Mobilizing Supporters to Enact Change
GMO Free CT
The small handful of founders of the GMO labeling movement in Connecticut started their outreach using their Gmail address books and their personal email accounts. They had a very simple website that only allowed supporters to contact them via email. Anyone who wanted to join their mailing list sent them an email, at which point they would be manually added to the list.
As the movement grew, this arrangement became untenable. GMO Free CT engaged Greenleaf Advancement to implement CiviCRM, in order to create a solution that would allow them to connect with their constituents in a more efficient and effective way. This effort culminated in the passage of the first state-wide GMO labeling law in the United States.
GMO Free CT leadership needed a way to inform thier followers about what was going on in order to mobilize the well-coordinated grass-roots effort that would be necessary to combat the well-funded onslaught of the chemical and grocery lobby. Any tool needed to be easy to use and save the GMO Free CT volunteers time and effort.
By utilizing the profile functionality in CiviCRM (making the Newsletter signup profile available on the public website), new supporters could effortllessly sign up for the GMO Free CT Action Alerts. Where previously - before CiviCRM - new people had to be added to the newsletter list manually, with CiviCRM new supporters who came to the website to sign up were automatically added to the list, with project leadership getting an information-only email that requried no action. The next time the newsletter list was used, the new supporters were alutmatically included.
The height of the labaleing campaign came as the end of the legislative session approached, and campaign leadership were sending out almost daily bulk emails through CiviMail to inform thier several thousand supporters what was happeing in the Connecticut state capitol and who they needed to call and email. Becuase new list signups, bounces, and unsubscribes were all managed by the system automatically, campaiign leadership - all volunteers - could focus their energy on generating the appropriate messaging to spur people to action. After the bill was passed, more than one legislator commented that the sheer number of calls and emails that they were getting from people all over the state had a direct impact on thier willingness to stand up and vote with the will of the people rather than that of the special interests.
One of the biggest challenges facing the all-volunteer led GMO labeling effort was how much work there was to do, and how few hands there were to do it. Any system needed to be easy to use and not too difficult to learn.