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Using Predictive Modeling to Mobilize Support

March 16, 2017

Nonprofits & Associations


Joe LaMountain, Vice President


“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

— John Wanamaker, merchant, religious leader, and political figure

Like Wanamaker, you probably waste much of your political outreach work on people who don’t care about your issues or, even if they do, won’t act in support of your cause. Too often, lobbyists and political organizers use hit-or-miss tactics — like targeting by state, congressional district, broad demographics, or political affiliation — to find, enlist, and mobilize advocates for their cause.

But now predictive modeling, an innovative new approach, promises to greatly enhance your ability to identify supporters, develop more effective messaging, deliver those messages to your supporters online, and persuade them to act on your behalf.

Predictive modeling is a key component of Reingold’s communications plan to drive response to the 2020 Census. Working with Civis, a data analytics firm, we will tailor our messages to specific audiences in ways never before contemplated and focus outreach on the hard-to-count populations that we need to respond. 

What is predictive modeling? Essentially, it’s building a list of people who “look like” your best supporters: those who already share your concerns and are most likely to take action, or who have a specific need or profile. Predictive analytics allows you to leverage the data you have on these individuals to find new sources of supporters that you might have never thought about. 

Predictive modeling campaigns have helped identify people who are most likely to vote or to contact their elected officials on a key policy matter. Other analytic techniques can then be used to find the most influential types of communications and outreach to move your audience to action.

Just ask Brian Reich of USA for UNHCR, the U.S. arm of the UN Refugee Agency. “We [now] have clear insights into our audience and can prioritize accordingly — not just look at who might engage based on their past behaviors, but look to engage people who are likely to engage if given the right opportunity.”

Predictive modeling can be a game changer in issue advocacy. By using data analytics to inform messaging and outreach, organizations can generate significantly more value and impact from their advertising and outreach strategies.

That would make John Wanamaker smile.

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