Jump on trends and news: If there’s a hot topic or emerging trend, offer your unique perspective.

Share industry insights: Attended a webinar or podcast that offered valuable insights. Summarize the key takeaways and how they can be applied.

Share your successes: Write about strategies that have worked exceptionally well for you. Your audience will appreciate the proven advice. For example, I shared the process I used to help a former client rank for a keyword with over 2.2 million monthly searches.

Question outdated strategies: If you see a strategy that’s losing steam, suggest alternatives based on your experience and data.

5. Establish communication channels (How)

Once you know who your audience is and what they want to hear, the next step is figuring out how to reach them. Here’s how:

Choose the right platforms: You don’t need to have a presence on every social media platform. Pick two platforms where your audience hangs out and create content for that platform. For example, I’m active on LinkedIn and X because my target audience (SEOs, B2B SaaS, and marketers) is active on these platforms.

Repurpose content: Don’t limit yourself to just one type of content. Consider repurposing your content on Quora, Reddit, or even in webinars and podcasts. This increases your reach and reinforces your message.

Follow Your audience: Go where your audience goes. If they’re active on X, that’s where you should be posting. If they frequent industry webinars, consider becoming a guest on these webinars.

Daily vs. In-depth content: Balance is key. Use social media for daily tips and insights, and reserve your blog for more comprehensive guides and articles.

Network with influencers: Your audience is likely following other experts in the field. Engaging with these influencers puts your content in front of a like-minded audience. I try to spend 30 minutes to an hour daily engaging with content on X and LinkedIn. This is the best way to build a relationship so you’re not a complete stranger when you DM privately.

6. Think of thought leadership as part of your content marketing efforts

As with other content efforts, thought leadership doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It thrives when woven into a cohesive content marketing strategy. By aligning individual authority with your brand, you amplify the credibility of both.

Think of it as top-of-the-funnel content to:

  • Build awareness about your brand

  • Highlight the problems you solve

  • Demonstrate expertise by platforming experts within the company who deliver solutions

Consider the user journey. An individual enters at the top through a social media post, podcast, or blog post. Intrigued, they want to learn more about you and either search your name on Google or social media. If they like what they see, they might visit your website, and if the information fits their needs, they move from passive readers to active prospects in your sales pipeline.

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How to Increase Survey Completion Rate With 5 Top Tips



How to Increase Survey Completion Rate With 5 Top Tips

Collecting high-quality data is crucial to making strategic observations about your customers. Researchers have to consider the best ways to design their surveys and then how to increase survey completion, because it makes the data more reliable.

→ Free Download: 5 Customer Survey Templates [Access Now]

I’m going to explain how survey completion plays into the reliability of data. Then, we’ll get into how to calculate your survey completion rate versus the number of questions you ask. Finally, I’ll offer some tips to help you increase survey completion rates.

My goal is to make your data-driven decisions more accurate and effective. And just for fun, I’ll use cats in the examples because mine won’t stop walking across my keyboard.

Why Measure Survey Completion

Let’s set the scene: We’re inside a laboratory with a group of cat researchers. They’re wearing little white coats and goggles — and they desperately want to know what other cats think of various fish.

They’ve written up a 10-question survey and invited 100 cats from all socioeconomic rungs — rough and hungry alley cats all the way up to the ones that thrice daily enjoy their Fancy Feast from a crystal dish.

Now, survey completion rates are measured with two metrics: response rate and completion rate. Combining those metrics determines what percentage, out of all 100 cats, finished the entire survey. If all 100 give their full report on how delicious fish is, you’d achieve 100% survey completion and know that your information is as accurate as possible.

But the truth is, nobody achieves 100% survey completion, not even golden retrievers.

With this in mind, here’s how it plays out:

  • Let’s say 10 cats never show up for the survey because they were sleeping.
  • Of the 90 cats that started the survey, only 25 got through a few questions. Then, they wandered off to knock over drinks.
  • Thus, 90 cats gave some level of response, and 65 completed the survey (90 – 25 = 65).
  • Unfortunately, those 25 cats who only partially completed the survey had important opinions — they like salmon way more than any other fish.

The cat researchers achieved 72% survey completion (65 divided by 90), but their survey will not reflect the 25% of cats — a full quarter! — that vastly prefer salmon. (The other 65 cats had no statistically significant preference, by the way. They just wanted to eat whatever fish they saw.)

Now, the Kitty Committee reviews the research and decides, well, if they like any old fish they see, then offer the least expensive ones so they get the highest profit margin.

CatCorp, their competitors, ran the same survey; however, they offered all 100 participants their own glass of water to knock over — with a fish inside, even!

Only 10 of their 100 cats started, but did not finish the survey. And the same 10 lazy cats from the other survey didn’t show up to this one, either.

So, there were 90 respondents and 80 completed surveys. CatCorp achieved an 88% completion rate (80 divided by 90), which recorded that most cats don’t care, but some really want salmon. CatCorp made salmon available and enjoyed higher profits than the Kitty Committee.

So you see, the higher your survey completion rates, the more reliable your data is. From there, you can make solid, data-driven decisions that are more accurate and effective. That’s the goal.

We measure the completion rates to be able to say, “Here’s how sure we can feel that this information is accurate.”

And if there’s a Maine Coon tycoon looking to invest, will they be more likely to do business with a cat food company whose decision-making metrics are 72% accurate or 88%? I suppose it could depend on who’s serving salmon.

While math was not my strongest subject in school, I had the great opportunity to take several college-level research and statistics classes, and the software we used did the math for us. That’s why I used 100 cats — to keep the math easy so we could focus on the importance of building reliable data.

Now, we’re going to talk equations and use more realistic numbers. Here’s the formula:

Completion rate equals the # of completed surveys divided by the # of survey respondents.

So, we need to take the number of completed surveys and divide that by the number of people who responded to at least one of your survey questions. Even just one question answered qualifies them as a respondent (versus nonrespondent, i.e., the 10 lazy cats who never show up).

Now, you’re running an email survey for, let’s say, Patton Avenue Pet Company. We’ll guess that the email list has 5,000 unique addresses to contact. You send out your survey to all of them.

Your analytics data reports that 3,000 people responded to one or more of your survey questions. Then, 1,200 of those respondents actually completed the entire survey.

3,000/5000 = 0.6 = 60% — that’s your pool of survey respondents who answered at least one question. That sounds pretty good! But some of them didn’t finish the survey. You need to know the percentage of people who completed the entire survey. So here we go:

Completion rate equals the # of completed surveys divided by the # of survey respondents.

Completion rate = (1,200/3,000) = 0.40 = 40%

Voila, 40% of your respondents did the entire survey.

Response Rate vs. Completion Rate

Okay, so we know why the completion rate matters and how we find the right number. But did you also hear the term response rate? They are completely different figures based on separate equations, and I’ll show them side by side to highlight the differences.

  • Completion Rate = # of Completed Surveys divided by # of Respondents
  • Response Rate = # of Respondents divided by Total # of surveys sent out

Here are examples using the same numbers from above:

Completion Rate = (1200/3,000) = 0.40 = 40%

Response Rate = (3,000/5000) = 0.60 = 60%

So, they are different figures that describe different things:

  • Completion rate: The percentage of your respondents that completed the entire survey. As a result, it indicates how sure we are that the information we have is accurate.
  • Response rate: The percentage of people who responded in any way to our survey questions.

The follow-up question is: How can we make this number as high as possible in order to be closer to a truer and more complete data set from the population we surveyed?

There’s more to learn about response rates and how to bump them up as high as you can, but we’re going to keep trucking with completion rates!

What’s a good survey completion rate?

That is a heavily loaded question. People in our industry have to say, “It depends,” far more than anybody wants to hear it, but it depends. Sorry about that.

There are lots of factors at play, such as what kind of survey you’re doing, what industry you’re doing it in, if it’s an internal or external survey, the population or sample size, the confidence level you’d like to hit, the margin of error you’re willing to accept, etc.

But you can’t really get a high completion rate unless you increase response rates first.

So instead of focusing on what’s a good completion rate, I think it’s more important to understand what makes a good response rate. Aim high enough, and survey completions should follow.

I checked in with the Qualtrics community and found this discussion about survey response rates:

“Just wondering what are the average response rates we see for online B2B CX surveys? […]

Current response rates: 6%–8%… We are looking at boosting the response rates but would first like to understand what is the average.”

The best answer came from a government service provider that works with businesses. The poster notes that their service is free to use, so they get very high response rates.

“I would say around 30–40% response rates to transactional surveys,” they write. “Our annual pulse survey usually sits closer to 12%. I think the type of survey and how long it has been since you rendered services is a huge factor.”

Since this conversation, “Delighted” (the Qualtrics blog) reported some fresher data:

survey completion rate vs number of questions new data, qualtrics data

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The takeaway here is that response rates vary widely depending on the channel you use to reach respondents. On the upper end, the Qualtrics blog reports that customers had 85% response rates for employee email NPS surveys and 33% for email NPS surveys.

A good response rate, the blog writes, “ranges between 5% and 30%. An excellent response rate is 50% or higher.”

This echoes reports from Customer Thermometer, which marks a response rate of 50% or higher as excellent. Response rates between 5%-30% are much more typical, the report notes. High response rates are driven by a strong motivation to complete the survey or a personal relationship between the brand and the customer.

If your business does little person-to-person contact, you’re out of luck. Customer Thermometer says you should expect responses on the lower end of the scale. The same goes for surveys distributed from unknown senders, which typically yield the lowest level of responses.

According to SurveyMonkey, surveys where the sender has no prior relationship have response rates of 20% to 30% on the high end.

Whatever numbers you do get, keep making those efforts to bring response rates up. That way, you have a better chance of increasing your survey completion rate. How, you ask?

Tips to Increase Survey Completion

If you want to boost survey completions among your customers, try the following tips.

1. Keep your survey brief.

We shouldn’t cram lots of questions into one survey, even if it’s tempting. Sure, it’d be nice to have more data points, but random people will probably not hunker down for 100 questions when we catch them during their half-hour lunch break.

Keep it short. Pare it down in any way you can.

Survey completion rate versus number of questions is a correlative relationship — the more questions you ask, the fewer people will answer them all. If you have the budget to pay the respondents, it’s a different story — to a degree.

“If you’re paying for survey responses, you’re more likely to get completions of a decently-sized survey. You’ll just want to avoid survey lengths that might tire, confuse, or frustrate the user. You’ll want to aim for quality over quantity,” says Pamela Bump, Head of Content Growth at HubSpot.

2. Give your customers an incentive.

For instance, if they’re cats, you could give them a glass of water with a fish inside.

Offer incentives that make sense for your target audience. If they feel like they are being rewarded for giving their time, they will have more motivation to complete the survey.

This can even accomplish two things at once — if you offer promo codes, discounts on products, or free shipping, it encourages them to shop with you again.

3. Keep it smooth and easy.

Keep your survey easy to read. Simplifying your questions has at least two benefits: People will understand the question better and give you the information you need, and people won’t get confused or frustrated and just leave the survey.

4. Know your customers and how to meet them where they are.

Here’s an anecdote about understanding your customers and learning how best to meet them where they are.

Early on in her role, Pamela Bump, HubSpot’s Head of Content Growth, conducted a survey of HubSpot Blog readers to learn more about their expertise levels, interests, challenges, and opportunities. Once published, she shared the survey with the blog’s email subscribers and a top reader list she had developed, aiming to receive 150+ responses.

“When the 20-question survey was getting a low response rate, I realized that blog readers were on the blog to read — not to give feedback. I removed questions that wouldn’t serve actionable insights. When I reshared a shorter, 10-question survey, it passed 200 responses in one week,” Bump shares.

Tip 5. Gamify your survey.

Make it fun! Brands have started turning surveys into eye candy with entertaining interfaces so they’re enjoyable to interact with.

Your respondents could unlock micro incentives as they answer more questions. You can word your questions in a fun and exciting way so it feels more like a BuzzFeed quiz. Someone saw the opportunity to make surveys into entertainment, and your imagination — well, and your budget — is the limit!

Your Turn to Boost Survey Completion Rates

Now, it’s time to start surveying. Remember to keep your user at the heart of the experience. Value your respondents’ time, and they’re more likely to give you compelling information. Creating short, fun-to-take surveys can also boost your completion rates.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2010 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Take back your ROI by owning your data



Treasure Data 800x450

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Other brands can copy your style, tone and strategy — but they can’t copy your data.

Your data is your competitive advantage in an environment where enterprises are working to grab market share by designing can’t-miss, always-on customer experiences. Your marketing tech stack enables those experiences. 

Join ActionIQ and Snowplow to learn the value of composing your stack – decoupling the data collection and activation layers to drive more intelligent targeting.

Register and attend “Maximizing Marketing ROI With a Composable Stack: Separating Reality from Fallacy,” presented by Snowplow and ActionIQ.

Click here to view more MarTech webinars.

About the author

Cynthia RamsaranCynthia Ramsaran

Cynthia Ramsaran is director of custom content at Third Door Media, publishers of Search Engine Land and MarTech. A multi-channel storyteller with over two decades of editorial/content marketing experience, Cynthia’s expertise spans the marketing, technology, finance, manufacturing and gaming industries. She was a writer/producer for and produced thought leadership for KPMG. Cynthia hails from Queens, NY and earned her Bachelor’s and MBA from St. John’s University.

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