MoveOn.org: Outreach Analysis:

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1 Memorandum: Date: 1/26/14 To: Danielle DeVoss From: Elizabeth Bell Re: Outreach Analysis MoveOn.org: Outreach Analysis: Introduction: MoveOn is a community of more than 8 million Americans from all walks of life who use innovative technology to lead, participate in, and win campaigns for progressive change. For over 14 years, the MoveOn family of organizations has utilized online resources to lower the barriers to participation in our democracy, so that real Americans have a voice in a political process where big money and corporate lobbyists wield too much influence. MoveOn members have worked together to play a leading role in ending the war in Iraq, helping to pass landmark legislation such as health care reform, and fighting for economic fairness. MoveOn members have also been part of game-changing electoral victories, including the 2006 Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives, and the election and re-election of President Obama. MoveOn.org was started by two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Joan Blades and Wes Boyd. Although neither had experience in politics, they shared deep frustration with the partisan warfare in Washington D.C. and the ridiculous waste of our nation s focus at the time of the Clinton impeachment mess. On September 18, 1998, they launched an online petition to Censure President Clinton and Move On to Pressing Issues Facing the Nation. Within days they had hundreds of thousands of individuals signed up, and began looking for ways these voices could be heard. By the next month, MoveOn PAC, now known as MoveOn.org Political Action, was formed as a political action committee so that like-minded, concerned citizens could influence the outcome of congressional elections, and in turn, the balance of power in Washington, D.C. Overview: The following document is an outreach analysis of MoveOn.org. It aims to analyze the various forms of outreach produced by the company, critique their rhetorical strategy, and finally, discuss take-aways and best practices, assessing MoveOn in terms of improving their overall

2 outreach to the community and other possible future members. I initially chose to do an outreach analysis on MoveOn.org because I receive s from the weekly. After looking further into the organization and their mission I concluded that they re very unique in the way they re a politically focused nonprofit organization. While I do not identify myself strictly Democrat, I tend to fall into the liberal category on many issues, and I generally support the causes that this organization is promoting. Today MoveOn is one of America s largest political powerhouses, claiming over 5 million members and spending several million to both elect Democrat candidates and support Democrat legislation. Analysis: I have chosen to analyze the following three outreach-oriented documents: Press Release Weekly Newsletter ( ) Facebook Campaign I believe it is necessary to include a variety of outreach-oriented documents in my analysis in order to compare and contrast the strategies and rhetoric used in each. I am going to assess the ways in which logos, pathos, and ethos are utilized in each outreach-oriented document. After analyzing the documents I will be able to determine what rhetorical moves the organization is making, and to which audiences, to support their campaign through these various forms of outreach and decide whether or not the strategy they ve implemented backs their mission. Press Release: A press release is written to the members of the news media for the purpose of announcing something newsworthy. The aim is to attract favorable media attention to the organization and events marketed by the organization itself and their clients. I chose to analyze a press release published in February of 2008 because it addresses a very big issue for MoveOn, the vote to endorse Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for President. Toward the beginning of the press release, they quote Senator Obama s statement accepting the endorsement. This is then followed by a statement from Eli Pariser, MoveOn.org s Executive Director at the time. This use of ethos illustrates to readers that this organization is legitimate and backed by people who rank very high in both society as well as within the organization itself. Logos is applied by listing the number of state and nationwide members the organization already has. Throughout the release you will read things like, Our mission, we ve learned, our members, and We congratulate, a rhetorical strategy using pathos, implemented to make already existing members really feel as though they re a part of something, and inspire those who are not yet members to join in order to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

3 Overall, in the press release, I see more use of ethos and logos than pathos. Given the type of document it is, coupled with the audience it was written for, this makes good sense. A press release is a very factual report of something, and when discussing something as big as a historical presidential candidate accepting their endorsement, in an article whose audience is likely adult citizens who are interested in politics, I think this was a great strategy to get their organizations name out there in a credible, intelligent manner. Weekly Newsletter: On their official website, MoveOn offers a Newsletter signup, where you can sign up for MoveOn to keep you posted with any updates and alerts that may occur. This is a totally free service through which members may stay informed and up to date on what s happening with the organization. You do not have to give money to be a member; however there are links on each medium where one can donate to the organization. In the most recent newsletter I received from MoveOn, I was impressed with a certain rhetorical strategy I picked up on before even opening the . The subject line read, Elizabeth vs. the Koch brothers. What a great way for an organization to reach out specifically to each member, and really make the member, who is one of 8 million, feel personally connected to the organization. The newsletter goes on to discuss that there is a problem with Obamacare, that it is not the website or missing public option, but rather that it s the messaging. There is a box to the side of the content of the message that reads as follows: We're losing the messaging war on Obamacare badly. Unless we start telling the powerful stories about how Obamacare is saving people's lives, Democrats are in serious trouble this November. Data wizard Nate Silver just rated Republican chances of winning the Senate at 60%! 1 We've collected hundreds of incredible stories from MoveOn members. Please chip in $3 today so we can get them on the air in swing states and districts. Chip in $3 I think this is a great way to get donations. Who can t afford $3.00? $3.00-$5.00 seems to be the amount continually suggested to donate through links allover MoveOn s outreach documents. I see logos and pathos utilized most throughout the content of the newsletters sent from MoveOn to its members. The we re losing badly and unless we start... illustrate effective use of pathos. Again, connecting the members to the organization, while also using words that make people feel their cause is worth supporting and that they should do so as soon as possible, is a great move. They include a lot of figures such as the example listed above about the Republican chances of winning the Senate is at 60%. This use of logos motivates members to get moving on making things happen, and likely increases the number who members who donate. When an organization has the luxury of having 8 million members, even an 10 th of them donating $3.00 is a monumental amount of support for their cause.

4 Facebook Campaign: The MoveOn organization has a pretty huge Facebook campaign where they post photos, videos, and events. Their Facebook campaign has 573, 555 likes, which indicates their massive following. Their About page contains the following content: Our 100% member-funded approach sets us apart and allows us to be fiercely independent as we put progressive people power to work in our democracy. Mission MoveOn brings real Americans back into the political process. With over 8 million members across America - from students to stay-at-home moms to business leaders - we work together to realize the progressive promise of our country. MoveOn is a service a way for busy but concerned citizens to find their political voice in a system dominated by big money and big media. The rhetorical strategies used in the content on their Facebook posts are much more visual. There are several pictures and videos designed to grab the attention and gain the support of members of the nation. The following, for example, is their most recent post and was posted on their Facebook page this week, March 24, 2014: Another post they have recently put up is a link to a podcast. They have written the following above the link to that podcast. If you believe that every human life is equally precious, no matter where we're born or who we love, then this is a fight you'll care about, and this is a podcast you have to hear. This rhetorical strategy is effective in getting those who might not be interested in the exact issue the podcast covers, but who are interested in overall idea of equal rights, to listen to the podcast and potentially get them interested in the subtopic that is being broadcasted. I notice a great deal of pathos used on the organizations Facebook page. I think this is a good spot do utilize this rhetorical strategy. Many people who like their Facebook page may not be members, but are interested in what the organization is promoting and posting about.

5 Facebook allows for more visual content, such as images, videos, and podcasts, and I believe that it may be easier to implement moves which appeal emotionally to the public given these opportunities. Of course there are statistics and other moves made that are logically appealing, but I see much more pathos-oriented moves than logos-oriented moves on this particular outreach medium. I see Ethos being used explicitly in the content least of the three strategies here, however, through pictures, the About section, and other implicit measures, anyone viewing the page can see that MoveOn is a legitimate, credible organization. Conclusions: When looking at each of the documents and then stepping back to regard them collectively, I ve determined that MoveOn.org has a uniform voice in terms of their use of rhetoric, all of which supports and promotes the organization s mission. I believe they use each logos, ethos, and pathos to support their mission; they do so in the appropriate amount based on which document they re writing content for and to which audience they are aiming to reach. I believe they are working within a very effective strategy regarding their outreach being both effective, as well as supporting their mission. In a press release, which is a formal report to the public, using more ethos and logos in their rhetorical strategy is a good move. This is a very professional form of writing, and is a piece that will reach a broad audience, many of which may not yet be members of the organization, so utilization of a rhetorical strategy with more weight on logos and ethos than pathos makes sense here. Newsletters to already-existing members place more weight on pathos, using logos to further inspire members to donate also makes sense. There is much less need for a focus on ethos in this setting; since the content is reaching an audience who are already members of the organization, proving credibility isn t as essential. Those reading the content are members, thus the organization can assume this audience is well aware the organization is credible, and need not waste space trying to convince them of their ethics. Finally, MoveOn s Facebook campaign makes good use of all three of Aristotle s rhetorical strategies, with a good weight distribution based on the medium they re working through. The Facebook page allows for more visual rhetoric, which I believe is the most effective way to implement pathos the strategy MoveOn has placed the most weight on in this form of outreach. I believe MoveOn has done a fantastic job implementing all three strategies, logos, ethos, and pathos, into each and every outreach document, and have placed the appropriate use of each based on which type of document content has been written for and who their target audience is for in that particular documents. I have certainly learned a lot and taken away some best practices from MoveOn in terms of outreach. The first thing I took away was that the greater the following and membership of your organization, the less you need from each member. I think offering a totally free membership, and building a monumental following is very effective in promoting and supporting your organization. Secondly, utilizing different rhetorical strategies in different mediums based on your audience, and then from there giving an opportunity for donating to your organization seems to be highly effective.

6 Appendices: The following are links to the outreach documents I have analyzed: Facebook page: Press release endorsing Barak Obama: If you would like me to forward you the newsletter via I am more than happy to do so.

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