action funds

Digital Marketing for Action Funds

If nothing else, this election is quite a spectacle. So many issues, personalities, and uncertainty. For Political Action Committees or Action Funds looking to push an issue, asking questions around these digital strategies and tactics are fundamental must-do’s. If you’re not asking yourself these questions, it is time to start.

Audiences + Personas for Action Funds

Do you have airtight definitions for who you are looking to speak to? You cannot say “as many people as possible” or “voters in California.” You know who your easy targets are, who your harder-to-convince-but-possible targets are, and who will never convert. Are you segmenting your messaging accordingly?

Our persona development for political organizations is an in-depth research process. If you’re looking to move quickly, here are a few tactics to make sure you look through:

Social media

This election will be won by social media. Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you know how your target audiences use social? Are they passive readers, occasional sharers, or active promoters? This should shape your content strategy.
  • Which accounts do they follow? This shapes your targeting strategy.
  • Which emotions drive them? Are they afraid of the worst case, hopeful for the best case or desperately searching for practicality, logic, and reason? This shapes your posting strategy.

An example from Make It Work Action, fighting for equal pay and closing the wage gap using Facebook video content for a broad audience.

And then using a specific digital event to draw in a core audience and activate a candidate’s issue supporters.


Use email for more than just communicating with supporters. Use it to acquire more supporters.

  • Use lookalike audiences on Facebook.
  • Use custom targeting audiences on social, search, and display.
  • Leverage email addresses with other demographic information (zip code, for example) to model new prospective audiences.


The way your competitors are using digital media can also provide opportunities. The digital landscape now moves point-counterpoint. You should have a competitive digital messaging strategy.

  • What hashtags are they using? If they are broad enough, jump in and make your point known. If they are self-promotional, monitor that hashtag for sentiment.
  • What is their posting schedule? You can tell how well funded/staffed someone is by their posting frequency and quality. And how many are personal.
  • Who are they targeting? There are research tools and methodologies that can show you how a particular ad is targeting users. While they may not be 100% perfect, they can be a good guide to get your own messaging in front of audiences you are competing for.
  • How is their messaging being received? We love sentiment monitoring tools for policy orgs to guide both high-level strategic messaging as well as tactical campaigns.

An example from Planned Parenthood Action Fund using the #GOP hashtag competitively.


Taking Advantage of the Moment

When the moment strikes, you have to be ready. And, it helps to be first!

News monitoring

  • Are you monitoring key publications, hashtags, topics, and journos?

Ready-to-go assets

  • Do you have quotes, imagery, clips, and articles around key issues and scenarios ready to go? This helps a coordinated campaign get out the door lickety split.

Social media promoted products

  • Do you have a budget set aside for promoting key social media posts on the fly? Make sure your team is comfortable pushing budget behind promoting big posts and experimenting with different posts to capitalize on a moment.


  • Is your digital content team versed in social trends enough to know how to make sure your content gets pushed toward the top?

NRDC Action Fund leveraging Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar speech.

360 Communications

For more long-term activation, a 360 communications model is imperative. As you gain digital supporters, it’s important to do the following:


Keep your new supporters informed. Arm them with digestible, shareable information a little bit at a time to help your supporters feel confident in your position and confident in sharing. Frequent, small communication is so much better than infrequent, large communications.

Small yes theory

Digital activation is built upon the “small yes theory”. The first step to buying in may be reading a tweet, then reading something you linked to, then following you on Twitter, then signing up for emails, and then contributing/voting/canvassing. Know the path you want your supporters to take and make it easy for supporters to say “yes”.

Leveraging wins through retargeting, shareable content, new audience modeling

As you acquire new supporters from the strategies and tactics above, continue to funnel new leads through a retargeting strategy, model them into new audiences and continue to create custom and lookalike audiences.

Digital Media is the game-maker and the game-changer for modern political communication. If you are an action fund and ready to dive into a digital campaign, give us a shout out.


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