Many supporters believe the city should take a position of strong national leadership on this issue and resolve to find a solution that perfect for Raleigh and also serves as the perfect plan (“The Raleigh Plan”) for other cities, too.
On December 4, 2014, the City of Raleigh served Raleigh resident and Men’s Health Magazine editor Gregg Stebben with a Zoning Violation that included the threat of a $500 per day fine.
Being an entrepreneur and renting out the ‘Granny unit’ of his home as a short-term rental on the website Airbnb, in an area of the city where the zoning code doesn’t allow for this kind of short-term rental.
This citation has triggered a firestorm of protests, meetings and media coverage within the community, for many different reasons:
Expressed Pros and Cons of Airbnb Operating within The City of Raleigh
But for the City of Raleigh, this citation raised a bigger question:
Does a city of innovation shut down a technology like Airbnb?
However, the votes were not there to save it.
So, what did we do?
We Designed an Effective, Well-Crafted Grassroots Campaign.
Define the problem. Seek innovative solutions to persuade.
We began the campaign by asking questions. And lots of questions.
What, exactly, were the elected officials’ concerns?
What existing groups were pro Airbnb?
What existing groups opposed Airbnb?
How could we create a sustained effort to keep the conversation relevant?
How do we re-frame public opinion?
What messaging would best impact opinion and persuade?
From the questions, we began to select tools to help us move forward. And we studied the analytics. And optimized. In fact, although national average is about 18% open rate for this type of email marketing, most of our emails had an open rate over 60%.
Local Media Provided Exceptional Coverage Helping to Raise Awareness
As we desired, this issue will given thoughtful consideration in the Law and Public Safety Committee. And will go back to the Raleigh City Council for approval of the committee’s recommendation.
While far from being settled, we helped influence Raleigh City Council not to ban Airbnb. The grassroots campaign worked as designed. We remain active supporting this issue. Check back for additional updates as they become available.
Wonder if grassroots advocacy could help you or your clients?