February 29, 2016
/ by Katie Gaab
As of earlier this month, Congress had an approval rating of just 14 percent. And with the 2016 presidential election drawing closer, PACs are struggling to confront their biggest problem.
“People either hate politics, or they hate what they think politics are,” says Amie Adams, president of Dunn Associates and noted PAC consultant. “When we talk about PACs, they’re predisposed to ignore us.”
So how can organizations demonstrate the importance of their PACs when no one is listening?
They need to rethink how they communicate with their audiences. At her free webinar, “Create Standout PAC Communication for 2016,” Amie provided attendees with email best practices, campaign scheduling tips and examples of successful PAC campaigns.
Want to increase your PAC’s impact? Here are four ways to revamp your communication and attract new members:
“It’s our job to communicate what a PAC is, why it’s important, why our organizations are involved in politics and why we deserve their support,” says Amie.
To determine what to focus on, she suggests researching how much people already know about the PAC, what they want to know and what policies are important to them. Online surveys and focus groups are extremely helpful in this regard.
“People are already suspicious about politics, so you have to go out there and show you have nothing to hide.”
With a detailed plan on what your PAC will do and corresponding calendar, you’ll ensure your communication and outreach reflect your overall goals. Include the specific dates, types of communication (solicitation and non-solicitation alike) and messengers you’ll use.
Amie suggests doing this in the fall so you’re ready to go on January 1. For example, she typically sends out the annual report in the first quarter, membership requests before Memorial Day and then sprinkles newsletters throughout the rest of the year.
“If you communicate regularly, you remind them of the program. You’re priming them for when you do go to them with an ask for their support,” she says.
Before you launch a campaign, ensure your website is ready to go. Ask the following questions: How is it personalized for the user? Does it recognize members when they log in? How does it appear on mobile devices?
But don’t limit communication to your website. Depending on your organization and its goals, you’ll want to create both digital and print versions of your messaging. For each campaign, focus on a theme to help unify all your messages.
And make sure whatever you send is short, personalized and visual. If your communication doesn’t stand out with pictures, infographics or banners, people are either deleting or ignoring your messaging, says Amie.
Above all, consider your culture. Think about your PAC as a brand, says Amie, so when people see your logo, there’s no mistaking who you are or what you do.
“It’s a business decision to join, not a political one. Make your branding reflect that,” she continues.
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When you follow up after a campaign, whether a newsletter or infographic, let people know what you’ve been up to and what the results are. Think about who your messengers are and how you’ll provide value to your members.
They’re more likely to open an email from a beloved organizational leader or an actual person they aren’t familiar with rather than an email from the PAC. Interestingly, there are some data to suggest that messages from women tend to get higher open rates.
Use newsletters to your advantage, too. When creating them, consider content that goes beyond the political issues. Include interviews with different PAC members, include trivia and promote your upcoming events.
Finally, Amie highlights the need for a database to target your audiences. You’ll want to create different content, especially during an election year when voter registration and election updates will depend on the state.
Images via Pixabay: 1, 2, 3
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