Power And Dollar

Learn It From Shrimp and Election

In any given year, I would see the following news story by CNN as a human rights issue.  Not this year.  In a year where we have a long and arduous primary on the left side, the Thai shrimp story is a good way for a non-profit to get the attention to the topic it cares the most: free trade.  Here is the link to the story: 


Who sponsored the study? According to CNN, it is an “international nonprofit allied organization of the AFL-CIO”.  Even if AFL-CIO did not intend to project this issue on the stage of primary race, the media is doing the job.   

What is the interests of this story?  This story is to drive the readers to import products are morally tainted.  To prevent that is to establish a higher labour rights overseas among our free-trade trading partners.  That will increase the costs of production overseas and thus make the domestic products more competitive, at least domestically.  And even though US may not import shrimps from Thailand, the image that “imports are morally tainted” is implanted in the minds of the voters.

This is the same tactic (or effect) that the Tibet protests / Olympic torch protests achieve.  If the timing of these stories are timed and are in a sequence, then they can build up a very effective momentum to force the issue from an individual story into a campaign issue where all candidates cannot afford to ignore. 

Of course, the organization has to have some sort of ground level organization to make it work effectively, such as “concerned citizens” asking the right question in town hall meetings when the candidates attend.  And such schedule is easy to obtain.  Better yet, find out which media outlet and the name of the reporter were attending.  (planting)

And when third party campaign work (i.e. soft money) in conjunction with these releases, they become powerful.  While the media attention is on the issue, fundraising can get a much better lift of response rate.  The metric of one time donor amount will see a spike.  This is also a wonderful time for donor acquisition.  Elections are exciting, even for shrimping!


April 23, 2008 - Posted by | advocacy, Current Events, election, Election 2008, environment, fundraising, nonprofits, opinion, politics, Thoughts, wordpress-political-blogs

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