9203 Mike Garcia Dr, Manassas, VA 20109 540 428 7000 info@grassrootcomunication.com

Exciting News!! We’re Moving!

Exciting News!! We’re Moving!

GRC will be down on Wednesday February 21st as we will be moving to our new location! We will be back up and answering emails and phones on Thursday February 22nd. In the mean time, please feel free to email us and we will get back to you as soon as possible! – GRC Team


We’re reaching out to you with some very exciting news: we’re growing!
After nearly 18 years at our current location, we’re moving to a new, expanded location.
Our new address is:
9203 Mike Garcia Drive, Manassas VA 20109

We will have lots of news in the upcoming months on how the move will help us serve you better. For now, however, the most important information we want to convey is how the move will affect you.

Our final day of production in the current location is Wednesday, Feb. 21.
We then move our entire operation to our new facility. We expect to be up and running 100% by March 1 at the latest. Our goal is to minimize the production downtime, but for your planning purposes, please assume that no jobs will be delivered from Feb. 21 – Feb. 28.

If you’re working on projects with us that you need before March 1, we encourage you to reach out to us asap to ensure we can meet your timeline. Simply put, the sooner you get current projects in to us, the better!

Please reach out to us with any questions. We appreciate your patience during this process and are looking forward to serving you from our new location!

Sherene Rapoport
VP of Sales and Marketing
Grassroot Communication

Ph: 540.428.7000 x3032
Fax: 540.428.2000
E: sherene@grassrootcommunication.com

We’re now Grass Root Communication.

Ever since our company was founded in 1986, we’ve been helping organizations grow by creating compelling, results-oriented outreach campaigns. We’ve continued to evolve, and—responding to our clients’ needs—take on larger roles in helping them with their outreach strategies.

As part of this evolution, we’ve rebranded our company to better reflect the role we play in supporting you.
We’re now Grass Root Communication.

While our name has changed, our goal remains the same: we’re completely focused on helping organizations of all types share their core message with their supporters.

One thing that our 31 years in business has taught us is that grass-roots strategies play integral roles in almost all outreach efforts—from initial pushes to campaigns created for large organizations that have been in business for years.

Equipped with that knowledge, we’ve shifted our focus to ensure that every campaign we touch benefits from both our production skills and our strategic insight. Our new name reflects this change.

Effective grass roots outreach involves a large degree of personalization backed by data gleaned from impeccable sources and accurate lists. Finding that data to empower personalized communication has long been a hallmark of our approach.

For instance, our targeted direct-mail campaigns take advantage of persuasive appeal letters designed to inspire our org’s constituents to take bold action-adopting the organization’s goals as their own. Thus, just as grass roots movements aim to mobilize citizens from the ground up, our personalized direct mail campaigns target those very same people on the ground in their homes by engaging them in an honest conversation.

As we continue to sharpen our focus on creating and managing complete campaigns, you’ll be getting the same high-quality offerings you’ve come to expect from GRC, just more of it. More data, more personalization, and more original content creation.

In the future, we will continue developing our social media and email marketing services to synergize with our micro-targeted direct mail strategies. We will find new ways to combine data science with content marketing so that we can deliver a highly effective omnichannel engagement experience for your org’s donors and members.

So from all of us, we officially welcome you to the new GRC.
We look forward to playing a role in your continued success.



Sherene Rapoport
VP Sales and Marketing


How They Might Keep DACA from Dying

Much has been said about President Trump’s decision to end the ‘Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals’, program. The program was put into place by the Obama administration and its purpose was to shield the children of undocumented immigrants who were very young when they were brought to the country illegally. But even though this protection only applies to a narrow group of individuals who were technically illegal residents, many have perceived the program as not just immigration reform, but full on amnesty.

In any case, if Congress does not pass its own version of DACA within the next six months, all beneficiaries of the program- about 800,000 “Dreamers” will be forced to leave the country, despite having been socially and culturally naturalized over the past few decades.

This dire situation illustrates the need for orgs advocating on behalf of minority groups, (like Dreamers) to have an engagement strategy ready to go in order to mobilize support. In fact, Trump’s decision didn’t really come as a shock; he made it one of his campaign promises to gut the program. Progressive orgs fighting for amnesty should have built a series of campaigns that could be deployed quickly in response to President Trump’s decision.

Now, more than ever, orgs like the National Immigration Law Center, Educators for Fair Consideration, and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference need to leverage the techniques of fundraising and peer to peer organization in order to put pressure on lawmakers. Converting those who already empathize with Dreamers isn’t really the issue, the challenge is getting ordinary Americans voters to jump on board for the cause. For this task, the tools of personalized communications and targeted appeals are indispensable. The orgs advocating for action need to illustrate how the mass deportation of young, productive, and well-adjusted immigrants would adversely affect the lives of ordinary people. Narrative- based campaigns must tell the Dreamers’ story in a way that speaks to the innate American values of freedom, opportunity, and meritocracy that most citizens of this nation possess.

nterestingly, data analytics can be brought to bear on the monumental task of converting voters on the fence with regard to the issue of amnesty. By obtaining some simple background information on the people who have been targeted by the org to receive campaign materials, the message in the appeal sent to them can be tailored to best connect with each audience segment. Most likely, those advocacy groups running the influence campaign pre-selected their target audience based on factors such as their political leaning, their interests, and even the causes they donated to in the past. The same sort of psychographic dimensions can suggest which specific argument should be made to each type of audience member.

For example, if we know that the target prospect is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, the appeal sent to him should emphasize DACA beneficiaries are vital to American businesses, both small and large. Letting this prospective supporter know that almost 75% of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies employ Dreamers, according to the Center for American Progress might depend on the reader’s political affiliation, given that it is left-leaning think tank!

The point is that the appeal letters’ language, substance, and style must be tweaked depending on who the letter is being sent to. For Advocacy orgs, especially, the arguments they present- whether they appeal to reason or passion- must be crafted to resonate with the target audiences personal beliefs, biases, and concerns.

This is the next generation of advocacy campaigning, and only time will tell if the orgs fighting to save DACA have what it takes to save the Dreamers.
Need help with your org’s fundraising and acquisitions? Call us.

What’s Your Organization’s Corporate Giving Strategy?

“In this maelstrom, the most clarifying voice has been the voice of business. These CEOs have taken the risk to speak truth to power.” 
– Darren Walker, the President of the Ford Foundation and a Board Member at Pepsi Co.

After the firestorm kicked off by President Trump’s dithering about condemning white supremacists and New- Nazis, it seems that business leaders have stepped in to fill the political vacuum by explicitly promoting racial justice and other progressive values. CEOs always take a risk when they become involved in fraught social debates; that they have chosen to do so illustrates the pressure being placed on them by their customers.

This corporate activism is a natural consequence of the increasing politicization of American life. Consumers don’t just want to consume; they want to advocate, and they want their brands to advocate with them. All these underscores the growing popularity and influence of grassroots organizations. As the President’s actions make clear, the traditional party structure that has driven generations of voters to voice their beliefs can no longer be counted on to speak up on behalf o minorities or marginalized groups. Those who push for racial equality, human rights, and other critical causes must unite on their own outside of the two-party apparatus.

And now, large corporations have indicated that they too wish to join the movement. For Advocacy orgs, this means their engagement strategy must include a corporate-giving component if CEOs and board members are eager to get inspired to support orgs like yours. It doesn’t need to be a Fortune 500 company, consider local small businesses and their customers as part of your target audience. And like the rest of your donors, you should send personalized communications to pique their interest as well as appeal to issues they hold dear. As Howard Shults, the Chairman of Starbucks notes, “ The reason people are speaking up is that we are fighting for what we love and believe in, and that is the idealism and the aspiration of America, the promise of America, the America that we all know and hold so true.”

Prominent business leaders in our community are primed and ready to hear from your org. And lucky for them, social and political advocacy happens to be your business.

And helping orgs like yours is our business.
Let us help you expand your target audience and base of support.

Pushing Through Fake News

Are we entering the Fake News Era? Judging by headlines generated from across the U.S. political spectrum, it would be easy to conclude so.

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center shows that about half of the respondents—”technologists, scholars, practitioners, strategic thinkers and others” selected unscientifically by Pew—believe that the problem is here to stay. [http://www.pewinternet.org/2017/10/19/the-future-of-truth-and-misinformation-online/]

While that may sound depressing from a big-picture standpoint, it’s also an opportunity for content producers. And if you’re in the business of generating donor-driven revenue or adding members, you should be in this category.

Fake News

Simply put, your audience looks to you for guidance on the issues that are important to you. Sharing relevant facts—from simple statistics to detailed pieces of research—is one way you can help engage your members, donors, or target audience. More importantly, you can be a trusted source that helps shield them from the “fake news” syndrome.

How does this work in practice? Say you’re a charity that supports providing subsidized pet spaying and neutering. You can blog about how many homeless pets are handled by your community’s shelters, and how not all of them end up in new homes. Instead of simply relying on basic statements—”spaying your pet is good for everyone,” or worse, having false statements (“fake news”) shape the narrative, point out the ramifications of not supporting your position: some unwanted pets do not find homes, and are euthanized as a result.

Sharing real-world stories and verifiable data that underscore your position is an ideal way to gain trust. Gaining trust is a key step in ensuring that prospects become donors and/or members—and keeping them in the fold.

Fundraising: The Year-end Push

The last few months of the year are filled with much joy and reflection—from warm gatherings to celebrate holidays to looking back over the last 12 or so months to see what’s been accomplished.

For fundraisers, the time is often hectic, however, as year-end donor pushes are often what make or break a year.

If you are planning a donor push as 2017 comes to an end (or 2018 kicks off)—don’t panic. Even if you’re in the midst of developing your toolbox (how’s that analysis of your data coming along?, you can still put together a solid campaign that delivers results.

The key: have a plan, and execute it.

The incredibly useful Supporting Fundraising blog has the perfect post  to help you sort out the basics for a well-constructed fundraising plan. It breaks the process down into four steps, which we’ve outlined below, adding some of our own insight.

1) Know your donors and your prospects

Understanding who will give and who may give is the foundation of any fundraising campaign. This starts with identifying who has given, and who has expressed interest in giving. Knowing this ensures you are sending the appropriate message to each segment, and will improve your conversion rates.

2) Use multiple channels

This is a message we communicate often, but it can’t be said enough: if you rely on just one type of outreach, such as an appeal letter, phone calls, or online donations, you are not maximizing your potential returns. Simply put, people respond better when exposed multiple times to the same (or very similar) messages. Plan a letter and back it with social media or an ad. Include mentions of your campaign in routine communications, such as renewal notices for members or subscribers. Whatever the tactics you chose, choose more than one.

3) Leverage matching-gift opportunities

This can be an easy but effective way to boost donations. As Supporting Fundraising notes, you won’t know which of your donors are affiliated with organizations that match, so make sure you communicate the matching-gift opportunity in all of your outreach. This can be especially effective for new donors, who like to make as big an impact as possible right out of the gate.

4) Tap peer-to-peer power

In the fundraising world, few tactics are as effective as direct outreach to people in your circle. Start with the people you know, and ask them to extend the courtesy. While such outreach may not cover the same number of prospects as a direct-mail piece or an ad, the impact of tapping people you know directly can greatly boost the likelihood of a conversion.

As you approach your next campaign, remember to take a step back and come up with a simple yet well-thought-out plan that covers the basics: knowing your audience, connecting with them, boosting donation opportunities, and reaching out to those you can influence most.

Looking for help with a campaign or specific elements? We would love to hear from you! Contact us today for a short consultation.


Grassroot Jumpstart: Leveraging Your Data

Great copy, brilliant graphics, and a compelling offer can influence the effectiveness of your outreach campaign. But if you’re looking to get the most out of your marketing efforts, start with your data.

Having a deep, flexible dataset on your customers and prospects is the most important outreach asset you can have.

How robust is your dataset, and how effectively are you using it? If you’re not sure, let us show you—and help you get more data, as well as more out of the data you have.

FREE Consultation GRC

We will analyze your dataset and make recommendations on how it can improve. FREE.

Then, we’ll help you broaden and refine your targeting. We’ve partnered with industry leaders for analyzing donor data and appending relevant information to identify the most likely donors, and how to find more of them.

With 25% of U.S. households providing 80% of nonprofit donations, accurately targeting prospects has never been more important.

Several of our clients are among the 3% of nonprofits using data-driven tools—and they are seeing positive results.

Contact our Vice President of Marketing, Sherene Rapoport, to learn more about our  Grassroot Jumpstart: Data Enrichment program.

Email Sherene directly at sherene@grcdirect.com or 540.428.7000 to get started on your data-enrichment journey.

Social Media, News Consumption & Your Outreach Strategy

One of the keys to reaching a target audience—whether you are after members, donors, or customers—is understanding how they consume media. A recent Pew Research Center survey showed that news consumption—one of the main reason consumers use media—over social media channels is increasing.

The survey, done in August 2017, found that 67% of Americans get at least some of their news on social media. This is up slightly from August 2016, suggesting a steady upward trend.

Even more interesting are some of the demographic breakdowns.

For instance, the 2017 survey showed that more than half of respondents ages 50 and over get at least some news from social platforms. This is up 10% year-over-year, and also is the first time that more than half of the over-50 demographic report relying on social platforms for at least some news. Among those 50 and younger, the figure has stayed steady at about 78%.

Another interesting trend: use of social media among non-whites for news sources is up to 74% from 64% in 2016.

Not surprisingly, Facebook is the dominant social media platform for news consumption. Its massive user base—214 million and counting in the U.S.—explains this. But Pew found that a higher percentage of Facebook’s U.S. adult users—45%—get news on the site compared to other platforms. Another interesting wrinkle: 62% of Facebook’s news consumers are female.

The Pew report offers several useful takeaways for marketers, public relations pros and outreach directors. Among them: internet users are increasingly turning to social media for news, suggesting an increasing level of trust. If you are a content producer—and if you’re an association or have a cause you are raising awareness for, you should be—this means ensuring you are posting regular updates and sharing them via your social channels.

Pew Report

You should also be cognizant of how your platforms aggregate news. Are hashtags popular, for instance? Can you promote posts to boost exposure? Knowing your platforms and tailoring your strategy will help ensure your outreach is as fruitful as possible.

It also pays to know your target audiences, and how they use social platforms. The Pew study, which can be downloaded here, offers valuable insight that should help bolster, or at least refine, your outreach strategy.

Don’t forget to amuse!

“You don’t necessarily engage with a tweet the same why you’d engage with a real person.  Twitter is often thought of as a shallow, superficial thing.  In reality, there’s a lot of honest pathos and humanity in it” – Jonny Son, online comedian and twitter personality.

Your org’s twitter feed shouldn’t just be about shameless self-promotion.  There needs to be an entertainment factor as well.  In order to break through the noise, your online content must delight your audience.  So take a risk with something unconventional and entertaining.

5 Key Elements to a Successful Member Acquisition Program – Mapping your Member’s Journey – Part 2

Marketing Has Changed (sigh…)

Years ago, the practice of marketing was product-centric and focused on broad based societal values with little emphases on the individuality of the consumer. This worked as advertising/communications technology was only broad-based channels like TV, magazine circulation and radio.   We saw the beginning of “ad campaigns” to entice, impress and flatter the public using consumer motivational research to target specific markets. These campaigns became legendary to include “The Marlboro Man,” (Leo Burnett Co.)  “Maidenform Woman” (Norman, Craig & Kummel) and “Hathaway Shirt Man” (Ogilvy & Mather).Years ago, the practice of marketing was product-centric and focused on broad based societal values with little emphases on the individuality of the consumer. This worked as advertising/communications technology was only broad-based channels like TV, magazine circulation and radio.   We saw the beginning of “ad campaigns” to entice, impress and flatter the public using consumer motivational research to target specific markets. These campaigns became legendary to include “The Marlboro Man,” (Leo Burnett Co.)  “Maidenform Woman” (Norman, Craig & Kummel) and “Hathaway Shirt Man” (Ogilvy & Mather).

Today, in what is commonly referred to as “The Relationship Era,” prospects expect to be addressed individually. Mass advertising, and those techniques, are no longer financially practical.

Therefore, here are 5 key elements to consider in developing a successful member acquisition program:

1. Know Your Member 

To properly market membership, you must first clearly understand who your ideal member is, where they congregate and what their challenges are. All successful membership marketing initiatives begin from these three points.  To assist you in this you may want to create a Member Avatar or Persona.  You may have several personas with each including information on the target market that you will use to develop your strategic and tactical plans. It will influence your offer, where you promote, when you promote and every other aspect of your marketing. Your persona should contain the following information*:a. Goals and Valuesb. Sources of Informationc. Challenges & Pain Pointsd. Obstructions to Purchasee. Demographic Information*Source: Digital MarketerThe data necessary to complete your persona may well be taken from your personal experience, contained within your accounting and engagement data or collected using qualitative and quantitative research.

2. Personalize

First and foremost, personalize all of your communications.

3. Promoting the Offer

Use your persona to help determine your offer and key message points. In promoting your offer, your message should outline the benefits of membership and lead the prospect to the natural conclusion that membership is a viable solution to their personal and/or career challenges. A good format to follow is one commonly used by writers to develop a story:

ACT 1: Hook

ACT 2: Journey/Setback/New Challenge/Climax

ACT 3: Resolution/Take-away

Here’s a practical example of a membership promotion:

ACT 1: We recently reviewed our membership list against a list of leading <industry organization> and were surprised to find that you are not currently a member of the XXXX Association. Either our records are in error, or you have not yet activated your membership. Whatever the reason, I want to make sure that you have the opportunity to activate your membership with XXXXX Products Association today.

ACT 2: The XXXX Association is your most important resource for objective information about the XXXXX industry. When you activate your XXXX Association membership, you gain access to valuable tools, industry information and a network of business opportunities that give you immediate value.

The XXXX Association is THE Voice of the Industry!
•  Example 1
•  Example 2

XXXX MarketPlace Helps You Grow Your Business!
•  Example 1
•  Example 2XXXX Association is Your Source for Knowledge and EducationJoin the XXXX Association and you’ll receive instant access to important industry resources including: • XXXX Association Now – The association’s award-winning monthly newsletter…
• The ….—Our bi-monthly publication keeps you informed on industry news and the latest regulatory, legislative…
• Member Updates—Membership in the association keeps you up to date on fast-breaking up-to-the-minute news…

ACT 3: XXXX Association is your most important resource to success and business growth. Join the XXXXXX Association today and stay informed, connected, and gain a competitive advantage.

4. Multiple Channels

It is well-accepted that repetition plays an important role in moving a buyer from prospect to member.  Therefore, use multiple channels to reinforce your campaign as much as possible. We’ve found that response rates lifted to a direct mail campaign when multiple email efforts were added. In addition, social media is fast becoming a viable and targetable tool to support your acquisition campaigns.

5. Develop a Testing Strategy & Track Your Results Marketing is about testing.

Nobody knows what will work. If we did, we’d all be billionaires. Unfortunately, magic crystal balls don’t exist. That’s why we need split testing.  Limit the number of variables in your campaign so you can identify what works and doesn’t work.

Finally, set appropriate expectations for your campaign. While this is truly dependent upon your personal experience, anticipate results for a direct response campaign that range from 0.25% to 1.50% depending upon the familiarity of the prospects to your association.

Journey-based marketing

According to consultancy McKinsey, the decision-making process is now a circular journey with four phases: initial consideration; active evaluation, or the process of researching potential purchases; closure, when consumers buy brands; and postpurchase, when consumers experience them.

1. Your opinion doesn’t matter. If there’s anything I’ve learned in this business, it’s that opinions don’t make money. My friend and mentor Craig Sullivan likes to say that “opinions are like @$%*%^# – everybody’s got one.” You are not your customer, and you have lots of different kinds of customers.  Implement this rule in your company: whenever somebody voices an opinion, they have to preface it by saying: “In my insignificant, unsupported, baseless opinion.” That will set the right tone for the importance of whatever is to follow.

2. You don’t know what will work. Every now and then you meet someone—typically someone (self-)important—who will proclaim to know what works, what should be changed on the site for improved results.
Simply put, they don’t. The only way to truly determine what works in marketing is to test, analyze and verify. That’s why split-testing is so critical.