Podcasts & Presentations

Past Internet Advocacy Roundtables and Other Presentations
(Click here for information about upcoming Roundtables)


September 20: Congressional Constituent Relations Management (CCRM)

The September 2007 Roundtable was the first to be held at the Center for American Progress Action Fund and featured a discussion with Congressional staff who are pushing the envelope for communicating online with constituents and additional insights from one of the industry's leading experts on CRM (Customer Relations Management).

  • Justin Hamilton, Deputy Chief of Staff for Representative George Miller (D-CA)
  • Matt Lira, Deputy Director of Communications for Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA)
  • Karina Newton, Director of New Media for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
  • Murshed Zaheed, Director of Internet Communications for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)
  • Paul Greenberg, Author of CRM at the Speed of Light and President of the 56 Group

June 21 - Online Brandng Campaigns

How well are you branding your organization or campaign online? Are you creating the right associations among your name, image, and purpose for your target audiences? You have such a limited opportunity to make a lasting impression on your audiences that cannot afford to waste it. Your campaigns, from your advertising, to your website, to your collateral materials, to your earned media need to make perfectly clear who you are and what you do.

  • Emily Williams and Mike Hutchinson , MSHC Partners
  • Daphne Schwab, New York Times
  • Download Podcast (MP3)

May 17 , 2007 - The Art of Storytelling for Advocacy

Storytelling, the art of weaving a compelling narrative, is an essential part of an effective advocacy campaign. Telling a story that captures the imperative of your issue will go a long way towards mobilizing citizens to action and getting them to fully embrace your policy goal. Jonah Sachs and Susan Finkelpearl bring the insights of one of the world's leading online advocacy storytelling shops to the Roundtable this month. Hear what they have to say about the art of storytelling.


April 26 , 2007 - Go Global Mobile Advocacy

Katrin Verclas, Coordinator for MobileActive, a global network of activists and NGOs using mobile phones for social change, and Executive Director of NTEN, shared her vast expertise in mobile advocacy strategies and how they are being used throughout the world to effect social change.


March 22 , 2007 - Trends in Global e-Advocacy

While e-advocacy is fairly well-established in the US, it is also emerging in other countries, both industrialized and non-industrialized. In the non-industrialized world, new strategies for e-advocacy are being developed that take into account relatively low levels of internet penetration, much higher levels of mobile phone penetration, and lots of word-of-mouth networks. Ricken Patel, co-founder of Res Publica and the newly launched Avaaz.org, is a driving force in creating these new opportunities for digital activism to make a difference in countries throughout the world.


February 15, 2007 - Online Political Video

Do you tube? Hillary does. Obama does. Edwards does. And before too long, they all will. Taking their cue from OK Go, the upstart rock band that launched their own careers by posting that amazing treadmill music video on YouTube last year, political candidates are turning to the web in droves to deliver video messages to the voters. But online political video isn’t just for candidates. It is also for advocacy groups and elected officials who want to reach out to people and communicate with them face to… errrr… monitor about policy issues.


Janaury 18, 2007 - Online Political Fundraising

Fundraising is being transformed in fundamental ways by new online tools. At a minimum, online tools for fundraising have opened the door to small donors in a way never before imagined. And with the growth in small donor giving, old assumptions built on major donor behavior, like donors making zero-sum decisions about who to give to each year, are being rewritten. These new tools allow us create peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns and build donor communities that expand beyond our own websites into exisiting online communities in fascinating ways.

Benjamin Rahn, one of the founders of ActBlue, spoke to the Roundtable in January about these new trends. ActBlue broke new ground in the 2004 elections by giving individuals and organizations the ability to easily raise money for candidates, regardless of whether they lived in the same state or district as the candidate. As a result, ActBlue was used to raise more than $17 million in 2005-06. Now the founders of ActBlue are expanding into the advocacy world, preparing its tools so they can be used to raise funds to support issue campaigns and non-profit organizations.


December 21 , 2006 - Message Strategy for a New Democratic Congress

With the Democrats taking control of Congress, it is time to take a moment to consider how the change should affect our message strategy. Is it time to soften up because progressives have taken control? Or will they need strong encouragement? Should we use different strategies in the Senate, where the Democrats are still short of the 60 votes to bring cloture on debates, than we use in the House, where a simple majority generally rules? What happens to our messaging if our enemy #1 lost the election? There are so many questions. And with the message targeting flexibility provided by most of the grassroots advocacy software, life may have gotten more complicated with the changing of the guard. But with the right strategy and tools, we can find success. This Roundtable was an open discussion on message strategy in a new Congress.


November 16, 2006 - MySpace Campaign Case Studies

Our November Internet Advocacy Roundtable featured a discussion on MySpace Campaign Case Studies with speakers, Scott Goodstein (Catalyst Campaigns), Ivan Boothe (Genocide Intervention Network), and Jeff Goldsmith (DeadElephant.org), who have run real campaigns on MySpace and other online social networks. They discussed the practical issues they faced in their efforts to tap the huge potential of online social network communities for advocacy campaigns.


Octber 19, 2006 - Advocacy in the Mobile Age

The US is starting to catch up to the rest of the world when it comes to using mobile phones for non-voice applications, and it is a good thing for advocacy and political campaigns.  Mobile technology can be used to mobilize activists to take offline actions, donate money over the phone, share photos and video, and the many more actions to come.  New ways to integrate mobile phones and Internet advocacy are emerging and the potential impact is dazzling.


September 21, 2006 - Developing and Implementing Social Network Campaign Strategies

Everyone is talking about social networks like MySpace, YouTube, Care2, and Flickr.  But who really understand what they are and how they can help your advocacy and political campaigns?  FAS.research does.

Imagine that you have a limited budget (not hard to do, I imagine) and need to create a buzz in a social network about your campaign.  If you only have the time and resources to reach out and recruit a half a dozen people in that network, which members will end up connecting you to the largest portion of the network?  That is just one of the questions FAS.research can answer.

Before you let anyone tell you that they can help your campaign leverage MySpace and YouTube, see what Harald has to say.  Learn what makes a social network work, whether you are reaching out to an existing one or building your own.

  • Harald Katzmair, Managing Director, and Head of Business and Science, FAS.research
  • Download podcast (87MB) (mp3 file)

August 17 , 2006 - The Mind of Mele: Nicco Mele on the Impact of Web 2.0 on Politics

Nicco Mele is one of the brightest minds in the field of Internet politics. After serving as the man behind the Internet curtain for Governor Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign, Nicco founded echoditto in order to create vibrant communities online and enable people to tap their political power through the creative use of emerging technologies. Following on his progressive values, he believes that building authentic internet voices and the establishment of a vigorous open source community is critical to the functioning of our democracy.

Web 2.0 is the moniker for using the Internet to create powerful social networks. Tapping into the power of these online communities is quickly becoming the key to successfully leveraging the Internet for political and advocacy campaigns.


July 13 , 2006 - The British Invasion: Innovations in Online Activism from mySociety.org

Tom Steinberg of mySociety.org talked about innovations in online activism from across the pond.  mySociety.org has created a variety of online activism resources, including HearFromYourMP TheyWorkForYou,  WriteToThem (which used to be called FaxYourMP), NotApathetic, and PledgeBank, which are all examples of the type of services mySociety aims to foster.  While HearFromYourMP, TheyWorkForYou and WriteToThem are designed to service UK citizens who want to communicate with Parliament, PledgeBank and NotApathetic are resources that we can all use to promote collective social activism and voting.

PledgeBank allows anyone to create a pledge which has the basic format 'I'll do something, but only if other people will pledge to do the same thing'. For example, if you'd always want to organize a street party you could organize a pledge which said 'I'll hold a street party, but only if three people who live in my street will help me to run it.'  Imagine if someone pledged to donate $100 to your organization if 1,000 other people did so, as well.  Once the last person signs on, you would get $100,000.

HearFromYourMP takes a unique approach to constituent-representative communications.  By signing up on the site, a citizen is added to a queue of other people in their legislative district. When enough have signed up, their MP gets sent an email. The email says "25 of your constituents would like to hear what you're up to. Hit reply to let them know". If they don't reply, nothing will happen, until your MP gets a further email which says there are now 50, then 75, 100, 150 — until it is nonsensical not to reply and start talking.


June 15 , 2006 - Webcasting and Webinar Strategies for Advocacy

Internet Advocacy Roundtable explored strategic uses for Webcasting and Webinars in the advocacy world.  We looked at how organizations can cost-effectively use engaging rich media presentations to build communities of interest and deliver compelling messages to targeted audiences. Topics included the use of virtual press events, conferences, and lobby days as well as activist brainstorming sessions and training modules.  Rich media is flooding the internet. Vodium CEO, Cameron Clarke demonstrated ways in which rich content and technology can be combined to drive interest in an organization and “Get Your Message Above the Noise”.


May 18 , 2006 - Netcentric Advocacy in a Socially Networked World

What is Netcentric Advocacy? It is an advocacy strategy focused on reaching out to and mobilizing citizens in their social networks and bringing them into yours.

You have no doubt heard much about social networks like MySpace, Care2, Flickr, and Yahoo 360. These are the virtual gathering places of our times. Other social networks, like MeetUp are all about using online tools to grow offline social networks linked online. LinkedIn, Friendster, and Plaxo are professional social networks. This is where people are gathering online and this is where you need to find them to engage them.

Our May 2006 speaker, Marty Kearns, has given much thought to social netowrks and their role in advocacy campaigns. As described in the vison statement for Marty Kearns' latest project, Netcentric Campaigns, "Global culture is polarized, splintered and self-absorbed while simultaneously being wired, networked, connected and 'plugged in'. We are individually ignorant yet overloaded with information. The opportunity to create radical and unexpected change lies in developing strategies along the fault line between these colliding and competitive forces.

"Families, communities, sports teams and leagues, old boy networks, alumni associations, churches, civic groups and work associations have always been a strong part of our human experience. However, the ties of these social networks now extend beyond geography and organizational walls. Social ties can remain strong even though people graduate, move across town for a new job, or across the country to a new community.

"Cheap long distance phone rates, email, instant messaging, cell phones, easy exchanges of photos, blogs, online communities and affordable travel enable people to "stay close" across huge gaps of distance and time.

"In this highly mobile and transient society, traditional community organizing techniques and locally-focused team models are insufficient. Creating power and influencing social change in the new culture requires an approach focused not only on the individual or organization, but also on the network as a mechanism for exerting influence. The network-centric approach unifies the strategy for creating change with the dynamics of our age.


April 20, 2006 - Emerging Trends in Online Media

The news media landscape is changing. New media sources are emerging, providing citizens with new perspectives on the political landscape, and news consumers are shifting their attention in dramatic fashion. These developments create a new challenge for public affairs programs trying to manage their relationship with the press and the coverage they get.

Online news media is playing a major role in this transformation. The rise of Blogs and other “We Media” sources have altered our ability to use our relationships with the press to influence our coverage. Newspapers are struggling top harness the internet into their business model. And with as much as 35% of American media consumption being online, these changes cannot be ignored.

Join us for a provocative panel featuring a discussion of the new State of the News Media 2006 report from the Project for Excellence in Journalism and the insights of a leading news media analyst.


March 16, 2006 -Making Your Online and Offline Advocacy Advertising Work Together

People may read the print edition of the newspaper in the morning, but throughout the day many continue to read the online edition.  And if you are trying to reach an audience during the workday, the best way to reach them is online.  These are just two reasons why an advocacy ad campaign will be most successful if it combines online and offline advertising.

Advocacy advertisements can be used to persuade and/or mobilize.  They can be targeted to citizens, opinion leaders, and/or policymakers.  They can be placed offline or online.  There are so many choices and some of the choices are very expensive.  But with a bit of creative strategy, you can minimize your expenses while maximizing your ability to achieve all of these goals.  The key is to integrate your online and offline ads with each other and with your campaign website.


January 19, 2006 - Deepening Relations Between Congress and Constituents

This was an in depth discussion on strategies for deepening relations between constitiuents and their Members of Congress, exploring ways to leverage campaign websites as political and grassroots platforms between elections, as well as strategies for turning voters into constituent communities. In addition to our speakers, we were joined by current and past Congressional staffers to give this roundtable an insight from insiders.


December 15, 2005 - Blurring the Line Between Government Relations (GR) and Public Relations (PR)

The Internet has blurred the line between GR and PR by providing a universal platform for supporting both efforts. This is especially true for PR campaigns seeking to affect public policy.

Speakers for this event included Suzanne Turner, President of Turner Strategies and a long-time communications strategist, who joined IAC Executive Director Alan Rosenblatt to explore digital strategies for integrating PR and GR.


November 22, 2005 - Engaging the Blogosphere

While it may seem that everyone is using the Internet for advocacy these days, the truth is it is still being underutilized. Americans consume 35% percent of their media content online, yet less than 10% of advertising dollars are spent online. On top of that, new digital advocacy applications are emerging constantly (Blogs, Podcasting, text messaging, etc.), making it a challenge just to keep up with, let alone maximize the impact of these new opportunities.

Two of the leading experts on political Blogs, Henry Copeland od Blogads.com and Matt Stoller of the Corzine for NJ Governor campaign, led the discussion.


October 19, 2005 - Tapping the Untapped Power of Online Advertising

More than 35% of Americans' media consumption is online, but less than 7% of advertising spending is online, and the situtation is more extreme for political adverstising. This suggests a huge opportunity.

Michael Bassik, who led John Kerry's online advertising campaign in 2004 and Trey Copeland, President SportsWar an innovative network of online sports communities, provided insight into political and permission-based advertising.


August 9, 2005 - Growing an Online Community of Progressive Activists

With the declining effectiveness of mass form email campaigns, it is essential to turn your email lists into communities of advocates who can champion your issues as their own and in their own words.

Andy Stocking of the 5+ million member Care2 advocacy community and Alan Rosenblatt of the Internet Advocacy Center led a probing discussion on strategies for cultivating online advocacy communities.


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