Cultivate Citizen Influencers Like A Political Pro

Some political campaigns change the conversation forever. The game changing campaign which swept President Barack Obama into office in 2008 was one of them. The next presidential campaign in 2016, if Hillary Clinton runs, will be a game changer for another reason.

Obama represented the new school approach: digital, connected, small donor driven using new technology and a grassroots approach which melded his early activist style with big data and social media. Clinton was old school in 2008. A political heavyweight benefiting from celebrity status, big money donor support and a lifetime in public service.

Since 2008 Obama won a second election, Clinton served as Secretary of State, wrote a book, and is now lining up what everyone (including Warren Buffet) expects to be a presidential run in 2016.

Hillary Clinton Campaigns For Obama In Florida

A Clinton campaign in 2015-16 will see a whole new style of politics: new tech and old tactics. A strong blend of the digital activist courting small money donations while relying on big money bundlers and support which comes from being a political celebrity in the age of Twitter. Not unlike how Clinton used ‘smart power’ – using soft and hard power and technology as Secretary of State during Obama’s first term.

Ways You Can Use Smart Tactics for Nonprofit Donations

1. Understand Your Supporters

Ever since President Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign the use of detailed voter data using frequent polls taken on every conceivable subject, and embodied in the form of pollster Mark Penn (who was parodied in The West Wing and worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign) has become standard practice. Obama’s young tech savvy team took that one further, thanks to social media, which was one of the main reasons his campaign succeeded when Hillary’s failed in 2008.

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With social media listening tools like nonprofits now have the same ability to understand their supporters more fully than they have ever been able previously.

2. Appreciate Your Campaigns Load Bearing Pressure Points

Clinton loyalists had a special place in hell for those who turned on her during the 2008 campaign. A hit list was compiled, so that the many players on Team Clinton could keep track of who they would support in the future and who could be thrown under a bus at the next opportunity.

Thankfully working with nonprofit donors and supporters isn’t quite such a difficult task. But you do have to know who you can call on for support, who will actually step up, and who – despite prior engagement – may not step up this time round. This requires taking the personal approach. Especially when it comes to influencers.

Reach out to them individually. Send them tailored messages, reminders of previous work together and most importantly (a job Clinton had a staffer working on for months after 2008) follow up with thoughtful notes after they have contributed to a campaign.

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3. Create Unique Content & Experiences

Influencers want to feel special. They are special and can prove highly valuable when launching a campaign and drumming up noise for a cause you need to raise funds for. Political operatives understand this instinctively, so whether they are courting Wall Street or Silicon Valley cash bundlers or voters on reddit or in Town Hall style Google Hangouts they spend a lot of time creating content which will resonate with the relevant audience.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when approaching influencers. Time spent creating experiences which will delight, amuse or generate awareness is worth it when they start promoting your campaign to their audiences.

Watch our webinar about how to Reach More Supporters on Social Media When You Turn Influencers into Advocates. is a a social marketing platform that drives engagement with your digital campaigns by turning your existing audience into brand advocates.

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