You won’t believe what we’re building now.
We’re taking a 25-year-old website and turning it into the most effective tool for advocacy, ever. And we’re doing it for you.
Your favorite consumer advocacy site, this weekly newsletter, and the advocacy I practice with my team every day, is about to get a complete upgrade. It will have a broader reach, will help more people, and will hold more businesses accountable than ever. Your support has made all of this possible.
You won’t believe what we’re building today
After the IRS gave us a green light to become a 501(c)(3) earlier this year, my advocacy team and I decided to take a long, hard look at the organization. Everyone expected a few cosmetic changes, including a new design to reflect our new nonprofit status. But we knew we had to go further.
We started by reviewing our stories and asking the question: Why are people visiting our site? What do they need?
The answer: advice and advocacy.
Some of the other information — the analysis you read, republished from USA Today and Washington Post stories, for example — is not a core function of the organization. Those articles are a form of evangelism. And by that, I mean they’re written to bring people to the advocacy site. So they don’t really belong on the site, because you’re already there.
The new site, when it’s done, will focus exclusively on advice and advocacy. We already have the largest database of executive contacts online. Now we’re developing a team of advocate-writers who will personally mediate cases and then write about them with firsthand knowledge.
When we cover an issue, it will be for the people who are already here and who require no-nonsense, actionable advice for a particular problem. Or to put it in theological terms, we will no longer preach to the choir.
You’re going to love the new site. I know, because you already do. We’ve made a slow turn on the content since May, and you can see some of the results on the site today. We’re publishing fewer, more thoughtful stories. Our traffic and caseloads have surged as a result, so I know this is the right decision.
Doubling down on what we do best
I keep saying that you’re not going to believe what we’re building, and that’s true for the next step. My personal site, Chriselliotts.com, has hosted a weekly post and a newsletter about my own stories for several years.
People have asked: Why do you need two sites?
It’s simple. My personal site publishes my stories. It’s a vital part of the evangelism efforts. For example, it currently refers traffic to my media outlets, which, in turn, send people to our consumer advocacy site. It’s also a place where I can honestly express my opinions, which I do from time to time.
The next step will be moving my external columns (USA Today’s On Travel, the Washington Post’s Navigator, as well as the syndicated Travel Troubleshooter and Problem Solved) to my personal site. People expect my columns to reside on my site, and since Elliott Advocacy is now an independent nonprofit organization, it’s technically your site.
That frees my advocacy team to double down on what it does best. We can pour all of our resources into research, helping resolve problems in the help forums, advocating cases, and then writing about those problems.
I’m also doubling down on my evangelism. Last week, I started writing about customer service for Forbes. That’s going to lead more people to the advocacy work we do every day. Here’s my debut column.
Why we can’t do this without your help
We would have never gotten this far without you. Honestly. You helped us meet our fundraising goal this spring, allowing us to cover the costs of redesigning and moving the sites. Individuals now make up our single-largest donor. So when I say, “We can’t do this without you,” that’s literally true. You’re the reason the site is here, period. But you won’t believe what we’re building next.
Now we’re shifting to the next exciting stage, which will be challenging: Finding the right team to pull this vision together. We need your expertise in a variety of ways:
Fundraising. If you have any experience with grant writing, fundraising, or donor management, we need you now. We need to bring in some large angel donors to help build the most effective consumer advocacy site in the world.
Advocacy and writing. We’re putting together an A-team or people with customer management experience who can mediate cases and write thoughtful, balanced stories about them.
Production. If you know WordPress or have great HTML skills, we have a place for you on our production team or newsletter.
If you’re interested in any of these opportunities to volunteer, please fill out this form. I’d love to hear from you.
Bottom line: You won’t believe what we’re building. But when you see the results, you will. With your help, we’ll get there.
This week’s stories
Remember what I said about evangelism? Here are this week’s stories. Your clicks, likes, and shares are so important to keep the advocacy going. Thank you!
- These companies have the best customer service (Forbes)
- The most dangerous place to vacation might be close to home (USA Today)
- Flying with diabetes: What you need to know (Washington Post)
- What to do when they run out of rental cars (USA Today)
- A better customer experience in the future? You can bet on it (Forbes)
Thank you! I know you won’t believe what we’re building. But we’re doing it.