When people come together and decide to shape their community for the better, the work of organizing begins. But where do they go from there?
Digital organizing is the best way to mobilize a group of determined people ready to make a change. In fact, spending on technology for volunteer and activist mobilization has grown tremendously in the past few years.
So, how does a team begin to create its digital organizing strategy?
Every successful digital organizing strategy requires strong communication and coordination within the team, and technology can help. There’s a variety of tools that organizing teams can use to start organizing digitally — communication platforms like Slack or Discord are some examples of tools that can help teams stay in constant communication.
Teams should also think about how they’ll conduct outreach to expand their supporter base. Will supporters be receptive to emails? Or should outreach primarily happen on social media platforms? It can be helpful to create a target demographic of people who are most likely to be strong supporters and consider their interactions with technology. For example, if a target demographic mainly consists of people over 55, a platform like Instagram might not be the best platform for communication.
Teams can mobilize through platforms like Facebook, but creating a robust digital organizing strategy requires software specifically designed to support organizers. For instance, texting is the best form of communication for most people, and organizing groups need digital organizing platforms to text supporters at scale.
Impactive is one example of digital organizing software. It allows organizing teams and volunteers to send peer-to-peer texts, relational messages, and broadcast messages all in one platform. Plus, there's one feed for all the calls to action, which means volunteers can join just one space to get the latest details and information.
Relational organizing is one of the most effective and enjoyable ways to expand a team’s impact. And all it requires is a moment to speak with friends and family and motivate them to take action! Once one relational contact takes action, they can encourage others in their personal network to take action, and voila: a chain of action is born.
One of the best examples of relational organizing in action is vote tripling. One person commits to talking to three friends or family members to get them to vote. So by reaching out to one person, organizing teams actually reach out to four total eligible voters.
In the same spirit, organizing teams can adopt this approach to multiply their impact, especially in the beginning stages of creating their digital organizing strategy.
Digital organizing is evolving as a focus of many organizing teams, but this doesn’t mean organizers should stop investing in traditional methods. For instance, canvassing is still an important way for organizing teams to reach out to people within their community; groups should never underestimate the potential of a good face-to-face conversation.
Plus, some conversations happen spontaneously, like when someone runs into their neighbor during a walk. In the aftermath of these conversations, digital tools are useful for organizers to follow up with potential supporters and volunteers.
In any case when technology is involved, organizing teams should be aware of how accessible the tools are to team members and volunteers. While most people have access to the internet, it may be limited. Or, some people may not be as tech savvy as others and may need extra help to get started. In these cases, organizing teams can leverage traditional methods more often. Being aware of accessibility will help organizers create a more effective mobilization strategy.
Digital organizing is a practice that continues to evolve as technology improves — organizers can also check out existing resources on digital organizing best practices to upgrade their digital organizing strategy. And as always, the best strategies are created by continuously testing and optimizing different tactics. Groups can use these tips above to jumpstart organizing and will find the methods that work the best for their group in due time!