E-Campaigning forum in Oxford: the basics

I went to the E-Campaigning Forum in Oxford, UK and, inspired by Jason Lefkowitz’s view of the basics of online advocacy, signed up to facilitate a session to tease out just what constitutes a good website and a good email program.

I introduced the idea of starting with the basics to the group of about a dozen super-smart and experienced online campaigners. Then they came up with a checklist of what elements needed to be covered to bring your site and your email list up to scratch. We had an hour and change to put our heads together and come up with a checklist.
Here’s the list, so you don’t have to squint at the flipcharts:

An effective campaign website :

  • is accessible
  • has meaningful metrics
  • supports the organization’s goals +strategy, and has it’s own goals and strategy
  • is updateable (and not just by those who know HTML)
  • is optimized for search engines
  • collects email addresses
  • has a user-friendly (and user-tested) design
  • answers the main questions visitors have about your issue and your campaign
  • balances user/audience needs with organization’s needs
  • has some basic, effective multimedia
  • reflects the audience’s language needs
  • has some editorial process (beyond press releases!)
  • manages expectations – people in the org know what they can and cannot expect from the site
  • has some sexy custom content
  • has compelling messaging
  • has organizational buy-in

These are in no particular order (other than the one they were brought up) and you had to be there to really get the full idea. I think it’s safe to say that only a few of these criteria are technical issues, while at least half of them are communications and strategic challenges.

An effective campaign email program :

  • has great subject lines
  • has a process for storing and retrieving data
  • has secure data protection
  • follows a data collection strategy
  • has a list that can be easily segmented
  • has excellent deliverability
  • offers useful metrics
  • has an editorial process that focuses on the audience
  • has privacy guidelines
  • supports a communications strategy
  • follows best practices
  • factors in feedback, testing and continuous improvement
Posted in Online advocacy, Stuff I Like, Twenty Minute Webbie, Workshops

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