Skip to main content

How Nonprofits Can Motivate Advocacy Constituents

Searching for new ways to motivate your supporters? Here are science-backed ideas and tech tips to help you out!

How Nonprofits Can Motivate Advocacy Constituents

Sometimes it’s actually easier to get someone to donate money than to ask them to take action on your behalf. Nonprofits focused on advocacy often face this struggle: raising money can be easy. Asking donors to canvas or make phone calls can be tough.

There are ways you can tap into both science and technology to motivate your supporters. In this article, we will review five science-backed tips to motivate people, discuss how these tips can be used in advocacy, and weave in ways that robust technology can help your nonprofit get constituents excited to get vocal about your mission.

The Science of Motivation

Motivating anyone to do anything can be challenging, as almost any parent of teenagers (or toddlers!) knows. Once you delve into what the experts advise, though, you’ll have a toolkit you can use to motivate just about anyone, kids included.

Any nonprofit will want to motivate supporters to donate, attend events, participate in campaigns, or act as advocates on its behalf. Here are five science-backed methods proven to motivate people:

  1. Explain the outcome. When you link the action (circulating an online petition) with the result (support of a worthy bill), you’re creating a solid connection between what you want them to do and what that action will achieve.
  2. Don’t focus on the problem. Often, nonprofits will appeal to supporters’ goodwill because the problem at hand is so ominous. While this can figure into your pitch, you’ll get better results if you emphasize the progress, solutions, and positive vision you will collectively enjoy if this person supports your efforts.
  3. Appeal to empathy. Humans are wired to react more strongly when there is an emotional connection, so make that connection and then appeal to it. Use powerful testimonials, compelling case studies, or heartfelt impact stories. Include videos, images, and written content. You’ll drive empathy, understanding, and action.
  4. Use social proof. Show others that are working on behalf of your cause. If people see that there’s a big picture, they will often be more motivated to join a movement. Social proof (sometimes known as peer pressure!) can be a powerful motivator.
  5. Make it easy. Remove any barriers that could prevent your donors and supporters from taking action. Whether it’s clear instructions, online resources, multiple commitment levels, or sponsors that can answer questions, ensure your supporters can act without impediments.

Incorporate these science-backed methods to motivate your constituents.

Lean on Advocacy Software

CharityEngine offers advocacy software to help your nonprofit automate, analyze, and engage. We also know nonprofits have a lot of questions (and a lot of software choices), so we created this essential guide to advocacy software to help nonprofits make educated decisions.

To illustrate how robust technology can help your advocacy efforts succeed, let us share some ways you can lean on your advocacy software to help you motivate constituents and energize supporters to act on behalf of your mission.

  1. Leverage surveys. You can automate surveys and customize them to collect information relevant to your cause. For example, you could build out constituent records that include interests, world or political views, or public stances on issues.

  2. Appeal to their passions. A truly integrated platform will give you a 360-degree view of a contact’s engagement. For example, if you have a supporter who consistently engages in a certain type of advocacy action (CharityEngine can help you track that!), you can automate personalized appeals to donate. Data mining across constituent interactions—whether it’s donating, joining a phone bank making calls, attending an event, or participating in a peer-to-peer campaign—will help you identify and engage those supporters who might be willing to become more vocal advocates on your behalf.

  3. Match constituents and officials. With zip-to-district matching, technology can help you direct groups of supporters to lobby the right public officials. Your campaigns can be cross-country with each group knowing precisely who they need to contact. You equip them with your messaging and outreach ideas, and you have an advocacy campaign that scales up quickly.

  4. Leverage multiple channels. Motivating constituents across channels increases the likelihood they will recognize the effort and respond. Use every channel available in your CRM: email, mail, SMS, phone calls, social media. With compelling images and results-focused appeals, you’ll easily influence a larger audience once you expand your communication channels.

  5. Grassroots mobilization. From developing an online presence through a website and social media to launching email campaigns, managing volunteers, segmenting your constituents, and using targeted SMS campaigns, you can start building advocacy efforts in their local communities.

  6. Follow up and nurture. Once a constituent has taken advocacy action on your behalf, it’s critical that you not only automate a thank-you email but also keep that individual engaged. If, for example, they were advocating for a policy change, any news around that policy or other tangential policies would be of interest to them.

    Providing micro-actions to engage easily can help grow the participation you see with your supporters over time. When each action results in a positive experience (whether that be positive reinforcement, recognition, or updates on the outcome), your supporters will be more likely to return.

Inspiring Others to Make an Impact

Motivating your constituents isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a continuous focus on educating, empowering, and equipping individuals to amplify their voices to effect change. By understanding their values and tailoring your outreach and calls to action, you can turn passionate supporters into vocal advocates. Technology designed for analytics, automation, multichannel outreach, and matching constituents with officials is the critical piece your nonprofit needs to mobilize your supporters and compel them to act.

If you’re interested in seeing why advocacy clients such as Research!America and Tupelo Children’s Mansion count on CharityEngine to help mobilize and motivate advocacy constituents, give us a call. We’d love to chat with you.