Humanity & Inclusion is a charity working to combat the injustices faced by people with disabilities and vulnerable populations in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster.

Their recent campaign, ‘Stop Bombing Civilians’, encourages supporters to protest the bombardment of innocent citizens in areas of conflict like Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan.

As their website explains, when explosive weapons are used in populated areas, 90% of casualties are civilians. Many are left injured or disabled with their lives and livelihoods completely ruined — surely all would agree that this is not a just or desired outcome of bombardment, no matter what your view on the conflicts generally.

And so we were gratified to learn that WriteToThem, our ‘contact your MP’ service, is playing a part in this campaign.

A toolkit for speaking out

Humanity & Inclusion have put together a set of actions that supporters can take, from signing a petition to taking a selfie and sharing it on social media — or writing to your MP.

“WriteToThem was the obvious choice.”

And that’s where we came in: this last action is managed through integrating WriteToThem on the charity’s campaign page (something that any campaign can do, for free).

We asked Tom Shelton from Humanity & Inclusion to explain more about how they used our service within their integrated campaign.

Up to date contacts

Tom explained that a central part of the campaign is the petition, and it is easy enough for them to run petitions by using the forms on their own website.

However, when they’re asking supporters to directly email MPs, it’s just too complex to maintain and implement the dataset of politicians’ contacts themselves.

“Yes, this data is publicly available, but like many small organisations, we have no capacity for maintaining its integrity”.

Flexible and free

So the charity looked around to see what tools were available.

“There are some impressive tools out there, but most of them are pretty expensive given our modest needs. In previous years, we have used a relatively low cost paid tool for this type of ‘email your MP’ campaign.

“We needed a tool that was simple and safe for our supporters to use.”

“However, given that this new campaign was quite targeted, we were expecting a relatively low volume of emails, so we needed something that was easy to implement on our website, and we didn’t want to make any investment in a paid tool that would involve setup costs.

“We also wanted to avoid an ongoing subscription cost as we knew that our campaign would probably be paused at various points and then re-activated later (say, during elections, parliamentary recess etc).

“In particular, we needed a tool that was simple and safe for our supporters to use, and would help them to approach MPs in a way that is appropriate and would get the best response.

“Based on this, WriteToThem was the obvious choice.”

For all levels of coding knowledge

How easy was it to add the tool to their website?

Tom says that, for anyone with basic web skills, the postcode box option is very simple to set up.

“The more complex integration is also quite straightforward, but due to time constraints, we opted to integrate the postcode finder widget.

“The documentation on the WriteToThem website is excellent.”

“This fitted nicely in with our website and immediately worked. The documentation on the WriteToThem website is excellent, as is the guidance for how best to use the tool for effective campaigns.”

Humanity & Inclusion are actually a great example of an organisation who have read the guidelines and included them into their campaigning plans: if you visit the ’email your MP’ page of their campaign, you’ll see that they encourage you to write messages in your own words, while providing inspiration for some of the points that might be included.

This is because WriteToThem blocks mass copies of identical messages, based on evidence that these tend to be regarded as a nuisance by politicians, rather than having the desired effect.

 

Thank you very much to Tom and Humanity & Inclusion for sharing their experience of using WriteToThem as one part of a simple but effective online campaign.

And now, if you have been convinced of their cause, we suggest that you take advantage of their campaign pages, and email your MP.


Image: ©Peter Biro/HI
Nada, 10, was injured in a bombing with her father in Mosul. As a result of her injuries her leg was amputated below the knee and she will need jaw surgery to help make eating less difficult.

Original source – mySociety

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