Mobile Done Right: Reform Immigration FOR America Mobile Campaign

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Jun 16, 2010

Back in January, we covered two organizations that use mobiles for raising awareness of immigration issues. At the Mobilize Your Cause Bootcamp, held June 2 in New York City, Nicola Wells and Rachel LaBruyere gave a presentation about how Reform Immigration FOR America and the Fair Immigration Reform Movement coalition built a sizable and effective SMS campaign. Watch a video of their presentation below to see an example of how to pull off a successful, large-scale mobile campaign.

In part one of the videos, Wells explains how the organization initially became interested in mobile campaigning and organizing, and describes the three goals they had for a mobile community and list:

  • Building an actionable community;
  • Communicating news and alerts;
  • Engaging the base.

Wells also explains the importance of thinking big when planning a mobile campaign. She says that despite her modest goals for the mobile list in the beginning, planning for larger numbers helped shape how the organization approached the entire project.

In the second part of the presentation, Wells goes into detail about the level of preparation needed to build a successful mobile campaign. The group works with local immigration rights groups around the country, and she credits those partnerships for the rapid growth and success of the mobile list. She says, "We would not have gotten as big if we owned it ourselves. We had to get other people to own it, so that they wanted to grow the list too." She also credits the diverse interests of Reform Immigration FOR America's staff; the team in charge of the mobile list had organizers, managers, and fundraisers. The variety of professional specialities helped make the execution of the project easier and more effective.

In the third video, Wells talks about building up the list and creating buy-in among users and management. The list was built through coalition organizations targeting their members, email campaigns, and lots of promotion at events (both face-to-face signups and announcements from the stage). The group worked hard to create a brand around the mobile list; users texted in Justice (for English messages) or Justicia (for Spanish messages) to a short code in order to join. As for buy-in, she said that there are three key ways to keep users engaged once their have signed up: alerts, actions, and feedback.
Keeping the mobile campaign focused on these three methods meant that it didn't become overwhelming for subscribers. Alerts take advantage of the immediacy of mobiles, sending out crucial bits of information, and the calls to action are related to this - targeting people where they are for quick responses to breaking news. Wells says that feedback is an important aspect of the campaign, explaining, "It was really important that from the start we used this tool to get information back from people, not just to give it out," because that creates a personal connection with the campaign and cause.

Finally, LaBruyere described how Reform Immigration FOR America works to keep its base involved, noting that "it's all about access." She then described how the mailing list has been used in the past; everything from organizing rides to marches to planning local house parties; from collecting subscribers' stories about why immigration reform matters to encouraging subscribers to call in protests.

Some general tips gleaned from these presentations for groups interested in building a list for a mobile campaign:

  • Remember that not everyone has a smartphone; texting URLS to online content can alienate your users if they can't access it.
  • It's easier to get subscribers if you engage them in person - at events, encourage the audience to text or call in immediately so that they don't have to remember later, or have your team members approach people directly.
  • Computer-based calls for sign-ups didn't work very well for Reform Immigration FOR America; their subscribers didn't often use their phones while on the computer, so emails promoting the list didn't get great return. It is key to know how your target audience actually uses various technologies.
  • Create a brand - Reform Immigration FOR America made sure that wherever the URL for the website was posted (whether promotional materials, business cards, or flyers), the text shortcode was posted as well, so that the mobile campaign became synonymous with Reform Immigration FOR America's work.
  • Ask for feedback - and use it. Engaging with subscribers makes the list more personal, so be sure to let your subscribers know that they are a vital part of the list.

    Mobile Done Right: Reform Immigration FOR America Mobile Campaign data sheet 5473 Views
    Countries: United States

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