Using mobile phones in advocacy campaigns

Using mobile phones in advocacy campaigns

Guide to advocacy campaigning using mobile phones

Speed is often critical in an advocacy campaign and mobile phones allow the rapid dissemination of messages to a network of supporters with specific calls for action. In the developing world, where internet access can be slow or limited, mobile phone campaigns can reach a broad constituency of citizens.

This guide provides examples of successful advocacy campaigns in Argentina, UK, USA, and Africa where mobile phone communication among supporters has played an important part,

Six steps for organising a successful campaign include: 

  • set goals and plan your mobile advocacy campaign ensuring the campaign is connected to existing ‘real world’ advocacy efforts, setting aside time and budget and identifying the most appropriate team and technology for carrying it out 
  • identify a vendor to run your mobile advocacy campaign – for larger NGOs, it’s important to set up a contract with a vendor who will support the crafting of the campaign strategy, set up a suitable technological platform to meet the organisation’s needs and manage inbound/outbound messages. For small grassroots organisations, the guide recommends using open source mobile software packages
  • develop a marketing plan to reach your mobile constituency – it’s helpful to develop this around the following questions: ‘what are the goals of the campaign?’ ‘who do you want to reach? ’what’s the message and what is the action requested?’ ‘how does it fit in with other marketing efforts?’ 
  • craft the mechanics of your campaign and your mobile messaging steps – this should include thinking about embedding the campaign in other media (e.g. including the mobile short code in billboard advertisements, emails, websites, etc), how to ask for information (e.g. email addresses) and frequency of updates 
  • set up your system to get your mobile data into your in-house database 
  • decide on your campaign closure and evaluation activities – ensure supporters are thanked and report on campaign success, encourage ingoing engagement, conduct a metrics analysis sessions and campaign ‘postmortem’ to assess its effectiveness.

The guide also provides advice on costings and some useful lessons learnt from other campaigns.

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