Issue campaigns have a lot in common with startups, especially when it comes to marketing. For example, a non-profit will often come up with a campaign idea, invest significant resources in building the relevant tools, and then market it to the public. Sometimes the campaign is successful and even goes "viral", but too often it doesn't. This is very similar to startups that invest millions in developing a cool idea only to have it fail. Webvan -- which raised more than $800 million in venture funding only to go bankrupt -- is a classic example.
- Customer discovery: What need is your initiative going to fulfill for the user? Is that really important to them (or is it simply wishful thinking)? Do you offer a credible solution or are other alternatives more compelling?
- Customer validation: Are users willing to take the desired step, whether it is to donate, volunteer or write a letter to Congress?
- Customer creation: How are you going to reach out to new users and build your audience base? What are the costs and metrics for each of your activities?
- Company building: Do you have the resources and processes to achieve the desired goal? Is there a reasonable return on your organization's investment of time and resources?
- Performable.com: set up quick landing pages and see how they perform
- Usertesting.com and Silverbackapp.com: put your project in front of users and get high-quality feedback
- SurveyMonkey and 4Q: survey your users. But remember that people aren't always objective in their responses
- Google Optimizer: test out variations of a page and quickly evolve the best possible option.