In my day job as a web designer it’s easy to think that every problem can be solved by the internet (ha!) but the reality is that there is still a significant minority of people without internet access at home.
Statistics New Zealand says that 85% of households in Wellington have internet access. Of thosewho don’t most report that they don’t have internet either due to a lack of interest or because of the cost and opting out of internet access because of the cost grew between 2009 and 2012 (when the most recent data is from).
I think it’s a fair assumption that a fair proportion of those without internet access will be low-income renters and we certainly want to reach these people and get them actively engaged in our campaigns and other work.
With this in mind we need to consider whether we can rely on the internet as our only – or primary – medium for recruiting and communicating with members.
As with all organising face-to-face engagement is usually the most effective way to get people involved but even once we have recruited someone we need to consider how best to keep them up-to-date and active.
So, setting aside a website for the organisation for now, this graph is great place to start when considering how we might reach out to members and stay in touch (after all, we’ll be just like one of the family):
A few observations:
- Direct contact via phone or text is likely to be the most effective method.
- Texting is the clear favourite for frequent communication.
- Social media does not feature in that graph, though you might expect that a majority of the “instant messaging” communication is via social networks.
- Email is very popular too but seems to be used less frequently.
We will need to ensure members have control of how and when they get contacted as we don’t want to flood inboxes or turn people off with a barrage of texts. Instead, I think we want to try and establish and nurture personal connections with – and between – members.
For example, rather than a bulk text from a generic number, wouldn’t it be great if we could establish a texting version of phone trees (OL’SKOOL!) so every member got the information from an activist or contact they had personally met at some point?