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Advocacy Software: Key Features to Increase Your Impact

You want to create change, and technology can help. Here's how CharityEngine helps nonprofits focused on advocacy.

Advocacy Software: Key Features to Increase Your Impact

Nonprofits focused on advocacy increasingly leverage powerful software to amplify their voices and drive meaningful change. But which software features are the most helpful? You might already have access to some of them!

Your fundraising platform likely offers robust donor management, which is necessary for any nonprofit. Collecting and organizing contact information is critical, particularly for advocacy-focused clients. But beyond basic donor management, how can technology help you organize your efforts, mobilize supporters, and create change?

At CharityEngine, we’ve helped nonprofits for decades by providing tools that help them engage donors and raise more money. Advocacy clients like Research!America find that our platform equips them to better advocate for research, medical innovation, and policy changes, all to improve the nation’s health.

This article will explore the features our advocacy clients find most compelling. If you’re a client, you might learn something about this powerful platform. If you’re not a client, contact your software vendor and ask about similar functionality in your platform. (Or call us! We can help.)

How an All-in-One System Helps Nonprofits

Before we launch into specific software features that our advocacy clients love, let’s talk about the one aspect of CharityEngine that can most benefit your efforts to engage your supporters and compel action.

CharityEngine is the only authentic all-in-one system. I can explain this further if it sounds like gobbledygook or marketing talk. Most nonprofit CRMs offer donor management, but specific functionality—emails, events, petitions, surveys, volunteer management, advocacy actions, and payment processing—is outsourced to third-party systems like Eventbrite, Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and VoterVoice. While this is a popular way to expand features and quickly increase a platform’s robust appearance, it’s not the gold standard nonprofits deserve.

Advocacy features are completely native to the CharityEngine platform, meaning this functionality is not reliant on third-party integrations.

Core Functionality Through Integrations: Why Not?

When significant functionality is achieved through integrations, there are a few problems that can bubble up:

  • Data must be synced and uploaded to your CRM. Data transfers aren’t continuous, so the uploads and syncs will happen on a schedule (usually once daily). This means that your data—the data you use to engage constituents, often at the last minute—is not current every other minute of the day.
  • The more systems you have that provide basic functionality, the more vulnerable they are. More systems can have downtime, technical glitches, and even bugs or fraud attacks.
  • You have an incomplete donor picture when your data is partitioned or siloed in different systems. You don’t have visibility into every interaction a supporter has had with your nonprofit.

With CharityEngine, every tool you need and all the data are in one place, in real time. Robust dashboards show you any information you’d like to track. You can keep it all organized and moving forward, even when you have multiple advocacy campaigns with many volunteers and initiatives.

You get a 360-degree view of every constituent, understanding every action they’ve taken and how they’ve engaged with your nonprofit. This makes your donor management more complete and your campaigns more effective.

And when all that data is in real time, you see issues before they become problems.

You can better manage your supporters, run campaigns, and create change with CharityEngine.

Top Advocacy Functions in CharityEngine

When we ask clients who focus on advocacy, such as the Family Policy Alliance groups, what they appreciate the most about CharityEngine, the list is long. For this article, we will share the top five specific features that help advocacy nonprofits succeed.

1. Advocacy Donation CTA

Most advocacy issue pages prompt constituents to take action. Common prompts and tools are helpful, whether to call a representative or email a legislator. But most nonprofits also hope to raise money to keep the organization growing!

CharityEngine has added another call-to-action option on advocacy issue landing pages. In addition to acting, supporters can also donate to your nonprofit. This has been proven to increase both actions taken and funds raised.

2. Legislative Matching

Perhaps someone is passionate about an issue but doesn’t quite know where to start. Once they find your nonprofit, CharityEngine makes it simple to shepherd them through the process, from contacting you to actively campaigning for an issue.

An example of this is zip-to-district matching. Supporters enter their zip code and are given a list of their legislators with contact information.

You provide the messaging, and your constituents can email their representatives with the click of a button.

3. Advocacy Action Alerts

Legislative wheels notoriously move slowly…until they don’t. Nonprofits focused on legislative actions must be ready to act as soon as there is movement. Using CharityEngine, clients can submit a quick call to action to their constituents with messaging that supports a position.

Constituents have two choices: They can enter their address and ensure the message will be sent to their elected official. Alternatively, they can edit the message to add personal anecdotes or requests and send it separately from the organization. CharityEngine makes it easy for supporters to add their voices to the chorus.

4. National Data and State-by-State Pricing

CharityEngine offers a robust database, including national data. Regardless of your location, we can link your constituents to their state legislators. When you provide the correct messaging and the system connects them to the appropriate parties, they can support you with little effort.

What if your efforts are focused on a regional or state initiative, and you only want access to specific legislators rather than all state representatives? No problem. CharityEngine allows you to specify the data you want, so you never pay for more than you need.

5. Simplified Constituent Journey

Every supporter takes a journey. It begins with awareness about your organization. After that, you want someone to become an advocate for your cause. Once they’re committed, you hope they will choose to support you with a donation. Finally, in the best-case scenario, they will become a sustainer who supports your nonprofit financially.

All your data in one place means you can map that journey and plan appropriate engagement at various touchpoints. Nurturing a casual sideline supporter—say they sign a petition—and encouraging them to move through the stages will keep your nonprofit growing and sustainable.

The all-in-one helps here, too. From that first scrawled signature or plus-one date at an event, you can easily track communications and engagement and tweak it along the way to keep this supporter plugged in and supporting your mission.

A Dynamic Toolkit

In today’s evolving digital landscape, reaching your constituents through many channels is important, but tracking those interactions and engagements is critical to growing your impact. An all-in-one system that offers native tools to run campaigns and powerful data and analytics—including business intelligence and even artificial intelligence—is guaranteed to make you more effective at managing constituents, galvanizing support, and growing your mission into the future.

You have a lot of choices when it comes to fundraising software, and there’s a right system for every nonprofit. But when you decide it’s time to shop for a new CRM, give CharityEngine a chance to share how we can transform your advocacy efforts. We’d love to chat with you!