If you belong to a US-based grassroots advocacy group, you’ve probably marked on your calendar the upcoming Congressional recess in August when policymakers head back home to reconnect with constituents. But have you thought about revisiting your strategy to make the most out of this opportunity? Val Vilott has some suggestions in her recent post for the M+R Research Labs blog, from advice on the lobbying process to actionable tips for gaining traction via social media. We especially like her point about follow-up: having a sound plan for post-encounter outreach helps keep both supporters and policymakers engaged on your issue.
Changing (Bad) Behaviors
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation wants us to pay attention to the (sometimes questionable) nutritional value of the food we eat. In “The Impact of Menu Labeling on Consumer Behavior,” the Foundation’s Healthy Eating Research team analyzes the conclusions of published studies to clarify the influence of menu labels on the food consumption behaviors of folks like you or me. One finding: the effect of these labels appears to vary by the consumer’s gender and age, type of food item, restaurant chain, and other factors. For health advocates as for researchers, understanding the characteristics of target audiences is critical.
In Digital Persuasion, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide and Georgetown’s Center for Social Impact Communications mine data from a survey of roughly 2,000 online supporters of social causes to get a better picture of their motivations and expectations of digital engagement. For example, the report underscores the individual’s tradeoff between maximum impact (which according to responses is still best achieved in-person with a charity) and the convenience of social media platforms. A lower-effort “like” can’t compare to more time-intensive actions; but it can be a starting point on a trajectory toward higher impact commitments, both on- and off-line.