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First POST: Turning On

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, June 4 2014

How Google is making encryption more mainstream; new data on online harassment; how bloggers are changing Vietnamese society; and much, much more. Read More

What Effective Political Advocacy and Eating Your Vegetables Have in Common

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, September 20 2012

Shayna Englin speaking at Personal Democracy Forum 2012 in June. Englin argues there is an "advocacy gap." Photo: Esty Stein/PDM

A newly released research report has found empirical and anecdotal evidence of a deep gulf between what congressional staffers need from the advocacy community in order to shape policy and what the advocacy community actually does.

The report, "The Advocacy Gap: Research for Better Advocacy," from Englin Consulting, Fission Strategy and Lincoln Park Strategies, surveyed staffers on Capitol Hill and what they said are effective forms of contact and input, and then surveyed 4,000 members of advocacy organizations who had signed up to take action on behalf of those causes or organizations. The researchers asked those people, who they call activists, what they think effective action is, and what they do in practice. It turns out that taking effective political action is a bit like diet and exercise: The activists understand what the most effective actions to take are, but tend to take the easiest, least effective forms of action, like sending messages through their advocacy organization rather than showing up in person at their member of Congress' office or at a town hall meeting.

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