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Grassroots vs. Grasstops Advocacy

January 01, 2021

Advocacy, perhaps one of the most well-known terms in the political sphere, is defined as the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal. Local governments, companies, organizations, and associations across all industries and sectors can benefit from advocating for a cause or proposal that supports their mission. Advocacy can range from educating the public on a particular issue to seeking to influence legislation.


Advocacy can be broken down into two main groups: grassroots advocacy and grasstops advocacy. Most organizations have advocates that range in expertise, commitment, and willingness to participate in campaigns. Grassroots advocates are the broader base of supporters, whereas grasstops advocates are typically industry leaders and influencers. Both groups are equally important and help create the most well-rounded and effective advocacy campaign. 


CLB Partners understands the importance of grassroots and grasstops advocacy and knows the best strategies to implement depending on your goals. Goals that can be accomplished through an effective advocacy strategy include: 

  • getting the general public to contact their local, state, or federal representatives about a certain issue
  • mobilizing your membership base
  • raising awareness of your issue and starting a conversation with elected officials or the general public
  • boosting support of constituents for a policy issue or legislative agenda


Grassroots advocacy is the most commonly known of the two strategies and focuses on strength in numbers and harnessing that strength to wield influence. The experts at CLB Partners are ready to help launch your grassroots efforts through coalition building, constituency outreach, stakeholder engagement, and managing and advising on political and advocacy campaigns. 


Constituent outreach is a critical and necessary component to building support or opposition around an issue. There are many outreach methods, including social media, newsletters, email blasts, direct mail, hosting an event or town hall, or phone banking, to reach a targeted universe to activate behind your cause. CLB Partners will help guide you through the process and make recommendations based on proven methods. We will ensure you use the most effective means of communication to help influence your desired outcome and build the appropriate support to get noticed by the targeted decision-makers. 


Stakeholder engagement keeps stakeholders involved in the mission and maintains their support. The types of engagement methods you use will change regularly by frequency, communication method, and location. For example, should you send out a weekly newsletter to your stakeholders, or would they prefer a monthly in-person meeting at the local civic center? Our team can help answer these questions for you and plan your engagement so you can focus on the big picture. 


Coalition building can be a beneficial component to your mission when done the right way. Coalition building is the creation of partnerships between similar organizations and advocacy groups that have a shared cause. When choosing other organizations and advocacy groups to partner with, you have to be very strategic and make sure the areas you do differ in won't cause conflict down the road and destroy any progress you might have made together. 


Due to these partnerships' sensitive nature, it is fruitful to hire experts to advise you on the best partners. CLB Partners can steer you in the right direction, recommend organizations and advocacy groups you might be unaware of, and serve as a central point of contact to organize and lead the coalition.


Our team has a diversified array of experience at CLB Partners, allowing us to manage and advise our customers on various campaigns, including corporate campaigns, issue-based campaigns, political and advocacy campaigns. There is no one size fits all approach, and you must map out your strategy based on your specific needs and not what someone else is doing. Our professionals are with you every step of the way and can quickly pivot when unexpected challenges arise to keep you on track. 


Although similar to grassroots advocacy, grasstops advocacy focuses on industry leaders and influencers for a more direct advocacy approach. Having an industry leader or a large group of like-minded businesses on your side adds prominence and credibility to your mission that will help you stand out from your competition. 


An industry leader is one that is poised to help set the agenda on political matters, offer insider advice, and speak on your behalf with an incredible amount of influence. An industry leader could also be a keynote speaker for an event, teach a training course to your volunteers, or build momentum for your cause. 


When it comes to politics, if an influencer announces support or opposition for a social or political objective, their followers can become motivated or influenced to feel the same way. A popular example of grasstops advocacy was when former Daily Show Host Jon Stewart testified on Capitol Hill during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the reauthorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Over the years, Stewart has used his popularity and influence to advocate for an increase in funding to support the many victims of 9/11. 


Thanks to our relationship with many high-profile leaders and organizations, CLB Partners is in a unique position to make introductions on your behalf and develop a strategic plan for ultimate success. We have secured incredible experts and industry leaders for our clients to highlight events, promote their causes, and advocate on their behalf.


CLB Partners is ready to create a customized advocacy plan for you. Whether you want to motivate advocates, educate elected officials, increase your membership participation, or mobilize your membership base, we stand ready to advocate on your behalf. 
 

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