In tennis, the initial contact with the ball isn't enough for a good serve, you need to follow through. Same thing in organizing, it's not the initial contact, you need to follow through.
I am a big proponent of following up with people. I believe it is the little bit of extra effort that often separates success from failure.
That’s why I was delighted to read Marnie Webb’s post on the Case Foundation’s blog on the art of the follow through.
Why follow up? As Marnie writes, “we also want to make sure that the people who do sign up have ways to increase their engagement. And that’s about the art of the follow through.”
She offers five easy ways to follow through:
- Write them a note. For no reason at all.
- Show up at their party.
- Give your supporters something special.
- Give them something else to do.
- Ask for feedback and change because of it.
These are just the highlights. Read Marnie’s post for some great tips and comments on them.
“The number-one rule about politics, like fundraising and movement building, is that it is all about relationships.”
–Mike Roque in Grassroots Fundraising Journal
Organizing is all about relationships. Fundraising is just organizing for money, and political activity is organizing for policy.
And they are all about relationships.
Sometimes, though, activists resist building relationships with potitical figures. We spend so much time criticizing the political establishment we convince ourselves we should have nothing to do with it.
I believe it is a mistake when we refuse to build relationships with people in positions of power.
Some activists have a vision of themselves as the perpetual outsider, and that limits our ability to get inside where the decisions are made.
Yes, sometimes doors are closed to us, but sometimes what keeps us outside is that we don’t even try to open the doors because we assume they are closed to people like us.
So go ahead, build those relationships. Try to open that door (as a person rather than as a rampaging cause). Create human connections. Establish the lines of communication that will carry the policy changes you want to see forward.