The ACUF Center for Criminal Justice Reform asked us to help them grow a grassroots movement around the FIRST STEP Act. Their legislation had made it on to Capitol Hill. But they knew Republican legislators needed some urging to prioritize criminal justice reform this year. We didn’t need to convince every legislator or every conservative – but we did need to persuade enough people of the urgency of the issue to create forward movement.
With enough momentum, we knew the bill could get across the finish line.
How we did it
We ran an agile omni-channel marketing campaign with two main phases: acquisition and advocacy. First, we worked to build an audience composed of sympathetic constituents of our targeted senators. We ran a wide range of ad creative to entice conservatives to the cause. Once we got folks on board, we invested in deepening their commitment with an elaborate welcome sequence. Next, we asked them to start emailing their legislators with different action alerts. But we didn’t stop there - we followed up with letter writers via text message, urging them to call their senator’s office, too.
As different legislators hardened or softened on the bill, we shifted and adapted our strategy. We focused our fire on the legislators that needed to hear from our activists in each moment - whether we were focusing on leadership to get the legislation to the floor, pushing persuadable senators to vote for the bill, or pivoting to target House members for final passage.
The FIRST STEP Act is now written law. Over the course of the campaign, we mobilized nearly 60,000 Americans spread over 24 states, who sent over 114,000 letters to their legislators.
What we learned
When you build your audience the right way, they will stand up for your cause in a big way. Advocacy campaigns require an agile strategy that responds quickly to shifting political winds. Removing barriers to contacting a legislator with a seamless, multi-channel experience yields concrete results.
And it doesn't hurt to have Kim Kardashian on your side.
Fine print for the nerds:
We used our signature advocacy hub, DriveAction, as the interface for this campaign. DriveAction enables users to seamlessly contact their legislators on issues that matter; driving action that fuels change. From a single interface, your users can select whatever form of contact they are most comfortable completing - whether that’s an email, a social media post, or a telephone call. Built for speed, we constructed the site to handle massive influxes of traffic in the key hours of an advocacy campaign.