Contacting influential people – whether they’re newspaper editors or MPs – can be a little like walking a tightrope. You know they’re busy people so you don’t want to hassle them unnecessarily; but you really want to engage them with your latest news, ideas, campaign . . .
Here’s some strategies that have worked for me:
- Do your research. Do you know someone who knows them? Perhaps they can give you an insight into the editor’s future scheduling; or an issue that’s keeping the MP awake at night.
- Keep the e-mail short, simple and straight to the point.
- Have these three key sentences ready: an introduction proving that you know something about the person; why you’re contacting them; and what your idea, offer or question is.
- Include your URL in signature. Make it easy for people to contact you.
- Be realistic and generous. Thank them in advance for any help they can offer. If you don’t get a response, don’t take it personally. Follow-up though.
- Write short, descriptive subject lines that give the reader a reason to open up. So you really need to know your audience. What’s important to them at the moment?
If you want to know more:
How to email important people
Best practice in writing email subject lines
Perfect subject lines
Do you have an email tip to share? Please do add a comment; and why not follow me on twitter @businesses4good.
1. Be realistic. We’d all like to have a magic wand but only the fairy queen has one.
2. Be clear about your outcomes. An outcome is not the activity itself (serving lunch to a group of older people who currently live at home) but the impact it has on their lives (it might increase their confidence eg ).
3. Be aware outcomes come in three shapes:
Individual: Frank feels much more confident.
Service level: 10 people are able to stay independent at home.
Strategic: More people can live the life they want.
4. Be rigorous about how you’re going to measure success.
5. Be careful to get buy-in from all relevant departments.
6. Be open. You might have to change your mind.
7. Be respectful of evidence. Experiment. Do a pilot.
8. Be clear about who’s meant to be doing what.
9. Be sure to encourage constructive feedback from all staff.
10.Be honest. Will this really make people’s lives better?
If you want to know more about outcomes-based policy development helpful reads are:
NCVO’s Measuring and Commissioning Outcomes and Social Value and The experience of the use of outcomes-based commissioning in Camden.
Hope this has been useful. Why not give me a shout if there’s a policy issue that’s keeping you awake at night. Please follow me on twitter @businesses4good.
Looking forward to running Campaign With Impact Workshop next week on behalf of Get Involved Reading. One of the first challenges we’ll probably face together is to accept that campaigning means different things to different people. This may sound simple but 20 years of colourful, campaign experience has taught me that people tend to believe that it’s one of the three things: fighting a war, raising awareness or having a conversation with people.
All three hold some truth:
- When you’re fighting a war it helps if you’re clear about you objective, strategy and tactics.
- When you’re raising awareness you’re looking outwards and focusing on building alliances.
- When you’re having a conversation with people you’re thinking about how you can effectively influence ideas, behaviours and attitudes.
Some things you might like to look at if you’re interested in how to:
Other posts of mine you might like, if you like this one:
Stakeholder mapping: it sounds scary but it ain’t necessarily so
Oh let me in: social media and policy development
Creating a public affairs strategy/3: What does success look like?
If you’ve found this of use it’d be good to hear from you, perhaps add a comment at end. Please do follow me on twitter @businesses4good. You’ll pick up lots of communication and influencing tips.
Quick answers to someone confused by Autumn statement.
What is it? The autumn statement is an update on the government’s plans based on the latest forecasts from the Office of Budget Responsibility.
How can I get on top of the main points quickly? BBC news
And if I need a bit more detail? Treasury documents and regional map.
Or you could try out politics.co.uk and the Guardian’s autumn statement charts
Hope this helps. If it did why not leave a comment. Oh and please do follow me on twitter @busineses4good.
Someone recently came for advice on how to design an effective communication plan to manage a new project. A good place to start is to draw up a stakeholder map. This is a map of people, groups and organisations who might be interested in your project. For instance, a list of stakeholders for a medium-sized charity might have politicians (local and national), journalists (local, regional and national), think tanks, local community groups, staff, volunteers, donors and funders.
A stakeholder map has an axis for interest – the level of interest someone has in the project because it’ll either impact on them; and another for influence – the level of influence or power an individual has in shaping the project and it’s direction.
Someone’s position on the grid shows you the type of interaction and communication that would be helpful to success.
High Influence, High Interest: These are the people you must fully engage and make the greatest efforts to satisfy. They are “key players”. Regular communications and face-to-face meetings are a must either 121 or as a group.
High Influence, Low Interest: Keep satisfied but not so much that they become bored with your message. You may need their help in the future.
Low Influence, High Interest: Collect feedback from this group to make sure that no new issues are coming up. Tailor your communications to their needs. They’re often essential to the detail and success of the plan. Often in-house.
Low Influence, Low Interest: People who simply need to be kept informed. Don’t bore them with excessive communication.
If you are interested in digging deeper on this subject then it’s worth having a look at:
Please do follow me on twitter @businesses4good. I’d love to hear if you found this of value. Please do leave a comment.