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It Came from Grassroots

October 18th, 2002

Expert PR
Richard Laermer and Mike Prichinello

In honor of the crucial election in November, Full Frontal PR Report thought it time to look at how PR folk can work with grassroots politics to promote…well…good. That is, since many people working in our industry seem to be uncomfortable “doing nothing” about politics, we thought we’d offer some suggestions on how to get involved.

We all have the ability and the resources to build upon relationships.

First, imagine this: Bush politics might be doing something good for all, including liberal, Americans. Yes, that’s right, you did not read wrong.

Political activism — thanks to Bushisms — is growing and growing up. People are finding it easy, and personally fulfilling, to get involved. Maybe the new war has something to do with it — perhaps it woke us up. Or maybe term limits are so pervasive that we are running out of “political types” to run and regular folks have got to get involved. (We vote for the latter.)

PR people are the loudest mouths around and many of us are becoming involved in a new driving force called the New Century Grassroots Movement….and why not?

It’s not as if we are all endowed with huge tech firms to keep us busy. It’s time to think inward, or so psychologists are saying. And the best way is to do that is to volunteer. Get out and meet people who believe like you do. The finest way to be a volunteer is to get involved in our nascent political scene. Yep. It’s all-new and it’s taking place now. You need look no further than the overwhelming volume of support and volunteerism that emerged after the World Trade Center disaster.

People — all types and persuasions — want to be heard and want to have influence. And just who, then, are the most influential people you know? PR people, surely.

Grassroots politics is about building relationships with elected officials. (Can you say “good for business, too”?) We all have the ability and the resources to build upon these relationships. If we begin with these fundamentals, our success at influencing what laws are passed or defeated — or basely, what programs are created or eliminated — will increase in proportion to the number of times we work at it.

Lots of terrific bedfellows are actively seeking movement in the decade we call The Zip’s:

Ex-White House press secretary Mike McCurry is using the available technology to push activism. His amazing site Grassroots.com makes it fun and simple for people to connect with elected officials and others who are active in various political movements. The destination offers software specifically designed to keep activist groups organized and efficient.

Speakout.com and Votermarch.org are two other sites among hundreds that are reaching out to people who want to help make some sort of change (that’s real change, not coins!). The Internet, which, it turns out, is still alive and kicking, has helped grassroots movements reach more actively-seeking grassroots type people and decrease the movements’ operating costs and help them get the important work done fast.

As it becomes proven that citizens have a voice and the ability to force change, grassroots movements will grow in size and thus enable people in our business to get involved on — as Stevie Wonder warbled — a higher ground.

Power to the people, uh, right on!

Editor’s Note: If you choose not to get involved, at very least take time on November 5 to vote. If nothing else, it solidifies your right to complain about elected officials.

Michael Prichinello and Richard Laermer are managers at RLM PR and authors of Full Frontal PR: How to get them Talking about you, your business or your product, due in January from Bloomberg Press.

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