Part 1 - Getting Started With Advocacy
This user guide is broken up into three sections to help you get the most out of Advocacy powered by The SoftEdge. The three sections are; Getting Started with Advocacy powered by The SoftEdge, All About Actions, and Tracking Legislators, Bills and More.
- What is Advocacy powered by The SoftEdge?
- Understanding Advocacy Powered by The SoftEdge
- Reporting on Advocacy
What is Advocacy Powered by The SoftEdge?
Advocacy powered by The Soft Edge is a complete advocacy site system which has been integrated into your Databank. Advocacy powered by The SoftEdge is an easy-to-use platform with sophisticated engagement features such as:
- Create Actions which your Activists use to communicate with elected representatives or custom recipients of your choice.
- Elected representatives are automatically chosen dependent upon your activist's address.
- Create Advocacy campaigns to track response rates.
- Track your Activist’s actions in your Databank
- Track bills and votes at the state or federal level.
- Provide social sharing links in Actions to encourage the spread of your message.
- Use built-in reports to gather detailed insights and analysis.
- Be a resource for your Activists with comprehensive information about their elected representatives and voter registration.
How to Access Advocacy powered by The Soft Edge
Your advocacy software is integrated into your Databank. The back end, your user dashboard is accessible from the Advocacy menu in your Databank. The front end, what your activists see, is visible on the web at your SoftEdge Action site.
- Login to your Databank
- Click Advocacy > Actions
- Land on the Dashboard. This provides an immediate snapshot of activity on your site. You can access a full list of reports containing detailed analysis in the drop down menu at the top. This page is accessible through the Dashboard link in the top menu or the Sections menu on the left.
Understanding Advocacy powered by The SoftEdge
To understand the Advocacy software in your Databank, we must first establish some definitions within the advocacy software and then explain how it integrates with your Databank.
Advocacy powered by The SoftEdge is available with different levels of licensing. The available licenses are federal or for individual states. A license can be purchased for a single state, federal only, federal and state, or multiple states.
CongressWeb is SoftEdge’s front facing website. What this means is that everything you publish through your Advocacy software is published to your organization’s CongressWeb site. Your SoftEdge site will usually be located at www.congressweb.com/AAA, where AAA is the acronym of your organization. You can choose to use your CongressWeb site as your advocacy site, or you can choose to embed it in your own website using an iframe.
If you use CongressWeb as your advocacy site, all links will bring people to your CongressWeb site (www.congressweb.com/AAA). If you use an iframe, your links will bring people to a page on your website (AAA.com/take-action). Throughout this guide, whenever we refer to something being published or located on your CongressWeb site, that will also be reflected if your advocacy site is embedded on your own website.
Here is a comparison of thedatabank’s Advocacy demo site on CongressWeb and as an embedded iframe.
Embedded iframe https://www.thedatabank.com/our-nonprofit/our-nonprofit-take-action/#
Note: Anything published or visible on your CongressWeb site will also be visible in an embedded iframe.
Actions describe the actual things you are asking your Activists to do. Actions can take many forms and can be handled in a few different ways. One key component of an action however, is that it is an active step taken by your activist to engage in the political process. This engagement can take a number of different forms.
The different types of actions taken by your activists can be:
- An email message to an elected representative, or custom recipient of your choice.
- A scripted phone call to an elected representative, or custom recipient of your choice.
- A physical letter or fax sent to an elected representative, or custom recipient of your choice.
- A petition to which your activists can add their name.
- A letter to the editor sent to your activists’ local press.
Completed Actions are the result of your activists responding to an Action Alert and are sent to a Recipient.
Action Alert can refer to a few different things when using Advocacy powered by The SoftEdge.
- The first step you take when creating an Advocacy Action
- The message you send to your Activists encouraging them to take action. This is what is meant most often when referring to Action Alerts in this manual.
- The publication in your Databank which Activists are subscribed to after completing an Action.
Activists are the people you are encouraging to act. If someone is not already in your Databank, taking an action will pull their information into your Databank.
The Recipient is the individual, or organization, which is intended as the recipient of activist’s actions. Recipients can either be selected automatically based upon the address of your activist, such as their elected state representative, or the recipient can be custom entered.
Advocacy powered by The SoftEdge has the ability to automatically select the appropriate Recipient for an Action based upon the activist’s address, the type of license (federal or state), and the chosen type of recipient (State House, U.S. Senate, etc.).
In your Databank, campaigns are a broad way of organizing your appeals. Campaigns are used in our Fundraising software as a way to organize fundraising appeals. In PowerMail they are used to organize mail campaigns, and in Advocacy powered by The SoftEdge, campaigns are used to represent your Activist appeals. Every action has its own campaign automatically generated when the action is published to CongressWeb.
Your dashboard is your “landing page” when you launch your Advocacy software. From the dashboard you can get a big picture view of the ways in which your various Actions are performing. You can create new Actions, and view and download a variety of reports based upon different criteria.
Reports available from The SoftEdge are listed below in the Reports section of this manual.
A Facebook app is available for all clients with Advocacy powered by The SoftEdge. You can choose which actions to publish to Facebook. Actions published to the app are accessible to visitors to your Facebook page and they will go through the same steps they would as on your CongressWeb site.
Click here after logging into your organization’s Facebook page to add the app to your page.
Your Databank provides two additional reports which will allow you to gain insight into the actions of your Activists. The Databank reports differ from the SoftEdge reports available in your dashboard in a significant way. The reports provided by SoftEdge are focused entirely on the actions taken within your advocacy site alone. The reports provided by thedatabank are integrated within your Databank and allow you to select members from within your Databank and see the results of your PowerMail campaigns.
The SoftEdge is action focused, your Databank is activist focused.
Databank Advocacy Reports
The Databank Advocacy reports are found in your Advocacy menu.
Click Advocacy > Reports
Advocacy Active Members
The Advocacy Active members reports provides information on your most engaged activists.
Click here for more information on using the Advocacy Active Members report.
PowerMail Action Summary
By using the action’s campaign with your PowerMail Alert, you can generate detailed insights into the behavior of your activists and the success of your Advocacy actions.
Click here for more information on using the PowerMail Action Summary.
SoftEdge Advocacy Reports
The SoftEdge Advocacy reports are all available from your Advocacy Dashboard.
Among the reports included are:
- Activity by Issue
- Activity by State
- Legislator Summary Report
- Recipient Report
- Activity by User
- Activity by Legislator
- Download Users
Click here for a full explanation of all the SoftEdge reports.
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