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Online advocacy guru – part 1: an interview with RAD Campaign Partner & Women Who Tech Founder Allyson Kapin

by Jill Foster on November 28, 2008

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Who she is: a rad thinker and tech advocate
Allyson Kapin, founding partner of the online communications firm RAD Campaign (and also founder of the annual WomenWhoTech Telesummit) recently met up to discuss her latest social tech projects, social media successes, & marketing priorities.

Listen while you work: 7 minute audio
Feel free hearing Allyson’s audio conversation as she reveals more on this year’s WomenWhoTech Telesummit and social media’s impact.

We use technology to transform the world.

Allyson on RAD Campaign’s mission: campaigns, advocacy, and tech
Rad Campaign is an online communications firm that provides web design, web development, and online marketing and strategy to socially responsible businesses, non-profits and political campaigns. We use technology to transform the world and inspire change whether it be developing a website to educate consumers and companies about green certification — or developing an online marketing campaign to urge Congress to stop Big Oil from drilling in the Arctic Refuge.

Target audience, social media, and tough times: the economy question
Allyson and her team helped a lot of organizations related to the election season. In light of elections coming to a close and the economic climate, we discussed her company’s situation, strategy, and outlook.

…companies need to know that cutting budgets which give them access to these online environments have consequences.

When you know potential clients will be cutting budgets, you need to prepare. And advising clients on the value of social media and tech in these times can be an opportunity (and sound advice). You have these senior execs who don’t understand the value of technology and social media yet they are axing those related budgets. They need to know that because their consumers, advocates, users, and constituents interact with their cool product or service online, that’s where they too should be. So that needs to be emphasized. They need to be asked ‘How are you (the company) going to stay connected to your target audience when you limit your own online access?’

One of our constant points of focus is to look at clients’ offline communications and their online communications strategy — and synchronize them.

Focusing on technology and constituent management
We’ve been really fortunate enough this year to be extremely busy.
I think that has a lot to do with political campaigns and issues connected to the elections. We’ve had a hand in some innovative projects. And moving forward, we’re always thinking how the company will continue to evolve. We’re thinking of how and where people will be from a technology and a constituent management perspective. We ask: ‘where are they?’ from an online social media perspective as well.

Citizenry and innovative social tech: Citizen Toolbox
One of the projects we’re hoping to develop is Citizen Toolbox. We’ve made it to the second round of Knight Foundation’s grant program. In a nutshell it will allow users to create local petition drives directed at local officials in your area – local commissioners and getting down into government offices, zoning and planning.

The goal of this platform is to hold office officials accountable, aggregate concerns, create a communications pathway, and build community around that effort.

Walking through Citizen Toolbox
Let’s say you’re concerned about your neighborhood school: you end up writing a petition letter to the mayor and education chancellor. That letter would be then posted to Citizen Toolbox. Then let’s say 50 people sign that petition letter, then Citizen toolbox would send that to the right leadership. Now let’s say said leadership didn’t respond; the Citizen Toolbox platform will send an auto-reminder at a certain threshold date. And if they still didn’t respond, then the organizer or petition initiator would be contacted. At that time, the system would facilitate a media advisory.

Next up: part 2 with RAD Campaign’s Allyson Kapin

    Later in the week, our conversation continues about:

  • -The Jon Stewart Show!
  • -social media ideas for small business;
  • -thought leaders to follow in technology;
  • …and more.

(avatar graphic by RAD Campaign)

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