weigh everything from plans to make healthcare and college more affordable to new ideas for addressing drug addiction, environmental change, economic inequality and more. And it’s a moment when strategic philanthropy is desperately needed to drive important issues deeper into the public square, inform the national dialogue and advocate in the public interest.
In the coming weeks and months, leaders at private and corporate foundations, NGOs and other associations have an opportunity to leverage the 2020 presidential election cycle to meaningfully raise awareness – and drive engagement – among key audiences. And these aren’t everyday opportunities. From the debates and primaries to the party conventions and the general election, these are milestone moments ripe for engagement.
To understand what conversations are happening – and how to best engage with them – social media listening is an essential tool for leveraging the 2020 cycle to your organization’s advantage. Groups can employ social analytics to identify key trends across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit and other platforms, unearthing important insights from these conversations to inform communications strategy and message development. In tandem, data science can help organizations use demographic, behavioral, ideological and geographic parameters to identify and precisely target the audiences that matter most.
Armed with these data-driven insights, organizations can then create message maps and start developing the compelling content – think videos, graphics, GIFs, op-eds, social ads – that can break through the noise of the 2020 race. This is where behavioral science research, creative design and strategic storytelling combines to connect with audiences in ways that nudge them to “stop their scroll,” engage with content and share it with others.
From a calendar perspective, the upcoming debates and party conventions will provide unique opportunities for organizations to advance their missions. The March 15th debate in Arizona – to be hosted by CNN, Univision and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus – will be particularly relevant to organizations interested in shaping conversations relevant to Hispanic and/or Latinx populations. And the party conventions (DNC in July; RNC in August) will provide organizations opportunities to reach those watching online and to geo-target those in attendance so they can engage with them both in the moment and in the run-up to the presidential election.
Finally, organizations now have ways to run cost-effective and precision-targeted advertising on streaming platforms. One example is over-the-top (OTT) advertising, which can serve unskippable ads to audiences watching the debates and conventions on their smart TVs. This relatively new option allows organizations to narrow-cast content to Americans who care specifically about issues aligned with their missions. OTT targeting is based on a viewer’s interest, age, location or behavior and it’s a compelling option to consider in this cycle.
The weeks and months ahead are ripe with opportunity for philanthropic leaders to advance their missions. Americans are engaged and ready to hear how this sector can help address the most pressing political and societal issues of our time. Now is the time. Our nation needs your voices – in this moment – to shape public policy and improve our collective future.