In a recent post, I described a plan to overturn the UK government's decision to renege on its pledge of 0.7% of GNI as foreign aid.
Since then I've been pleased at the great group of volunteers who have come together to work on this, and grateful to the small number of people who have pledged to donate four-figure sums to help. We could still benefit from more donations, and more volunteers will likely be useful too. If you're interested in helping, please contact me via email on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about how to donate/volunteer.
Since writing that post, a lot of work has happened, and I'd like to update you on
- our approach, and why it's distinctive
- our messaging
- our chances of success
I won't say anything here on the interesting work that's been done to identify the most valuable constituencies. Anyone who is interested in this is welcome to get in touch with me directly to find out more.
In the earlier post, we stated that we would conduct a digital marketing campaign to recruit people who are in favour of foreign aid and make it easy for them to send an email to their MP.
In the meetings we had, we learned that boilerplate generic messages were likely to be dismissed. The MPs and their staff would believe that those letters don't truly reflect the thoughts and opinions of the people signing them, and to a certain extent they would be right.
Our solution to this is the following approach:
DIGITAL AD --> SURVEY --> AUTO-GENERATED EMAIL
We create a short survey, and based on that our code automatically generates an email which actually reflects the respondent's real feelings.
Is this approach distinctive?
We have tried discussing this with various other people working in this area. As far as we know, nobody else working on this campaign is taking this tailored approach, and it appears to rare in the world of digital campaigning more generally.
We are unclear why this is the case; I'd speculate it's because tech/algorithm mindsets are rare in the world of campaigning and activism, but I don't know the space well enough to know if this is correct.
We have been speaking to a number of people who have given this topic a lot of thought to help us hone the messaging. We plan to auto-generate a draft email including the following content:
(1) Something to indicate that the sender of the email is sympathetic to the MP (e.g. has voted for them, or whatever the survey indicates is true)
(2) Some content to highlight that this breaks the manifesto pledge
(3) Some person-specific elements to the extent that they apply, e.g. the person is religious or is a member of the diaspora of a relevant country
(4) Some tailored person-specific arguments based on their own preferences/interests, such as links between aid and trade/climate change/COVID risk, etc
Our probability of success
A full assessment of this is available on request -- please get in touch. However in summary, some very well-informed people think our chances are good. Other (moderately well-informed people) are less optimistic.