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Digital mobilization models: Engage the public at scale to create the biggest impact

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I’ve been to a lot of charity sector conferences and at every one there has been a session or conversation about how we need to integrate communications approaches and bust siloed ways of working. These conversations highlight the problems caused when communications, fundraising, and campaigns/advocacy teams have different objectives, budgets, and methods of communicating with the same or similar audiences.

A siloed approach creates internal problems for organizations that can result in wasted budget and resources (e.g. we’ve seen examples of different teams targeting the same people online with different products, at times competing with each other for advertising space). But more importantly, it can create a poor and inconsistent experience for the individuals who interact with you. This in turn has a negative impact on how well you can scale support from the public.

At Rally, we think it’s time to stop talking about these challenges and start designing new models of operation that address them. We do this by adopting a mobilization approach, mainly but not exclusively, online.

What do we mean by mobilization? Well, the dictionary defines it as…

“The action of organizing and encouraging a group of people to take collective action in pursuit of a particular objective.”

The mobilization models we advocate for fuse fundraising, communications, brand activation, campaigning, and advocacy offers. These activities then create opportunities for the public to engage at levels that suit their own circumstances and energy at the time.

We champion approaches that engage the public at scale by elevating values over transactional products. Those values act as a magnet to attract people who share them and inspire them to take actions to make change happen – all in a digital space. Our goal is to inspire active participation in the organization’s mission and vision. In this context, active participation means action that requires a supporter’s time, money, and voice or endorsement.

We draw a lot of inspiration for these approaches from what we’ve learned from studying successful movements of the past and recent history, and have summarized these lessons in the following five principles to consider when we’re talking to clients about mobilization strategy and leadership.

A vision to believe in: Your organization’s goal is inspiring, is important to society, and feels believable.

A believable plan to deliver the vision: Not only is your goal believable, so is the plan to deliver it. The plan is well articulated and available for all to see. It’s easy for the public to see themselves playing an active role in success.

Values that are easily subscribed to: The values that underpin the mobilization activity aren’t overly complex or intellectual—they have huge mass appeal and aren’t framed in a way that excludes participation.

Useful & valuable things to do: Those who participate are offered things to do that are rooted in the plan and connect to the values of the movement. Nothing is transactional—it’s clear that every action moves the movement on towards its goal.

Charismatic leaders or leadership: The leadership or individual leaders are inspiring and have the personal qualities that drive belief and loyalty. They speak with experience of the issue and can tell stories in a way that drives action and participation.

In our upcoming webinar session, Adopt a Digital Mobilization Model to Raise More Money and Drive More Public Engagement, on April 28 at 2pm ET, we will give you a deep dive into the theory of digital mobilization and bring the theory to life with real world examples of best in class digital mobilization activity from the UK and USA.

We believe that adopting digital mobilization models helps organizations achieve scale.

Scale that means:

More reach.

More action.

More money.

And ultimately, more impact.


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