#DontDoubleMyRate Influences Congress to not Double Student Loan Rates

This Advertisement is Brought to You By The American PeopleTake your campaign goals and define objectives that can be achieved on the web. That is the recipe to becoming a digital advocate. Rebuild the Dream utilized valuable data and combined it with on-the-ground digital advocacy to influence policy reform.

Digital Advocacy is On-The-Ground Advocacy

Think about it, digital advocacy is on-the-ground advocacy…only, it’s organized and expressed through the web.

The traditional approach is to schedule events, send out mailings, attend seminars, call members and hope for the best. With the internet we have the power to disrupt American citizen’s lives…on demand. When the country is connected via smartphones, Facebook and LinkedIn, it’s not a secret that we can put a message in front of the voting population.

What if a coalition in New Jersey could collaborate with a coalition in California? What if one person could connect with 1 million people? What if American citizens could fund an advertisement that disrupts the lives of everyone in the country?

Rebuild the Dream did just that.

Building Social Media Objectives to Meet Campaign Goals

Digital media is not a tool that stands on its own. Digital tools only exist because of the physical world we live in. Before building digital strategy it’s important to define campaign objectives. Ask yourself, “What are the measurable objectives we need to accomplish? How can we use digital advocacy and social media tools to accomplish these goals?”

Rebuild the Dream’s recent effort to influence Congress to vote against raising student loan interest rates is a great example of an organization understanding their campaign goals then defining measurable objectives to understand the question, “Did we accomplish our goal?”

Rebuild the Dream’s Goal = Do not let Congress double the rates of student Stafford loans.

Let’s assume these were their objectives:

    1. Produce a video with 15,000+ viewership.

2.   Encourage 3,000+ letters to the editor.

3.   Influence 15,000+ phone calls to influence legislation.

If Rebuild the Dream accomplished the above objectives it would indicate their original goal would be accomplished.

Rebuild the Dream took out a full page advertisement in Politico on this issue, which was crowdfunded, and followed up on that action with digital advocacy tools to round out the campaign.

Things to know about student loan debt#DontDoubleMyRate

Blogging, email marketing, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook spread awareness and encouraged supporters to pressure legislators after the ad appeared in the DC paper.

The most important part…what happened before the ad appeared in the newspaper?

Rebuild the Dream began publishing content over four weeks prior to the date Congress needed to take action.




Blog posts:

Email Marketing

An email was sent to supporters included contact information for their perspective representatives to call on regarding the legislation. The email automatically targeted my geographic location and instructed me to call Senators Menendez and Lautenberg. I was provided their phone numbers, as well as Rebuild the Dream’s brief and informative updates on the issue.

Twitter Hashtag

Rebuild the Dream used the #DontDoubleMyRate hashtag to raise awareness about the advertisement with tweets like “If Congress doesn’t act, student loan rates will double in 8 days. #DontDoubleMyRate”. Many tweets also featured a link to the advertisement.

Politicians found clever ways to inject themselves into the conversation by creating landing pages with sign up lists to add the pressure on congress. The below tweet from Obama includes the hashtag in combination with a link to action.

Citizens were even spreading the word by cross sharing instagram photos on their twitter account coupled with the #dontdoublemyrate hashtag:

Student loan rates double

While politicians, advocacy groups and the average citizen were involved in pushing Congress to come to a tentative agreement to not double the rates of Stafford student loans, Rebuild the Dream highlighted on their Twitter account the statistics from their crowdfunded campaign:

Rebuild the Dream on Twitter

This is an excellent example of being able to benchmark and show actual results from a digital advocacy campaign.

Facebook Marketing

The Facebook page for Rebuild The Dream immediately posted an electronic version of the advertisement, and let their followers know that this was the beginning of their weeklong campaign. The poster was shared over 200 times on Facebook. Throughout the week, Rebuild The Dream posted status updates relating to the campaign, encouraging followers to call their Senators and updating followers on the movement of the legislation.

Interaction of Traditional Media and New Media

In addition to gaining traction on social media outlets, Rebuild the Dream sent timely calls to action and updates via email throughout the week. This campaign displayed an exciting mix of print media, digital media, and online advocacy. Most effective campaigns cannot operate within a one-dimensional advocacy strategy, so it is important to identify the appropriate uses of each form of media and how each one brings a unique audience, and thereby new supporters, with it. Digital advocacy is all about identifying new and innovative ways to use digital media to strengthen traditional advocacy efforts.

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