By Paige Pantlik and Lauren Rahill, Sagac Public Affairs
Increasingly, more and more political action committees (PACs) are achieving exponential success thanks to an interactive and employee-based solicitation program. Peer-to-Peer programming is one of the most effective ways for PACs to increase both membership and funds, while also ensuring their message reaches as many eligible donors as possible. In the shifting and competitive environment of American political fundraising, a Peer-to-Peer program is a must.
The first step in Peer-to-Peer programming is Ambassador recruitment. Selecting existing PAC and PAC Board members to serve as Ambassadors for a solicitation campaign not only helps to boost morale but also encourages personal interaction among colleagues. The Ambassador delivers targeted marketing that cuts through common objections to giving because employees are hearing from their trusted peers with whom they identify. Although some reservations are inevitable, people are more receptive to PAC messaging if it means also supporting the person who is soliciting them, and especially if that person is someone they recognize and respect.
Ambassadors set an example for PAC participation, and with proper training and education, they are able to readily answer questions on behalf of their PAC and the campaign.
The criteria used for selecting PAC Ambassadors is dependent upon the organization. However, the most common prerequisites to consider are the ability to attend training, participate in reporting calls and communicate with eligible employees, whether via phone solicitation, personal interaction or email. It is also important that selected Ambassadors are currently contributing to the PAC – it makes sense for those soliciting to have already made the commitment they are asking of others.
Ambassador Training can be simple if the proper preparation is taken care of well beforehand. During a typical training session, Ambassadors receive an introduction to the world of PACs and political giving, while also learning more about their own company and the issues that could impact them. Prior to training, they are also provided with a kit of materials, which includes answers to frequently asked questions, marketing pieces, sample solicitation materials and industry best practices for fundraising. One of the most important aspects in Ambassador preparation is to set a goal for growth. This helps Ambassadors measure success and visualize the challenge ahead of them.
Ambassadors have been briefed, trained and motivated and the campaign is now ready to begin. The beauty of a peer-to-peer campaign is that all materials and communications are able to seamlessly and cohesively spread to all eligible employees. Ambassadors work with the PAC team to stay up-to-date on the campaign timeline and their progress through weekly or bi-weekly reporting calls.
Ambassadors will be most successful if they are recognized and praised for their efforts. This kind of encouragement will allow them to be better solicitors and will also secure their involvement in future campaigns.
Most organizations send out internal communications regularly, and it could be debated that the majority of employees don’t pay attention to every message and will not be receptive to more emails bombarding their inbox. If employees start receiving phone calls and messages from the people they work with on a regular basis, they will be more apt to pay attention and take action to a communication from a name they recognize, rather than a mass email.
Peer-to-Peer programming allows PACs to meet their financial and membership goals without an expensive, exhausting marketing plan. The success lies within the company.
Ambassadors are key to unlocking the power of your PAC.
Lauren Rahill is Account Manager and Paige Pantlik is Account Coordinator at Sagac Public Affairs, a national company providing communications, research, fundraising, and management solutions to hundreds of corporations, trade associations, and political organizations. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.