Movement Strategies for Better World Business
2020 Election Edition
We’re nearing the end of 2020, and to say we have a lot to reflect on would be an extreme understatement. Social, environmental, and political spaces have all changed drastically since the turn of the new year, and the standards held for brands and businesses have changed along with them. While organizing, community-building, and grassroots advocacy – reserved most frequently for nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups – remains critical, LOACOM is delighted to see businesses stepping up to the plate to help facilitate progressive change.
An acumen for community organizing is not normally considered a traditional building block for business, but with the current state of the world, holding deep knowledge of the power of grassroots advocacy has emerged as somewhat of a differentiator. LOACOM is lucky to have years of experience in this space.
In their college years, our founders positioned themselves as student leaders tackling the important issues facing their community, thereby birthing LOACOM (albeit at an early stage) out of pressing local movements. These included local elections, oil extraction, habitat and species preservation, coastal access, gender equality, tenant rights, and more.
In those early days, a few key ingredients made it all work: an organization students felt connected to, an issue which directly impacted the student community, late-night strategy sessions, a tight group of friends working towards a common cause, key collaborators and allies, and a bunch of intangibles — food, music, the outdoors, and everything in between. All of these provided the critical energy needed to feed and sustain student activation over months and years.
Fast forward 25 years and the issues really haven’t changed. In fact, in many ways, they’ve gotten worse. But, the template for collective impact hasn’t changed either. Underpinning LOACOM’s core business strategy today is a fundamental belief in the power of people to do good things, and to do these good things together. LOACOM clients reflect this belief. Whether the issue is healthy soils, sustainably produced food, clean seas, intersectional environmentalism, climate action, community empowerment, or philanthropic change-making, our clients are committed to people and planet. Individually, they continue to accomplish great things…
…but together, we accomplish more.
HOW WE MOVE
Most recently, as the gravity of the 2020 election bore down on the country, LOACOM clients and partners joined forces in deploying some of the same organizing strategies that our founders had first cultivated at the University of California at Santa Barbara (these strategies are not unique to us, and are only a sliver of a broader range of strategies/tactics used by organizers the world over). Below are some of the ways that LOACOM and our peers used their business savvy, networks, and financial resources to help drive Get Out the Vote (GOTV) efforts nationwide in one of the most critical elections of our time.
In addition to having a set of internal policies incentivizing employees to participate in the electoral process on an ongoing basis, LOACOM got down to good ol’ fashion letter writing. A group of volunteer postcard writers, which LOACOM formed and managed, quite literally put pen to paper in order to encourage voter turnout in key states. Working under the Center for Common Ground’s Reclaim our Vote campaign, LOACOM coordinated over 75 writers in the writing and mailing of over 8,000 handwritten postcards to voters in critical states like Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia. While we can’t be exactly sure of the impact, we are all but certain that our efforts turned out at least a few new voters. And with the election outcome as tight as it was, we feel good knowing we played a small role in getting people to the polls. In addition to letter writing, team LOA put together a vote tripling campaign designed to encourage friends to vote, as well as a voting resource guide for those unsure of where or how to cast their ballots.
Long time friends, clients, and change-making partners, All Good, used their internal and external networks to further spread the GOTV message. This fellow B Corp and 1% for the Planet member joined LOACOM in our postcard writing campaign, committing all staff to the writing and mailing of 1,500 postcards. They went a step further by dedicating their social media platforms to include specific GOTV messaging to their customer base. From Instagram highlights to in-feed posts to newsletters, All Good encouraged thousands of individuals within the United States to vote.
The B Corp family, of which LOACOM is a part, utilized its network of progressively minded businesses to develop and deploy a series of resources for its business members to share with voters. These included marketing assets and a variety of messaging and talking points for communicating with customers, fans, and the larger community. With a global network of over 3,600 companies committed to social, environmental, and community-based change, these resources were leveraged and shared thousands of times over. We couldn’t be more honored to be a part of this progressive business consortium.
A recent partner of LOACOM, The Redford Center worked with LOACOM and a number of national collaborators to leverage the power of filmmaking in activating environmental voters in the political process. Designed as an evergreen GOTV campaign titled #PowerTheVote, a core group of distribution partners grew to include the Sierra Club, Amazon Watch, Outdoor Afro, Voto Latino, B Lab (B Corp), musician Jack Johnson, actress Patricia Arquette, and dozens of others, resulting in over a half-million impressions and 230,000 video views in less than two weeks!
The above efforts are just a snippet of the incredible work that can result when people, organizations, and even for-profit companies, work together authentically towards a clear goal. GOTV efforts are just one of the many, many critical issues facing society that will require similar levels of strategy, collaboration, creativity, action, and inspiration.
And while the nonprofit sector and community organizations have the expertise, strategy, and leadership to tackle these issues head-on, the progressive business community has the flexibility, nimbleness, financial capital, customer base, and more to significantly bolster social change efforts.
Years ago, Margaret Mead wrote “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” In the days and weeks ahead, we will continue to heed Ms. Mead’s words as we apply them at the corporate level, building collectively towards the better world we know is possible.
To learn more about how to activate your business around the movements that matter most to you, give us a shout.