What is constituent empowerment?
Because I spend so much work time immersed in this area, I tend to assume that other people I talk with know what constituent empowerment is and why it is important. But then I remember my 8th grade science teacher who has a saying about the word “assume.” He said that when you assume, you make an ### out of U and ME. So, I’m going to stop assuming that everyone knows about constituent empowerment and why it is important, and I’m going to do it right now.
I always say that constituent empowerment is allowing your constituents to do your work for you. That’s the simplified version. The reality, of course, is that you can’t just hand over work. If that were the case, I would never have to take out the trash or fold the laundry (ahhh…a man can dream). No, in order to get others to do your work for you, you need to do a few things first.
So, let’s assume you buy into this constituent empowerment fad, and you think you can handle the four criteria above. What is in it for you? Reach and Context.
Empowering others with your message and the tools to spread the message is the cornerstone on viral marketing. And how quickly can that spread occur? Well, let’s do some math.
Most people have a close circle of people that numbers 12. This extends out to about 40 well-known acquaintances. So, we’ll start with each person being able to reach about 40 people relatively easily.
If each of those 40 people reaches out to their 40 people with the message, roughly 1,600 people have now heard it.
If each of those 1600 people reaches out to their 40 people with the message, roughly 61,000 people have now heard it.
And then 2,370,000 and then 92,360,000.
You get the point.
Have you ever seen one of those commercials where the uptight parent tries to talk to their kids about drugs by performing some very bad rap? As marketers, this is our worst nightmare, right? Trying to reach out to somebody without any clue as to how to deliver the message in a meaningful way is destined to fail.
By empowering your constituents, you have just recruited one of “them” to speak to “them.” You constituents know how to position the message in a way that is meaningful to their friends, because they are friends.
Some organizations will balk at the idea of putting the words into the mouths of constituents, for fear of losing control of the message. All I can say is, unless you know how to clone yourself, there is no better way to reach more people.
Subscribe to receive posts via email:
Get answers to product questions, join "Birds of a Feather" discussions and more. Join the Online Community
Alltop - Nonprofit
A Small Change
Bob Ottenhoff's Blog
Donor Power Blog
Future Leaders in Philanthropy
Katya's Nonprofit Marketing Blog
Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog
Nonprofit Law Prof
Pamela’s Grant Blog
Sea Change Strategies
Zen and the Art of Nonprofit Technology