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Deep Dive Breakout 2: Engaging Stakeholders in Rural or Underserved Communities

October 28 @ 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Learn how to engage hard to reach or underserved communities, make the most of what you have, and leverage some of the unique higher level connections that arise in smaller communities. Panelists will also discuss ways to keep track of what’s going on when you have limited people on the ground.


Learning Objectives:

– How does your organization use data effectively to reach these audiences?
– How do you change your approach for each demographic?
– Does ‘generalizing’ work in this instance? How do you challenge assumptions?
– Provide examples of relevant campaigns.


Speakers: Helena Hernandez (Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine), Kate Tremont (American Kidney Fund), Leigh Claffey (Growth Energy), Matt Mandel (The Wireless Infrastructure Association)

Learning objective: how does your organization use data effectively to reach these audiences?

  •  Using data to identify gaps, target outreach
    • Analyzing data is critical to finding caps and weak spots
      • Is this message resonating with this audience/area?
      • Is this medium/platform the best for this issue/audience?
        • Rural audiences might have different ways they need to be reached, for example, using out of home advertisements instead of digital
      • What can we adjust to maximize reach?
    • Check your data metrics regularly, if you give the data regular upkeep, you will be more likely to find the trends.
  • From program data to personal outreach
    • Standard data collection methods don’t always work with our advocate population
      • Sometimes you have to go ‘old school’
        • Postcards, banners, etc. get people’s attention
        • Banners: put some kind of unique text number/contact/etc in order to track the data of who is utilizing it. Helps quantify the impact of out of home
        • Find priority locations that might help your cause – thinking about infrastructure, what highways, bridges, repeat locations are your audience going to?
        • The key is to meet them where they are 
    • Pairing Phone2Action/Luminate online and digital advocacy with a personal touch
      • Limited access to the internet makes data gathering hard
      • Phone banking with a personal touch, and a smaller audience, can often resonate. Taking the time to explain the impact on your constituents can be very impactful, but it takes a lot of time.
    • Finding and building relationships with dedicated advocates
    • Connecting with patients in our grant programs


Learning objective: how do you change your approach for each demographic?

  • American Kidney Fund case study: A variety of needs and approaches
    • Limited to no internet access
      • Low income
      • Phone access only
      • Elderly
      • Rural
    • Accessibility challenges
      • Dialysis schedules – health requirements?
      • Transplant accommodation – travel restrictions/vulnerability issues?
      • Virtual meetings – more accessible, but what if they don’t have internet?
  • You don’t need massive numbers, depending on the issue, the key is dedicated champions that are engaged and have a relationship with you
  • Different approaches
    • Key things to know: knowing the audience in that state, knowing the legislative landscape in that state, and knowing how to get advocates information in a relevant and timely way
      • Social media
      • Newsletters
        • State liaison network
          • As more restrictive legislation arises, people may want to become more involved
        • Special delivery
      • Educational offerings
      • Microsite
        • Allowing for story sharing, can bring to light issues that you may not be aware of yet, and can help you connect your advocates together
      • Advocacy campaigns
        • Action alerts
        • Allow your members to inform you on issues you might not be privy to – connect your members together to allow for a network to form
    • Relationship building is important, especially when you have both a national and state advocacy plan. Rural communities can easily get lost because they’re harder to reach, so you have to intentionally work to include them
    • Expect some distrust – building strong coalitions on the ground can help combat that 
      • Finding people/cultural staples that connect with a more rural audience can be hugely impactful. NASCAR racers, country musicians, etc


Learning objective: does ‘generalizing’ work in this instance? How do you challenge assumptions?

  • Adapting to new landscapes, challenges
    • Political landscapes: educating our advocates to their audience
      • Republicans: jobs, economic benefits
      • Democrats: innovation, sustainable farming practices, carbon reduction efforts
    • Social landscapes: engaging a younger demographic with climate-conscious messaging
      • More digital outreach vs traditional email/earned media
    • Accessibility: implementing multi-pronged approaches to reach advocates with varying levels of tech
      • Zoom, mobile-friendly, text codes, video messages


Learning objective: examples of relevant campaigns?

  • AKF case study example: Increasing protections for living donors
    • Combined state and federal campaign 
    • Finding advocates for state campaigns to build momentum
      • Using momentum on the state level to see if a campaign is viable on the national level
    • Methods of outreach
      • Phone banking, having them call their rep or coordinating a phone meeting
    • Hill day and other methods build momentum on the federal level
  • Accessibility and personalization was key
    • Focused heavily on grassroots
  • Society for Maternal/Fetal Medicine case study: expanding access to reproductive health care
    • Integrate family planning and reproductive health care into MFM provider education, research, and advocacy
    • Advocacy efforts
      • State
        • Think of contingency plans for at-risk states, prep as far in advance as you can, use the political landscape and recent leg in other states to help predict what may happen
        • In purple states, use those as battlegrounds to try to make some positive legislation happen, play offense rather than defense
      • Federal
        • General protests that can help drive/shape conversation, shed light on issues
      • Judicial
        • Mobilizing people around SCOTUS decisions or legislation being deliberated
    • State liaison network
      • Grasstops
    • Coalitions 
      • Using them to help spread your efforts and make the best use of your energy


General takeaways

  • Primarily important is meeting people where they are. You will not reach your audience or shift their perspective if you’re trying to change their habits, core values, and culture
  • Think of collective investment – who are the audiences on the outskirts that are connected to the issue, or connected to your primary audience, and will speak up for them
    • You can use this to address how to target regulatory bodies, certain legislators, etc. the goal is to be able to make your issue relevant to everyone
  • Depending on the issue – distill what you can gather on how to reach those that are hard to contact. How do you include these people? How do you make them feel welcome to the conversation?


October 28
11:30 am - 12:30 pm
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