Spitfire Strategies

Over the course of seven months, Spitfire worked with a coalition of 10 advocacy organizations to educate and activate the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and immigrant rights communities around the need for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship.

LGBT Immigration Coalition

Spitfire reviewed research about attitudes toward immigration reform to understand current perceptions. The research showed that stories of individuals and couples personally impacted by the country’s broken immigration system demonstrated the importance of fair reform while resonating emotionally with the LGBT community and legislative decision makers. This research laid the foundation for strategic campaign messaging and tactics.

Spitfire leveraged select opportunities to ensure the stories of the LGBT community were represented at large-scale immigrant rights rallies. We also used major events and holidays to share the personal experiences of LGBT immigrants, such as holiday e-cards that featured their stories and struggles with family separation.

Although comprehensive immigration reform remains elusive, these groups credited Spitfire with helping them raise the collective consciousness around the need for reform. As one leader put it, “We moved the needle, and that’s hard to do.”

We used strong media relations to activate the LGBT community, a constituency that was not previously engaged in immigration reform. Spitfire collected personal stories and created a series of op-eds and blog posts that were placed in mainstream news outlets, LGBT news outlets and Hill publications. We placed op-eds by national and state leaders from the LGBT rights movement as well as joint op-eds from LGBT and immigration advocates. In addition, Spitfire implemented an aggressive rapid response program to amplify voices of the LGBT community at critical points in the process, including votes on the Senate immigration reform bill and the Supreme Court’s repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

By understanding the funder’s goals and the capabilities of the coalition partners, Spitfire was able to maximize grantee participation and amplify the coalition’s reach to achieve the groups’ collective goals. Spitfire developed strategies to support grantee communication activities by creating plug-and-play toolkits with message guidance, template op-eds and social media posts.

Through Spitfire’s support, partner organizations successfully articulated the importance of immigration reform to the LGBT community. Several groups noted a shift in understanding and awareness of immigrant rights issues among LGBT activists and advocacy groups. Many of the campaign efforts had successful outcomes. The holiday e-cards generated more than one million impressions on Twitter and were liked or shared on Facebook more than 4,200 times, and our LGBT stories garnered media pick up in mainstream news outlets, LGBT and ethnic news outlets and Hill publications including Huffington Post, Associated Press, The Hill, The Bay Area Reporter, CNN, NPR, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Fox News Latino and The Advocate.

Although comprehensive immigration reform remains elusive, these groups credited Spitfire with helping them raise the collective consciousness around the need for reform. As one leader put it, “We moved the needle, and that’s hard to do.”

Spitfire Services Employed

Communications planning & implementation
Digital plays
Training & capacity building

“This is a truly transformative program and there is no question that it is preparing leaders to be courageous communicators.”

- Colleen Bailey, Executive Director, The National Steinbeck Center

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