Human Rights Campaign (HRC) are America’s largest civil rights organisation working to achieve equality for the LGBT community.
This time last year, they were gearing up to ‘own’ the moment when history would be made and the Supreme Court would grant marriage equality to the entire nation. Months in advance, they nailed their strategy, lined up every media channel and choreographed content to create as much noise as possible in the run up to the decision. It was impressive but, more importantly, it worked.
Here’s 5 things you can learn from it:
The press and the public weren’t paying much attention to the issue initially, but HRC deliberately set out to push the marriage equality bill onto people’s agendas, drive awareness of their cause and recruit new supporters. Everything they did worked towards this objective. They even formed a decision-making ‘war room’ with people from across the organisation in the concluding weeks. No silos here, folks.
Loosen up (and get a personality)
They turned their famous blue and yellow logo red (the colour of love) for the duration. They created an evocative campaign name (#LoveCantWait) and gave click through buttons a facelift with the words “I Do” instead of “click here”. Engaging, relevant, creative.
Simplify the problem and give people eyes to look into
Using straight talking (and resonant) language to explain a complex political matter, they made sure people ‘got it’. Then they introduced people to Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the case. He told his story in his own words and people rallied around him.
You can read Jim’s story here.
Ask for more than words
The campaign action was of huge importance, but so was getting people to publicly declare whose side they were on. Everything was easily shareable online, there were posters and address labels and badges and magnets and bracelets.
If you’re going to fire someone up, make sure you give them the means to shout about it.
Make everyone feel like they matter
Being part of a movement that has the potential to make history is hugely motivating for most. But HRC succeeded in making this feel personal, too.
You signed up for texts ‘so you could be the first to know the court’s decision’ and when the celebrations took place on the steps of the Supreme Court in the capital, they invited people to text a picture of themselves celebrating, wherever they were.
Thousands did; it was a brilliant idea.
One supporter received the verdict via text at the Opera House, and he jumped to his feet, phone held high and told the entire audience. A proud and moving moment for the HRC staff member who also happened to be there.
But did it raise any money, I hear you say? Yes, way beyond expectations. Partly because they had match funding which also applied to the first two regular gifts (clever).
High five, HRC.