The Amplification Project highlights the need for data in digital advocacy on complex issues

Data on issues such as foreclosure should be presented in user-friendly ways.

Data is often misrepresented, inaccessible or simply absent from digital advocacy efforts on complex policy issues. Using data and research, and packaging it in an engaging formats, can inform the policy debate and enhance your digital advocacy impact. This is not merely an intellectual exercise; rather, policy issues affect citizens every day in ways they often do not understand. Citizens could advocate for important policy changes if they had better access to data, presented in user-friendly, even entertaining, ways. One example of a complex policy issue is the foreclosure crisis. Stakeholders who will benefit from data-backed digital advocacy on this issue include advocacy groups, concerned citizens, homeowners and counseling agencies.

Data-backed digital advocacy on the foreclosure crisis will help various stakeholders

  • Advocacy groups will have better educational materials to support their lobbying efforts;
  • Concerned citizens will have tools to help them understand and become engaged in the issue;
  • Homeowners will have a better understanding of what could get them into a difficult situation on their mortgage, and will also help them to deal with the pending threat of foreclosure should they face it;
  • Counseling organizations will benefit from broad public education on this issue, so they can focus on helping troubled homeowners and spend less time providing basic information.

Making essential data accessible to advocacy groups is critical to build support for their efforts

It is clear that the issues surrounding the foreclosure crisis are complicated and the data produced on the subject can be dense. Analyzing the details of legislation crafted to deal with the problem is more confusing still, including for legislators themselves, who have to analyze countless other issues on a daily basis. Digital advocates must apply clear data and research to analyze proposed legislation on the foreclosure crisis, because legislators often expect advocates to explain the legislation to help them comprehend why they should support or oppose it.

Data will be useful to provide a broad overview of the problem, as well as address more intricate issues

Beyond lobbying legislators, it will behoove digital advocates to enhance the public’s knowledge of the foreclosure crisis as well. A broad overview of the background information on the foreclosure crisis will be useful to those new to the topic. One widely cited data source that helps identify broad trends in foreclosures is the RealtyTrac survey. Quantitative data helps to depict the breadth and depth of a problem.

More intricate data points, which address contentious points surrounding the crisis, can help citizens form their own opinions on the issue. For example, yesterday the Washington Post reported on testimony given by a Wells Fargo loan officer about the firm’s lending practices. Examining qualitative data, such as transcripts of testimony, can help win support and persuade your opponents.

A better understanding of the foreclosure crisis, by advocates and by the public, will help inform the public debate on this issue, inform legislators striving to remedy the crisis and help those on the ground assisting struggling homeowners. Experts and analysts should work to produce digital advocacy tools to enhance access to the valuable data and research they have produced on the foreclosure crisis.

The Amp Project’s digital advocacy blog will continue to highlight quality research and data on public policy issues to help digital advocates arm themselves with data!





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