Where next for Forward Action?

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By Berry Cochrane

Forward Action was founded over eight years ago, but our mission has always remained the same: to maximise the potential of digital to achieve progressive change.

From influencing a crucial vote in the House of Lords with Dignity in Dying, raising millions with Refuge and rapidly recruiting supporters to stop the Rwanda deportations with Freedom From Torture, to helping mobilise thousands to turn up to Extinction Rebellion’s The Big One, the impact we’ve had over the years has been phenomenal.

As I join Forward Action as CEO, I’m deeply committed to this founding mission. We need to optimise the sector’s use of digital, and harness our collective power to hold corporations and governments to account – as well as raise funds and provide essential services.

We want to continue to be your go-to agency for all digital mobilisation needs – from building innovative tools and tactics to help you engage at scale, to driving impactful email journeys, developing great UX and delivering killer strategy to help achieve your goals.

But I also want to build on this. That’s why I’m excited to share the three key areas we’ll be exploring next:

1.  Going deeper with digital organising

We need to recognise that while digital mobilisation is always a powerful tool, it isn’t always enough on its own to achieve a partner’s goals, or our mission. Sometimes we need to go deeper in our engagement with people to create longer lasting and empowering relationships of trust that build towards progressive change.

For me, for Forward Action, this is about broadening out from digital mobilisation to incorporate digital organising in our offer to partners, so we are in the process of developing this area of our work. We will help empower supporters and work with our partners to build communities of action, with bespoke digital organising strategies that can help achieve their wider goals. It’s a way of using digital to build deeper and more fulfilling relationships with supporters, to deliver impact on their own terms, generating powerful advocacy and creating sustainable income too.

I firmly believe that this is the often missing ingredient in galvanising our collective power, and where we will see the biggest impact. Results are often slower to come, but combined with our effective digital mobilisation programmes, we are uniquely positioned to ensure digital organising is delivering for partners.

2. Mobilising people in more diverse ways

We’re also going to be evolving and optimising the digital mobilisation model, broadening out the mix of channels and techniques to ensure that we’re always delivering results for partners and tackling any signs of diminishing returns.

To this end, we’re going to broaden our offering to apply our team’s knowledge and creativity to even more digital tools. We’re going to help our partners invest wisely in paid search and harness the untapped power of SEO to bring in new supporters. We’ll be maximising the potential of organic social, both by using it as a key tool in campaigning as well as doing wider strategic work to ensure partners can achieve their goals through this channel – helping them to reach millions with their messages.

We’ll also be doing more deep dives into data, empowering our partners to use it to help them make the best possible decisions, growing our dashboard service to give more people access to the numbers, as well as work to support with data health and analytics.

And we want to ensure that our partners have a sustainable future, by continuing to optimise how we enable people to give in a cost of living crisis through insight driven direct fundraising asks and appeals.

By expanding into these areas, we’ll be delivering progressive change in more ways than ever before.

3. Making high converting sign-up pages open to everyone

Finally, you can’t provide the best of digital mobilisation without paying attention to the tech stack that’s driving it – which is why at Forward Action we created ‘Blueprint’, our unique form builder that we use for the majority of our campaigns. It gives partners a landing page highly optimised for sign-ups, and a daisy chain follow-up that delivers on the conversions they most value.

Many partners have been so impressed with Blueprint’s results that they’ve asked to continue using the platform after their project has wrapped-up. Now, inspired by them, we are exploring rolling it out as a subscription product any of you can use – promising ongoing testing and iterating to ensure it continues to deliver results and remains the most optimised form builder out there.

It already integrates with a wide range of CRMs and is very easy to use, so we just need to do a small bit of development to get it ready. We’d love to hear from you if you think this would be of interest.

Stay in the loop

So there you have it, our exciting next steps! I really look forward to continuing our amazing partnerships delivering the work we do now, bolstered by our expanded portfolio of tools, as well as beginning a journey with more partners towards deeper engagement and longer term outcomes. And with a general election coming up in the UK we have a perfect place to start delivering the change we need to see. Let’s get started!

If you want to be the first to hear about new products like Blueprint and see the results of digital organising work, make sure you sign up to receive our emails. 

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Written by Berry Cochrane