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ControlShift’s Efforts feature allows organizations to manage national or international campaigns with many local targets. Generally each of these petitions share common text or a common theme but target a local decision maker and have a local supporter leading the campaign.
Unlike the Landing Pages feature, the Efforts feature allows admins to preselect campaign targets. With Efforts, supporters can easily be recruited to lead campaigns targeting these preselected decision makers and may, depending on the Effort's settings, be unable to add their own targets.
This type of campaign may be useful if your organization has a large campaign with specific targets — like petitioning each US governor to ban fracking in their state or campaigning for increased factory safety standards by delivering a petition to each Apple store in the country. The idea behind these campaigns is that it may be easier to win concessions when the petition is distributed to multiple targets — making it harder to ignore than if a single petition were just delivered to a company's headquarters. This type of campaign may also open up new ways of applying pressure and allow you to target different decision makers. For example, instead of sending a petition to the CEO of a company, you could target owners of the company's franchises.
Additionally, this feature allows the organization to recruit local leaders, who are in charge of their local campaigns. By giving power back to members at a local level, your supporters may feel more involved in the campaign than they would if they were signing one big petition that was being delivered to an office hundreds of miles away. Additionally, by recruiting a local leader, you may activate a supporter that would otherwise not take an active role.
Tip: Efforts can also be a great way of launching or relaunching your ControlShift site. Leaders of Effort petitions generally receive more guidance and support than someone creating a standalone petition, so it can be an easier way of getting new supporters used to the idea of online campaigning. These petitions may also be of a higher quality than other petitions on your site, so they can serve as useful models of good campaigning.
We at ControlShift think that the Efforts feature can be a very useful tool, that is sadly underused, so if you have an idea for an Effort and want to talk it through with us, please send us an email.
This tutorial will walk you through the full setup of a new Effort. Before beginning, you may want to draft the text of the petitions included in the Effort.
Initial Set Up
To organize an Effort, go to the org admin homepage > Efforts > New Effort. This will kick off the Effort creation wizard, which will guide you through the Effort creation process.
First you'll be shown various organizing objectives. Clicking an objective (Gather Campaigns, Target Decision Makers, etc.) will give you more information about that type of campaign. These options are to help you think about the ways you can use Efforts to further your campaigning, but your choice here won't have a visible impact on your resulting Effort. If you're not sure which objective best fits your campaign, just choose the closest match. When you're done, click Next.
Then you'll be asked to enter a Title for the Effort. The title will be displayed on the Effort's landing, hub, and petition pages. It will also be used for the URL of the Effort, which is previewed below the title field.
Please note: An Effort's URL CANNOT be changed after the Effort's creation. Even if you change the title of the Effort after its initial creation, the URL won't be changed. We'd encourage you to finalize the title before setting up the Effort, or at the least, don't use a title like 'Test Effort'.
When you've entered the title, click Next.
Decision Makers or Campaign Objectives
After entering your title, you'll be asked to describe the campaign you're planning. Are you organizing your campaign around a set of decision makers or a set of more nebulous objectives?
For most Efforts, the Decision Makers option will be correct. This is our traditional Effort campaign: each petition in the Effort shares a similar goal and campaign ask, but each petition targets a single local decision maker (e.g. the mayor, the senator, the CEO, the school board, the MP, etc.). Notably, when your organization is thinking about how you'll run your campaign, you're organizing your petitions around these decision makers (e.g "How do we get the mayor to change the local law?", "How do we get the school board to divest from fossil fuels?", etc.). Depending on the campaign, you may have a full or partial list of these decision makers.
For some Efforts, organizing around a set of decision makers doesn't make sense. For these campaigns, you can use the Objectives option. Objectives are a bit less definite than decision makers. For these campaigns, you know what you want to happen, but you don't have a set type of decision maker who can give you what you want. Instead, you may only have an objective (e.g. "We want the confederate monument on Main Street removed"). Note that there may be times when you, as the organization staffer, don't know exactly who the decision maker is for a local campaign. This doesn't necessarily mean that you need to run an objectives based campaign – this could be an opportunity to rely on your members to find that information and have them enter the decision maker's information on their own, but it may be useful to run an objectives campaign instead.
For most Efforts, choosing the Decision Makers option is correct. If you're unsure which option to use, send us an email.
Once you've made your choice, click Next. If you chose Decision Makers, continue to the next section. If you chose Objectives, you can jump ahead.
Decision Makers Type
If you chose the Decision Makers option, you'll be asked to describe your decision makers. The option you choose here will determine how we'll configure the Effort's default settings. (These settings can be changed later, but choosing the correct description of your decision makers will make setting up an Effort easier.)
The main questions you need to consider here are:
- Do you know all, some, or none of the decision makers you want to target in this Effort?
- Do you want your members to be able to add their own decision makers to this Effort?
When you've chosen the types of decision makers you'll be targeting in this Effort, click Next.
If you chose the first or second options – "The decision makers are a closed set" or "The decision makers are a well-defined set" – then you'll be brought to a screen where you can add decision makers to the Effort.
If you chose the third or fourth options – "The decision makers are too numerous" or "write open letters" – you'll be brought to a page where you can create a template for the petitions in this Effort.
Add Decision Makers
If you indicated that your campaign's decision makers were a closed or well-defined set, then you'll be brought to a screen allowing you to add Decision Makers to the Effort.
Your options on this screen are:
Individual Decision Makers
- If you've already targeted the decision maker, and if they're not part of a decision maker collection that you want to add in bulk, click to Search for Existing. In the modal, enter some information about the decision maker. If we find a matching record, it will be included in the search results:
Click Add to add the decision maker to the Effort. If you don't see the correct decision maker in these search results, you can enter another search term or click Create New to add a new decision maker record. Once you've added a decision maker, you can perform new searches to add additional existing decision makers. When you've finished adding decision makers, click Done.
- If you haven't already targeted the decision maker, click the Create link (or use a target collection, which is explained below).
In this modal, enter the decision maker's information and click Save.
Note: Make sure that you leave the Allow members of the public to find this decision maker in search box checked. Otherwise, people won't be able to find this decision maker or its associated campaign.
Decision Maker Collections
Decision Maker collections allow you to add numerous targets at once. Usually these collections are grouped around repeatable sets of data – like all US Senators, all British MPs, the mayors of the 50 largest cities in your country, etc. Adding these decision makers as collections, instead of individual decision makers, has two benefits. First, you don't have to enter each decision maker's information individually; instead we can upload a CSV and the decision maker records will be created automatically. The second benefit is that when creating the Effort, you won't have to search for each decision maker. Instead, you can just add the whole collection at once. If you want to use a decision maker collection, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you want to target an existing list of decision makers – decision makers that have already been uploaded into your site – you can click to Add an existing collection of decision makers. A modal will open which lists all of the collections that have been enabled on your site.
Choose the appropriate collection and click Add. If you want to add another collection, you can do so from here. When you've finished adding collections, click Done.
- If the collection you want to use is not listed in the above dropdown, then click the Upload a new collection of decision makers or ask us for help acquiring the data link. This is a mailto link that you can use to send us a list of decision makers. We'll need you to send us a CSV of decision maker names and locations (as well as titles, phone numbers and/or emails, if you want to include that information). Once we've uploaded the collection, it will be included in the Add an existing collection modal.
Within this page you can perform multiple actions, meaning you can add some existing individual decision makers, add a decision maker collection, create a few new decision makers, go back to add more existing individual decision makers, etc. You'll also be able to add new decision makers from outside of this wizard.
If you mistakenly add a decision maker that you don't want to target in this Effort, you can remove them later. Continue with the wizard, and then follow the instructions to remove a decision maker.
Once you're done adding decision makers, click Next.
Template Petition Content
The template petition content page allows you to choose default text for the petitions included in the Effort. Adding default content has a few benefits:
- First, if you've added decision makers to the Effort and included default content, then you can pre-create petitions for those decision makers. This allows you to begin collecting petition signatures while waiting for a local campaign leader.
- Second, if you're allowing members to create petitions for admin-entered or user-created decision makers, providing default content makes it easier for petition creators to get started. They can use your default text as a starting point.
To add default content, click Add template.
Enter the text you'd like to use in the appropriate boxes. You can also pre-select the petitions' image and categories.
A few hints to keep in mind:
- The title text you enter will only be the first part of the title. Each petition will have a custom title based on the decision maker associated with the petition.
Generally, this will take the form of "[Default Title You've Entered]: Decision Maker."
You should ensure that the default title you enter is short enough to allow the decision maker information to be appended without going over the 100 character title limit.
Also, we automatically add a colon after the text you enter, so you don't need to add one yourself.
If you want to use a different formula for the title, you can do so using Effort variables.
- The who field is often left blank. If you want the petitions' who fields to be updated based on each petition's target, then you should leave this field blank. If each petition should have the same who field, click the Customize 'Who' field option.
- If you want to prevent campaign leaders from editing the text you've entered, click the lock icon next to the field.
- Within an Effort, we allow org admins to include markdown in petitions' what and why fields. However, markdown will ONLY be displayed if the fields are locked at the Effort level. This means that when you add markdown to the petitions' default content, you MUST click the lock icon next to the field. When the field is locked, the field cannot be edited. If the field is unlocked, we'll display the markdown symbols, but not translate the text into markdown (e.g. we'll show *bolded text* instead of bolded text).
- If you want to include decision-maker-specific information in petition text, you can do that with Effort variables.
Once you've entered your default text, click Save and you'll be shown a preview of what the petitions will look like. If you need to make any edits, click Edit template at the top of the page. Otherwise, click Next.
Note: If needed, you will be able to update petition text later.
If you did not pre-select any decision makers, this is where you'll exit the wizard.
If you pre-selected some decision makers, you'll be asked if you want to pre-create petitions for the decision makers you added. If you want to begin collecting signatures before a local leader has been recruited, or if you're not planning to recruit local leaders, then you'll want to pre-create these petitions. Click Yes. If you want to ensure that every campaign has a local leader before it starts, you won't want to pre-create petitions. Click No.
Leadership and Engagement
If you chose to pre-create petitions and/or selected the "decision makers are well-defined" target option, then you'll be brought to the Leadership and Engagement options page.
Your options here are to:
- Invite members to become leaders of existing petitions, which allows local members to become leaders of petitions that were pre-created by admins. Choosing no will leave these petitions leaderless.
- Let members add their own decision makers and run campaigns targeting them, which will allow members to create new decision makers beyond the ones that were added by admins. Choosing no will limit the Effort to the decision makers that were added by admins.
When you've finished toggling these settings, click Next.
This is the end of the wizard. From the success page, you can go to the Efforts hub page by clicking the public home page link. To edit the settings further, click the Effort admin link.
Next we'll look at Effort's admin page.
If you chose to create an Effort with objectives, you'll be asked to upload your list of objectives. First enter the name those this set of objectives. Then you'll be asked to upload a CSV of objectives. Column names are shown in the help text and include
After uploading your list of objectives, you'll be asked if you'd like to provide default content for your Effort's petitions. Go to the default content portion of this tutorial.