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Luminate Advocacy: 5 Critical Tips for Your Organization

A module within Blackbaud's Luminate Online Marketing platform, Luminate Advocacy was designed to help your nonprofit build out effective, energetic grassroots campaigns.

With Luminate Advocacy, your organization can motivate supporters to send persuasive letters to Capitol Hill, drive donations through a customized donation form, and effortlessly share their actions with family and friends. Luminate's tools stand head and shoulders above other advocacy platforms. 

No matter what your objectives are for your grassroots campaign, there's no question that Luminate Advocacy can be a game-changer. But just using Luminate Advocacy isn't enough.

To get the most from this Blackbaud product, there are a few best practices and top strategies you need to know. Lucky for you, we're happy to let you in on the most important secrets to maximizing your use of Luminate Advocacy: 

  1. Go mobile with a custom Luminate Advocacy app.
  2. Leverage the power of social sharing through Luminate Advocacy.
  3. Incorporate your advocacy efforts into your fundraising and stewardship plan.
  4. Gather feedback to improve your Luminate Advocacy efforts.
  5. Use Luminate Advocacy to engage with advocates long-term.

As with any nonprofit software solution, Luminate Advocacy is only as strong as the strategy behind it. Keep reading to learn how this platform can help you meet your advocacy goals! 

A mobile app built to work with Luminate Advocacy can help your organization connect with supporters anytime.

1. Go mobile with a custom Luminate Advocacy app.

Advocacy Strategy Overview
You can use your Luminate Advocacy mobile app to send advocacy alerts straight to supporters' phones (and do much more).

Need to reach your grassroots advocates whenever, wherever? TeamDNL has got the tool for you, built to fit in seamlessly with your Luminate Advocacy solution. 

With our MobileAction! advocacy app, you can meet your supporters where they are: their smartphones!

A Luminate Advocacy app is the perfect way to bridge the gap and keep supporters fully engaged.

This unique advocacy app works for all devices, including iOS and Android, and is completely customized with your organization in mind. Scalable enough to meet a variety of advocacy goals and needs, you can use our app to do all of the following (and more):

  • Send advocacy alerts. Keep supporters in the loop and inspire instant action with real-time, targeted alerts sent to your users' phones through the alerts feed. Tie each alert to a specific call-to-action, such as an online petition, donation form, or letter-to-the-editor tool.
  • House peer-to-peer fundraising progress. Enable fundraisers to manage their giving pages through TeamRaiser, view, and register for peer-to-peer events, and even send messages to their phone contacts to request donations. 
  • Gather feedback through surveys. An accurate picture of your supporter engagement is the first stop on the road to improving your campaigns. Create and send surveys through MobileAction! and store responses in Luminate for your reference later.

Before you can implement the app, make sure you have a strong grasp on what your advocacy campaign goals are. That way, you can customize the app's functionality in the most effective way. 

Ready to launch your Luminate app? Get started with Team DNL today!

Why This Luminate Advocacy Tip Works  

Unlike some other nonprofit initiatives, advocacy campaigns are time-sensitive, down to the minute. When it comes to communicating with your supporters and offering updates on your cause's progress, you can't risk waiting.

Utilizing a custom Luminate app can help fill in the gaps between you and your constituents and ensure they're always up to date with your grassroots efforts and empowered to do their part. 

Plus, having a mobile app on hand for your organization can put the power in your supporters' hands (and lessen some of your team's workload). Since users can update their profiles, track peer-to-peer fundraising progress, and complete advocacy tasks directly in the app, they can take the reins on their involvement in your advocacy campaigns.

But don't worry—MobileAction! is fully connected to Luminate, so all of their actions will be tracked in your software, too! 

Your nonprofit can reach a wider network during your advocacy campaign by leveraging Luminate Advocacy's social sharing features.

2. Leverage the Power of Social Sharing Through Luminate Advocacy.

Advocacy Strategy Overview
Social media can be a powerful tool for expanding your Luminate Advocacy strategy and widening your grassroots efforts.

To develop a truly successful advocacy campaign, you'll need to extend your reach past your existing supporter base. One of the best ways to do that? Harness your network through social sharing! 

Grassroots campaigns depend on your ability to get your message out to a wide audience, and social media is a perfect tool to use. You can use social media to enlist new supporters, engage existing advocates, and express the importance of your cause—and Luminate Advocacy can help with all three.

How exactly? Let's look at a few key ways you can use Luminate to power your social sharing efforts for your grassroots advocacy campaign:

  • Utilize social sharing features. Make sure it's easy for supporters to spread the word about your cause by adding social sharing features to your action alerts. That way, a supporter can quickly repost your latest updates on their own news feeds and encourage others in their networks to participate in your grassroots efforts.
  • Create a social ambassador program. The new Luminate Beta lists tool allows you to segment your supporter list to find out which of your advocates have their own extensive social networks to build on. Provide these individuals with easy-to-share templates and other resources so they can quickly put your cause in front of their own captive audience. (Just make sure to thank them for their help!) 
  • Recognize advocacy efforts on social platforms. And speaking of saying thanks, it's a best practice to always keep gratitude at the front of your online engagement plan. Highlight supporters who've participated in advocacy campaigns, volunteered their time, or raised money through peer-to-peer fundraising by posting shout-outs on your nonprofit Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram profile.

No matter what your social media strategy entails, keep in mind that your online engagements should be tailored to your supporter base. What works for one cause won't work for another, and taking an approach that's too broad might actually leave you more disconnected from constituents than connected. 

Luckily, Luminate Online (as well as Luminate Advocacy) comes with a host of reporting features to help you determine what social sites will be most relevant to your supporters and track your digital advocacy campaign progress, too. Keep up with your efforts and you're sure to nail down a unique strategy (like creating a super advocates program) in no time!

Why This Luminate Advocacy Tip Works

Every nonprofit probably dreams of their online petition or peer-to-peer fundraising campaign going viral online. While that's unfortunately not the most realistic goal for most organizations, there's still something to be said about the innate ability of social media to help a good cause catch fire. 

While other communication channels (like email, direct mail, or a phone call) are predominantly one- or two-way streets, social media is an all-out web of possibility for connecting with new and existing supporters. 

If used correctly, your social media presence can put you in front of thousands (if not millions) of new eyes, which is often what an advocacy campaign needs to get off the ground and, ultimately, create the positive change you're hoping for. 

Your advocacy campaign should be incorporated with the rest of your nonprofit strategy, all of which you can manage using Luminate Online and Luminate Advocacy.

3. Incorporate Your Advocacy Efforts Into Your Fundraising and Stewardship Plan.

Advocacy Strategy Overview
Use all of Luminate Online Marketing's broad feature set (including tools specifically within Luminate Advocacy) to manage your nonprofit strategy.

Though advocacy and fundraising aren't always interchangeable, these two aspects of your nonprofit strategy certainly go hand-in-hand. 

Think about it: if your nonprofit advocacy team isn't aligned with your donor stewardship or fundraising team, how can you turn your advocates into donors?

Similarly, if your digital marketing efforts don't coexist well with your peer-to-peer fundraising event planning, how can you get all of your website visitors or social media followers to show up to your big fundraising event? 

Good news — since Luminate Advocacy is a part of the expansive Luminate Online Marketing solution, you can manage all of your various projects and campaigns within one connected system. For instance, you can use Luminate to: 

A Luminate Advocacy app can integrate your peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, too.

  • Steward donors during the donation process. For a grassroots campaign, collecting donations is essential. With Luminate, you can customize the giving experience to activate donors for good. Use your donation thank-you screens to educate donors about what their gifts are helping to accomplish and show them even more ways to become involved as an advocate for your cause. 
  • Turn advocates into fundraisers. Provide your campaign supporters with a simple way to sign up to raise funds for your mission after they sign a petition or send a letter. With TeamRaiser, you can even enable supporters to create their own DIY peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. That way, supporters can raise money on their terms! 
  • Streamline supporter communications. Outreach is a necessary component of your advocacy campaign, but it's important that your advocacy communications fit in alongside the rest of your nonprofit marketing efforts. Pre-plan and add all of your nonprofit's communications in Luminate Online so you can keep supporters in-the-know without inundating them with too many messages.

Even though your nonprofit probably has a plan in place for all of the areas of focus listed above, there's no doubt that your organization will handle each component differently than any other organization. Luminate Online understands that and is able to be completely customized in order to accommodate your unique goals.

Don't be afraid to take advantage of this flexibility! But be warned: to avoid any damaging mistakes to your software or data, you should consider enlisting the help of a qualified Blackbaud partner with plenty of experience working with the Luminate suite—like Team DNL! To learn more about our consulting process, check out our 5 steps to nonprofit technology consulting success!  

Why This Luminate Advocacy Tip Works

Having a connected system makes it much easier to take a holistic view of your nonprofit strategy, which contributes to greater success all around. 

Since Luminate naturally gives you access to all of the most vital elements of your organization's efforts, including fundraising, advocacy, outreach, and more, it's the perfect solution for staying on top of your all-encompassing strategy.

When you can view all of those moving parts in one place, you'll find it easier to ensure that nothing gets overlooked and all of your supporters are on the right track to contributing and engaging in a variety of ways. 

Gathering supporter feedback and storing it in Luminate Advocacy can help you improve future grassroots fundraising campaigns.

4. Gather Feedback to Improve Your Luminate Advocacy Efforts.

Advocacy Strategy Overview
You can gather feedback during your advocacy campaign in a number of ways, including a survey sent through your Luminate Advocacy app.

As we've already mentioned, there's no better way to get better at something than to know where you stand now. And one of the easiest, most accurate ways to get a glimpse into your success as a nonprofit is to ask your supporters to weigh in.

By reaching out to supporters to gather feedback, you'll gain invaluable insight into what your organization is doing right and gain some much-needed understanding of what areas could be improved. 

You can get feedback in a number of ways, whether you're posting a poll on Twitter, starting a discussion on Facebook, or simply calling a supporter on the phone. But one of the most effective, efficient ways to request input is to create an online survey! 

When it comes to designing a successful survey, keep these factors in mind:

  • Questions. Obviously, the questions you ask are a major player in the results you get. Try to make your survey as specific as possible and closely connected to a recent campaign or event. You might consider making multiple versions of a survey all related to different segments of your supporter lists to gather the most targeted feedback. 
  • Length. The most surefire way to deter recipients from completing your survey is the length. Keep your survey brief enough that users have no problem finishing it in one sitting, and preferably within five minutes or less. Writing simple questions will help; you never want your supporter to be so confused by a question that they sit for too long scratching their head over it! 
  • Types of data. We suggest using a mix of multiple choice and open-ended questions so that you collect both quantitative and qualitative data. Both types of data are highly valuable since you'll be able to measure results easily while getting a more tangible idea of how supporters feel about your campaign in their own words.

You'll also want to make sure that your survey works on any device. (Hint: using a mobile advocacy app will help!) Try filling your survey out yourself on a tablet or phone to make sure any checkboxes are easy to click and that text boxes are easy to type in using a mobile keyboard. 

Why This Luminate Advocacy Tip Works

No one knows your advocacy campaign quite like the advocates themselves. That's why a survey (or any other feedback method) can be a great way to measure your campaign's effectiveness and find ways to improve your strategies moving forward.

Plus, asking for feedback doesn't have to be a one-off undertaking. You can continually gather opinions from advocates and donors across a number of channels—email, social media, and text message can all be great means of getting a question (or several questions) out to every member of your database en masse. 

If you are asking for feedback on a large scale, you can even offer incentives for answering! You can enter each survey respondent or social media commenter in a raffle to win a prize, like a piece of branded merchandise from your online store. Since you'll get free publicity every time the winner wears their new shirt or carries their new water bottle, it's a win-win situation for you and your survey recipients. 

You can use Luminate Advocacy to steward advocates and develop long-term, multifaceted relationships with your supporters.

5. Use Luminate Advocacy to Engage with Advocates Long-Term.

Advocacy Strategy Overview
Luminate Advocacy can help you turn online supporters or advocates into highly engaged members of your nonprofit community.

Chances are, donor stewardship is a major part of your nonprofit's strategy. You might even have a whole team devoted to it, with ongoing activities devoted to keeping your donors engaged and exciting about continuing to contribute to your cause.

The question is: do you have a similar program in place for your advocates? 

Engaging with your advocacy campaign supporters is no different from any other donor, member, or volunteer retention plan—and no less important! You'll need to keep your supporters invested in your advocacy initiatives so that their first campaign isn't their last and so that they turn their vocal support into other means of engagement, such as donating, volunteering, or attending an event. 

Configure your Luminate Advocacy app to collect constituent data and encourage users to keep their profiles updated.

Your Luminate Online strategy can play a major role in your supporter engagement tactics. You should be using Luminate to:

  • Automate regular communications. A welcome email series designed to get new supporters acclimated to your campaign is great, but to keep supporters invested months (and years) after their first brush with your organization, you'll need an ongoing communications plan. With Luminate, you can automate many of your marketing emails, schedule long-term email streams or social posts, and send more time-sensitive content instantly. 
  • Keep track of supporter data. The more you know about your advocates, the better you can engage with them. Ask your supporters about their preferences and interests (using a survey, for example!) and use that data to inform how you interact with them. For instance, if you know that a supporter loves social media but isn't excited about in-person events, you can target your outreach so they receive invitations to peer-to-peer campaigns, but not fundraising galas. 
  • Measure long-term success. Unless your campaign is intentionally short-term, you'll need to assess your progress on a regular basis, such as quarterly or yearly, to determine your next best steps at each interval. With Luminate's comprehensive reporting tools, you can assess which aspects of your campaign have been most effective, helping you outline more strategically for the future.

Plus, since Luminate is so customizable and scalable (especially thanks to its endless integration potential), your advocacy campaigns can constantly evolve. Make the most of those possibilities by finding ways to switch up your advocacy strategies to meet your supporters wherever they are, now and well into the future. 

Why This Luminate Advocacy Tip Works

The best advocacy organizations don't stop at one event, campaign, or fundraiser; they develop long-term relationships with individuals who share their focus and want to effect change in an ongoing way. 

If you don't take the time to map out your long-term supporter stewardship plan, you'll risk being stuck in the rut of needing to recruit new supporters every time you launch a new campaign or strategy. 

But by truly getting to know your supporters and investing in their long-term engagement, you can nurture social media followers or petition-signers into event guests, peer-to-peer fundraisers, donors, volunteers, and much more. (And doesn't that sound much more beneficial for your cause?) 


Luminate Advocacy can be your secret weapon when it comes to creating powerful grassroots advocacy campaigns. With these tips in mind, your team should be more prepared than ever to get out there and change the world with your advocacy plan.

For more on nonprofit software, fundraising, advocacy, and more, check out these resources: 

  • Luminate Online Marketing: The Nonprofit's Guide. Learn everything that this Blackbaud solution can do by reading our ultimate guide to Luminate Online! We'll cover the top features, smart best practices, and secret benefits of this platform.
  • Top Digital Advocacy Strategies for Luminate. Focusing on the online aspects of advocacy? Luminate Advocacy can help, and we've got 7 awesome strategies for using this software to get more from your social media, email, and much more! 
  • Double the Donation's Guide to Advocacy. If your organization is just getting started with grassroots campaigns, make sure you've got the basics down first. Check out Double the Donation's complete guide to advocacy to kickstart your campaign. 

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