2023 Must-Have Advocacy Software Features
Do you want to increase the impact of your advocacy or nonprofit group? If so, it’s time to start thinking about upgrading your advocacy software. The best tools will help you engage with supporters in meaningful ways and make them feel like they’re part of a community that shares their desire for change. Here are some key features that should be on your radar as you evaluate new options.
Building digital community software for today’s users:
Leverage cloud-based architecture.
Your advocacy software should be built on a modern, cloud-based architecture. The old approach of building software in house and then moving it to the cloud is outdated. Cloud-based software is currently being developed faster than ever before, and there are companies that specialize in creating advocacy solutions that are built from scratch using this technology.
Make sure the platform is designed for mobile first.
Furthermore, the software should be built using a mobile-first approach. This means that the product has been designed and built to be used on a mobile device, since that’s where people spend most of their time interacting with technology today—even if they are using their desktop at work or home as well.
Integrating with other systems:
Make sure it seamlessly integrates with enterprise-level CRMs and legislative management systems.
Your organization will likely already have a CRM, CMS and other systems in place to manage its workflows, campaigns and communications. Advocacy software should be able to integrate with these systems without requiring expensive custom software development by your internal IT team or outside consultants. Integrations should also be easy to set up and use within the advocacy platform so that you can spend more time focusing on building a stronger campaign instead of figuring out how to integrate with other tools.
For example, if you’re a nonprofit or government entity that uses legislative management systems like LexisNexis or NLC’s Advocacy Portal as part of daily operations, then choosing a solution that integrates seamlessly with those systems will make it easier for staff members to utilize new features and upgrade existing ones without breaking workflow processes.
Integration isn’t just about linking two systems together—it should also allow users from one system access into other programs so they can accomplish tasks quickly without having to learn entirely new user interfaces. Ideally, this means integrating with existing enterprise-level CRMs like Salesforce or Blackbaud without requiring custom software development or expensive custom solutions.
Don’t forget to ask about pre-built integrations with tools you regularly use for email marketing, digital advertising, website creation and more.
If your advocacy software doesn’t offer pre-built integrations with tools you regularly use for email marketing, digital advertising and website creation, then it’s a waste of time. You’ll have to spend valuable time and money trying to integrate two separate products together—and then you still can’t be sure if they’re working seamlessly.
Have the option of offering intelligent routing of digital signatures to increase the effectiveness of your petitions.
One of the best things about advocacy software is its ability to integrate with other systems, especially CRM, to take action on data-driven insights and make your advocacy more effective.
For example, say you’re advocating for more funding for a local school system. One way to improve this campaign is by using an advocacy platform that integrates with your CRM and email marketing platforms so that when people sign your petition, their names get added automatically to a list of supporters who have requested information via email or social media. You can then use this list as part of your outreach efforts, sending out an email blast asking people who signed the petition if they’d be interested in supporting it financially by making a donation or hosting a fundraiser event at their home or place of business (or both!).
Customizing your community & outreach:
Make sure you’re able to customize templates to match the look and feel of your advocacy group or campaigns.
Good advocacy software should provide a variety of templates for outreach emails, advocacy pages and other content to match the look and feel of your advocacy group or campaigns. You’ll want to be able to change the text easily, add images, change fonts or colors—whatever helps your message come across clearly. Once you’ve created a template, the software should be easy to send out an email blast or create a new post on social media — you shouldn’t have to spend hours tweaking the template before you publish your work.
Templates should make it simple for your internal teams – and even volunteers who help write blog posts or run social media accounts—to use these tools to create and send content without needing much extra training.
Effective advocacy software should make it easy for supporters to take action safely.
One of the most important things you can do to create a successful advocacy campaign is make it easy for supporters to take action. Your software must give you control over where users go next after they submit their email address.
And make it easy for supporters to customize their notification and communication settings, so they don’t start tuning you out. If people don’t feel like they have autonomy over their own data and experience, they’re less likely to trust your organization or consider donating in the future.
Tracking engagement for better outcomes:
Admins should be able to easily create predictive, dynamic campaign sequences.
Your software should tailor your supporter’s pathway based on responses to previous actions such as email clickthroughs, petition signatures or meeting requests with legislators. You should be able to use your campaign sequence data to predict what your supporters will do next. For instance, if a supporter signs a petition but doesn’t take the next action you’ve asked them to (like donate), you can then reach out with another email sequence that features content related to donating.
This is important because it helps ensure that you’re only sending messages that are relevant and timely for each individual supporter. This leads to higher engagement rates and lower email unsubscribe rates—which means more donations in the long run.
It’s also a great way for organizations that don’t have huge budgets for marketing or public relations campaigns—and rely on volunteers instead—to scale awareness efforts across large audiences quickly while still engaging people at an individual level by using their personal data wisely.
Your community software should also track and segment supporter activity across multiple campaigns.
Advocacy software should be designed to collect data and use it to drive advocacy campaigns. You want your software to track supporter activity across multiple campaigns and offer easy segmentation based on recent engagement levels, geographic location, or specific actions such as donations or volunteering. You can use this information to identify supporters who are likely to respond well to a particular message in the future.
You can also target those who support causes similar but not identical to yours. For example, if you’re advocating for highly restrictive gun control legislation while another group is fighting for more limited gun ownership restrictions, all of their supporters are potential allies—but only some will share your values enough that they’ll join in opposing guns altogether rather than just supporting tighter restrictions on gun ownership.
Conclusion: Effective advocacy software is built with data-driven action in mind.
Data is the key to building a successful marketing strategy and successful campaigns. Your advocacy software should include features like data segmentation and actionable data dashboards that show you how your campaigns are performing.
Advocacy is more than just sending emails and meeting with legislators; it’s also about building relationships with supporters who can advocate their own causes within their communities. By finding a system that works well with all aspects of this process, you can ensure that every dollar spent on advocacy efforts goes toward achieving results.