Reaching People Where They Are: Integrated Digital and Field Organizing with Daniel Marks

– Again, welcome to today’s talk on Reaching People Where They Are: Integrated Digital and Field Organizing with Daniel Marks I am Teresa Acuna I’m associate director of Democratic Governance Programs at the Ash Center The Ash Center is one of 12 research think tanks at the Harvard Kennedy School, and we focus on bridging academia and practice to improve our democracy Before I turn it over to Daniel, I wanna start us off with some brief housekeeping announcements First, I wanna thank you in advance for your patience for any technical glitches we may encounter today To minimize interruptions and ambient noise, the audience is muted, but we encourage you to use the chat box for questions or comments We will dedicate about the last 15 minutes of our time together for an interactive session and questions, but if you have any questions throughout the presentation, you should just, again, feel free to use the chat box to send them, and we will answer them at the end This event is being recorded and could be found on the Ash Center website for future viewing And today’s event is part of the Technology and Democracy Fellowship workshop series The fellowship is composed of mid-career practitioners who are leveraging technology to improve democratic governance They use their affiliation with our center to incubate new ideas and explore ways to improve democracy and the ways citizens participate in it With that, I’m happy to introduce Daniel Marks, our current Ash Center Tech and Democracy fellow Daniel works at the intersection of racial justice, digital organizing, politics and technology He is currently digital manager at Color of Change, where he leads membership engagement, innovation and growth on the organization’s tech platforms He also manages the organization’s ad buying program for their various campaigns And with that, welcome, Daniel – Thank you so much for that introduction I am so grateful to be here I’m gonna quickly share my screen and get ready for the presentation – [Teresa] Great – All righty, Is everyone able to see the presentation full screen? – [Teresa] Yes – Awesome, perfect So welcome, everyone, and thank you so much, Teresa, and to the Harvard Ash Center for inviting me to speak today I’m so grateful for the opportunity, given the circumstances that we’re dealing with in this current climate My name, as she said, is Daniel Marks, and I’m so happy to be here Over the next hour or so, I’m going to be talking about the concept of field and digital integration, and how to reach people where they are in order to help win for progressive movements So I wanted to start by just setting some agendas I will be beginning this presentation by going over how I became a digital organizer Then I’ll go over some 101s on what digital organizing means and define some terms that can be confusing Then we’ll talk about this concept of meeting people where they are and how that exactly happens I’ll then go into digital and field integration best practices (audio cuts out) engagement And then talk about COVID-19 coronavirus, and how that impacts digital organizing as a whole and the progressive movement Once the concepts are explained, I will then go into an exercise where I really encourage everyone on this presentation workshop to get involved Think about what you wanna do within your time and how it can best help you And then we’ll go into a series of question and answers So as Teresa said, I wanted to just talk more about some house rules and engagement, and define the scope of this presentation I’d love for you all to talk in the chat box throughout this presentation, just so I know that you’re here, that you’re listening and that you have particular questions that I can keep in mind Please, again, remain on mute to alleviate any ambient noise And just to reiterate, these are views and opinions that are of my own They do not necessarily reflect Color of Change as an organization And this presentation will not include in-depth analyses of any campaigns that I’ve worked on over the course of the past couple of years at Color of Change PAC And finally, this is coming from a point of view as a black queer digital organizer, not as a field organizer, so this is the lens that I’m coming through with this presentation I wanted to start just with a little bit about myself I went to American University and I lived in D.C. for four years And I had a wonderful time, but I had a lot of aha moments over my time in undergrad And one of those aha moments that led me to the digital organizing space was in 2014 when my friends highlighted some racism going on on campus and wanted some support And I had worked on several digital and communications internships,

and I felt that I could best help with the movement by uplifting their organizing on the ground, first by getting involved in the protest Not pretending to lead it, but just supporting when I could, but also recognizing and uplifting the racism that was going on on a particular app called Yik Yak Yik Yak was extremely popular in around 2014 to 2016. but over time, students of color, in particular, were being harassed They were being called the N word They were being called a lot of other derogatory terms, as you can see in the screenshot above And I was able to use my PR tactics to get that information to The Washington Post, to, to NBC and to other news organizations, both nationally and locally And this helped spread that information beyond America, and to also just increase the scope of what this issue was And it made me realize that this work is urgent and that it’s not going to go away, and that racial justice is in every part of my life Once I left school, I knew I wanted to continue racial justice, and I figured the best place to do that was the American Civil Liberties Union And I worked in the national office for a year 1/2 in the Racial Justice Program as a legal assistant, where I got first-hand experience in the Trump era, in the beginning of the Trump era, how urgent racial justice work was, particularly around the school-to-prison pipeline and debtors prisons work Although I really enjoyed it, I knew that I wanted to get my heart back into organizing because when Trump was elected, my mind really shifted And racial justice work, at least in terms of the tactics that I knew how to do, seemed best to fit within Color of Change And my time at Color of Change started in January of 2018 And when I started at Color of Change, I really learned so much about organizing firsthand, and I was able to get my feet wet Just to get a little context on what Color of Change is, Color of Change is a nonprofit organization It is the largest online racial justice organization It’s driven by 1.7 million members We move decision makers in corporations and government to create a more humane and less hostile world for black people And I’m happy to elaborate on the scope of the work that I do Here’s just an example of maybe five or six projects that are really important that I’ve worked on I work on the intersection of membership, engagement and innovation That means we’re trying to get people to take action on really important, sometimes dense, topics And it is my job to make those topics more easy to understand and get people to take action We’ve worked to get out the count in the 2020 census Currently, that’s my main focus In 2018, I was traveling across the country, going to different events to activate black voters online and bring them to events to just tell them about how the elections were impacting their communities I’ve also worked to uplift and shape the Facebook Messenger platform, where we encouraged people to connect Hollywood moments, like “When They See Us,” to mass incarceration through quizzes and public education forums And I’ve also had the opportunity to help stop gerrymandering bills in North Carolina, particularly House Bill 519 So now that you know a little bit more about me, I wanna start with the 101 on what digital organizing is because in the movement, before I got my feet wet, I was learning about so many terms, but no one really told me explicitly what they meant So what is digital organizing? Digital organizing is the use of online tools and platforms to identify supporters of causes or candidates, and engage those supporters and mobilize them to, therefore, take action When you are digital organizing, it’s really important to create S.M.A.R.T. goals S.M.A.R.T. goals are goals that are both specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely Once you develop these S.M.A.R.T. goals, it’s very important to develop a strategy How are you going to achieve these goals? And one of the ways you can achieve those goals, or one of the larger sections on achieving them, is through engagement tactics Engagement tactics are innovative actions you’ll employ in order to win And then, once you know your tactics and once the campaign is either over, whether you won that campaign or lost it, you really need to assess and review what you have done That can take form in the type of surveys you create, in-person debriefs, retreats and report backs So when you’re digital organizing and you’re working with field teams, in particular, sometimes you have ladders of engagement, or oftentimes you have ladders of engagement This is the pathway to deepening engagement with people that you’re reaching Since I’m on the digital side, it often starts with seeing content, whether that be an ad or a social, from a constituent or a person who is our target

Once they see that piece of content, they then can take action, either through email or SMS Then they might share that content with their friends and their family Then they can take action on even more campaigns, and eventually get to that high bar ask That high bar ask can come in the form of creating a video, donating or maybe even attending an offline event With the field, it looks a little different The pathway or the ladder of engagement is reaching out to folks So field people usually use different apps to either call, text or canvas They’ll sometimes send emails, they’ll post on social, wanting to get people automatically to either RSVP for an action or confirm that they’re going to vote for somebody Once they do that, they really want their constituents or their folks to attend more activations, become volunteers and eventually lead within the movement so that they can be representatives of their community Unfortunately, these ladders of engagement end up looking somewhere like this, where you’re having different pieces of a puzzle and they’re operating in silos These silos are not productive at all Instead, we want something to look more like this, where you have a digital puzzle piece and you have a field puzzle piece And through integrated digital and field organizing, you’re both using innovative tools and doing online and offline engagement to connect to help win So once you know your ladders of engagement and how to connect the dots, it’s really important to think of this concept of meeting people where they are But often we throw around this term, but we don’t say how to do that And it’s thrown around often, very, very often, and it generally means diagnosing folks’ values, their styles, their needs, their emotions, and connecting them in a way that is effective for them, instead of assuming what they need This often looks like building a plane while flying it This is another term that is thrown around a lot within the movement space, and it is very true In the organizing world, you’ll often hear friends and family saying this And the movement changes very rapidly That is why it’s important to develop structure And the structure can look like five of the tools that I’m gonna outline for you just now These principles are principles that I created myself, but they can be loosely defined and reconfigured in ways that best suit you, right? So the first one is internal communication is key Integrated goals and strategies, knowing your audience, refining your messaging and creating a digital toolbox Over the course of the next 10 minutes or so, I’m going to deep dive into these five principles and explain what they mean So the first one is internal communication is key This might sound redundant, but it is incredibly, incredibly important When you’re communicating with field folks from a digital point of view, they are on the ground You might be in that same city or you might not be in that same city That is why it is imperative to set up daily calls between the field and digital across all seniority levels If you are a digital manager, it’s really important to talk to field organizers and senior field organizers and field directors in order to just get the information that you need best It’s also important to develop content calendars and share calendars between teams And then it’s important to break silos Breaking silos means that you are creating group chats between digital and field staff so that there’s no information that’s left behind Daily calls are great, but if someone’s on the West Coast and you’re on the East Coast, and after that call finishes, since you have to pivot often, you need to know what’s happening at all times I’m seeing some questions or some chats Once you break these silos, it’s really important to know the role within the movement You need to know what you’re doing versus what someone else is doing so that you’re not doing the same type of work If you’re not communicating, it’s very easy to overlap and to do extra, unnecessary work My favorite of these internal communication tactics is leading with vulnerability That means setting up communication guidelines to create productive environments That means respecting your employees’ or your teammates’ pronouns That means respecting their boundaries That means just coming with a sense of respect and kindness because this work can extend beyond the nine to five very, very often And it’s also important to establish what shared digital organizing tools you’re going to use For example, Team by the Tuesday Company This tool allows digital organizers and field organizers to work together in order to set goals, track those goals and also share content for members to engage in

And as I said before, don’t be afraid to pivot Pivoting is natural in the organizing space You cannot expect for even 30 minutes of your day to look the same as the next 30 minutes You can try to build that structure, and it’s important to, but also know that you have to have some leeway My second principle is integrating your goals and strategies This looks like defining what your campaign goals are together, and not separately This often looks like just (audio cuts out) but the goals are individually and coming together to fill in the gaps within what those goals look like So for example, if you’re a field organizer, you’re definitely going to have door knocking goals, calling goals, texting goals, If you’re a digital organizer, you’re gonna be thinking of paid acquisition How are you going to reach those members that you don’t already have? How are you going to write scripts for the field to use? What digital tools are you going to use to help impact the field and also expand the field? Another really important goal and strategy is defining that theory of change What is the North Star connecting both the field and the digital teams, leading them to that victory? What hypotheses are you going to be creating? How are you defining success? And again, it’s really important to build a pathway of online and offline engagement The third principle is knowing your audience You cannot make assumptions about people And it’s really important, particularly when working with communities of color, not to create stereotypes And remember that folks aren’t a monolith, right? You need to know where they live, what the gender breakdown of your audience is What’s the racial breakdown? Who are you trying to reach? What issues do folks care about? And it’s really important to talk to the field team to determine the best use of some assets because they might know what folks need on the ground better than what you think is best A great example of this through age demographics is if you’re working with really new voters who are 18, 19, you might wanna reach out on TikTok or Instagram versus Facebook because they’re just not there But if you’re working with lower propensity older voters, they might be on Facebook, or you might wanna just door knock and prioritize on-the-ground engagement in that facility Another great tactic is to use voter file data This is polling lists based on voter turnout, not who they voted for, ’cause that’s not legal And then region and registration statuses You need to know that information And also, as I said before, what social media are people using? Because that can influence your tactics Principle number four is refining your messaging It’s really important to know that you have to create scripts for the field team, and create scripts that will work Usually it goes into three different steps These steps are door knocking scripts, phone banking scripts and sending texts The strategies are very similar, but they also operate differently Door knocking, you really have one shot to capture someone, so the script is usually a guideline, but it also really is important to encourage those folks to use their personalities on the ground, to gather body language When you’re phone banking, however, that script is really, really, really important because you’re reading from it, and they’re not able to see your body language They only can read, or listen to your voice, rather When sending texts, however, there are different parameters You need to send that text within 160 characters or less You also want to figure out what language works best, and also test, test, test Creating A/B tests allows you to refine your messaging You can refine your messaging in various ways, including through issue area tests, creating a sender test, whether that comes from a personal name or the campaign An example of that is, “Hi, it’s Daniel from Color of Change,” or, “Hi, it’s Color of Change.” And then think of length of your message Do you want your message to be the full 160 characters? Do you wanna send two back to back? Or do you wanna be really pithy and send something that’s maybe 90 characters or less? Another thing to think about is using field organizers as campaign influencers There’s no one better to feel more organic than folks who are working with you They are able to tell that narrative because they’re experiencing that narrative more than anyone else Principle five is the digital toolbox The digital toolbox is the list of all the tactics that you plan on deploying throughout your campaign A list of successful tactics that I will then go into detail about include email engagement, digital ads, texting blasts, Facebook Messenger chatbots and using relational storytelling Let’s start with email engagement Email engagement is the cornerstone to digital organizing Using organizing CRMs is a very strong tactic

because you’re able to collect user data, you’re able to send emails, you’re able to put people into different audiences, you’re able to re-target these audiences and you’re able to A/B test Some examples of CRMs that are very effective include EveryAction, Blue State and The Action Network I particularly use ActionKit within my role at Color of Change And within the digital and field integration, you really want to think about what you’re going to do, so event recruitment, online fundraising, digital organizing, volunteer recruitment and grassroots mobilization It’s also important to think about your digital ads Digital ads are very crucial because they allow you to reach a larger audience than what is in your current scope in your CRM Some things that you can do to create your ad, or the goal, rather, is to increase awareness, to get people to want more information about your campaign, or to make a donation or engage more with the work itself Some things to think about in terms of targeting include where are your ads gonna be deployed? What location are you using? What’s the age and gender breakdown? What language are you going to be using in your ads, particularly in different folk of color communities, whether that includes Latinos You might wanna think about how you’re gonna translate that messaging into Spanish Or if you’re not able to, find someone who can You’re also gonna wanna break down by interests, look-alike audiences and custom audiences Look-alike audiences are audiences that you upload into an ads manager, and then it broadens the scope of your audience to find folks who are similar to your base And within the political ad space, Facebook still reigns supreme The spending breakdown is 60% versus other sources, like Google and other platforms And in the next slide, I’ll be talking explicitly, sorry, about Facebook ads Facebook ads are often the bread and butter of the work that I do, particularly around trying to educate folks and get them to take action, and also understand who certain candidates are So when you’re working within Facebook ads, it’s important to really know what the terms mean in order to analyze effectiveness So we’ll start with ad creative Ad creative, that’s just the visuals, that’s the way the ad looks That includes the copy, the headline, the imagery and the sub-headline as well When you’re creating ads, it’s also important to think of the bid How much are you willing to pay to reach your target? You can either select auto bidding or you can set a bid cap If you’re in a rush, you can create that bid cap to spend down more quickly or more robust Remarketing really involves targeting someone who’s already visited a website with ads on Facebook These come in the form of Facebook pixels Some other terms that are important include impressions That’s the number of times your content has been displayed, regardless of the clicks Reach is the number of people who see your content The cost per click is literally the average cost you pay to have someone reach your ad, and that’s the amount of money spent for clicks And the cost for action is how much it cost to get a action, whether that be a petition, whether that is an RSVP for an event You can track all of that information And then you wanna consider on the back end On the right, that’s a screenshot of what the back end of the ads manager looks like You can choose what you want your ad to deploy as, whether it’s a traffic ad, a video ad, whether your ad is for messaging through Facebook Messenger or engagement, among other things Just to move forward, we’re gonna go into texting, as well, and some strategies that are important Texting is super effective in terms of open rates If you want people to read your information, texting is among the best to use, compared to emailing Open rates are as high as 90%, compared to the approximate 20% of all emails And in terms of strategy and the types of SMSs you can create, there are peer-to-peer, which are the best way to personally engage with a large list of members Usually owned by the field team, not digital, because they are going back and forth with the messaging, and we’re usually sending large quantity of messages and tracking large quantity of responses Broadcasting involves sending bulk messages to many recipients who have already subscribed onto your onboarding This means that these are folks who you already have You’re just sending them more information Mobile flows are different Mobile flows are messages to subscribers that include interactive polls, questions You can get more creative with those types of information You can also link a broadcast to a mobile flow And a way to acquire new members is through keywords

Keywords are what you often see political candidates, like Vice President Biden or President Trump, using, where they’re on a podium and it says “text blank word” to a maybe six-digit number That allows folks to opt into a mobile flow Oftentimes, it’ll ask for a ZIP code and for personal information so that they can keep re-targeting you But you also have to follow some best practices here You need to include a legal disclaimer: message and data rates apply You also should keep your messaging pretty short, as I said before Under 160 characters is preferred And keep your content conversational We’ve all received that text that sounded like a robot, and then block it and report it to spam That is the tricky situation with sending texts You don’t want it to sound like spam You want it to sound like it’s coming from a person And you don’t want them to know that it’s coming, usually, from a interface So an example of a sender line to not sound so robotic is, “Hi, it’s Daniel from Color of Change “Do you wanna come to this event?” Something as simple as that It allows them to, therefore, click onto an event action and then maybe RSVP My favorite of these is chatbots Chatbots are rules and sometimes artificial intelligence that you can interact with via a chat interface I have worked with chatbots explicitly on Facebook Messenger Facebook Messenger, as you can see on the graph to the right, is among the top performing apps for mobile currently It is only behind Facebook and Instagram, which are both cousins of Facebook Messenger Facebook Messenger bots are highly, highly, highly effective, similar to SMS They have sometimes an open rate of 70 to 80%, and a click rate of 15 to 60%, compared to that type of small click rate of an email One of the best practices for Facebook chatbots is that you can be super, super, super creative That’s where I’ve let my creative juices fly within my work You can educate people using GIFs, using different types of entertainment, using video, using imagery You can create visually stimulating quizzes If you’re maybe trying to figure out who has taken the census and also explain what the undercount is You can also relay news and campaign updates, if you want people to sign a petition If you want them to know about what’s happening related to the issue that you care about, that’s a wonderful way to do it The way to do that, though, is through a JSON API user data capture If you’re using a third-party vendor, like ManyChat or Chatfuel, which are the top two of these vendors Chatfuel, in particular, allows you to connect the data that you’re acquiring, whether that be ZIP code, email or phone, back to your CRM, which could be ActionKit, EveryAction or Blue State And the best part of this is you don’t need to know how to code in order to use ManyChat or Chatfuel Another really cool tactic to use is video sharing Video sharing is a great way to put people back into power, and put that power back into the hands of the community You might be wondering how do you put that power back? Literally by just inviting someone via prompt to talk about an issue that they care about I did this last year with the census I talked about the black undercount and why I believed black people deserved to get the resources that they need I shared that video through Color of Change, and then shared it with my friends and family The recommended time to record this type of video is usually, like, 20 to 90 seconds You don’t wanna go on a long rant And through something called Soapboxx, which is a organization, they allow you to transform your videos, creating animated overlays and branding these videos You can record them from a video You can record that video from a laptop or via phone And the best part is video sharing allows you to create native content, meaning you can share these videos on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook You can download them and send that MP4 or video file to your friends directly The opportunities really are endless, and it feels less like a campaign pitch, and instead feels like a friend or a family member urging you to take action Or it might just feel more familiar and more organic to someone just scrolling online So now that we have talked about the toolbox that I relayed, it’s important to plan ahead and to think about when and how you’ll use these tactics to reach your community But sometimes you have to think really fast, and one example of thinking fast and having to really pivot in a time of crisis is the COVID-19 pandemic that we’re all living through right now We are living in unprecedented times, to keep it very, very blank And on-the-ground organizing has become

a lot more difficult We have to think more about who’s impacted We have to think about this notion called the great equalizer The media keeps talking about how the pandemic and how even environmental justice issues equalize us all, but this is a myth This is not the truth because we know that when the general public gets the cold, black people, in particular, get the flu, which is a metaphor Communities of color, lower-income households and vulnerable populations are bearing the brunt of this disease Black and Hispanic workers are being paid less in general, and they’re being forced to work And if they miss work, they feel like they could lose their jobs We are not in a great equalizer We are in a state of crisis So now that we’re thinking about who’s bearing the brunt, I want to give more in-depth examples In the image on the left, where I live in New York, you can see the whole city of New York, including the boroughs There’s a cross-reference of the number of positive cases, the number of service workers, the number of rent-burdened households and a map explaining where more densely populated communities of color live If you track and see on each of these four images, they’re very, very, very similar Communities of color are being hit very hard by these diseases, and you might be wondering why Because oftentimes, low-income communities of color are working through pandemics They don’t have the luxury that we have, to work from home They are still on the frontlines And to be specific, we’re also dying at higher rates In Chicago, 72% of people who have died of COVID-19 are black, even though they make up 30% of the population, right? In Louisiana, it looks similar 70% of coronavirus deaths are of African American folk, even though they make up 32% of the population And in Michigan, it’s the same thing 40% of all deaths come from black folks, even though they make up 14% of the population Access to healthcare is racialized, and it always has been It just gets worse when there is a pandemic And you might be wondering how does that relate to civic engagement? It absolutely does, and the truth is a lot is at stake in our democracy, in 2020 in particular We have the 2020 census that is rolling out right now You have several primary elections that have either been postponed, or leaders are giving folks a lot of back and forth, which could borderline with misinformation And a lot of offline programs that involve digital and field organizing are either being canceled or they’re being postponed due to this pandemic We are undergoing a down-ballot and presidential election right now And black, brown and low-income voters are facing a lot of personal issues So how do we encourage them to take action when they’re trying to survive? It’s very difficult to balance this, right? it’s very difficult to ask people to take the census when they are struggling to either take care of a sick loved one or to even go to work, and have high anxiety Right now, it’s impossible to say if we can reverse an undercount in the census, but what we can say is, or we can look at the data that currently exists As of yesterday, 45.1% of U.S. respondents have taken the census, compared to 66.5% of the final self-response rate in 2010 This is data from the Center for Urban Research at CUNY Graduate Center And it’s important to know this information, but there’s also some hope because it is April, right, and we have until August, due to the extended deadline But it’s also very important to recognize that hard-to-count communities, which are shown in red on the map on the right, mirror communities that have higher economic hardship and communities that are in rural areas But the silver lining here is that we need to meet people where they are, and people are online We know this because the Pew Research Center has tracked racialized data of where folks are and what they’re using, where their broadband access is According to the Pew Research Center, 80% of black folk and 79% of Hispanics own a smartphone People can count their entire household on the census online, making that access to the census wider and safer during this pandemic So there is some hope, despite the fact that we are going through this together But even though there are these issues, it’s important to still mobilize and to still organize around this You might be wondering, now that we have the information and that the information keeps changing, how do we keep people engaged? Now, more than ever, it is important to connect with folks online and sustain that civic engagement, right, especially when local governments are failing

a lot of folks of color It’s important to lead with that type of vulnerability and joy that I’ve expressed with field and digital organizing earlier That’s why I encourage you to get creative There are so many different opportunities to host events right now You can do what we’re doing, which is a Zoom call You can use a Netflix Party, where you watch shows or movies with your friends You can use my favorite of these three, which is Houseparty, where you play games with your friends And as digital organizers, we’re forced to be creative, right? So while you’re having this party or while you are having a game night on Houseparty, you wanna connect both joy and civic engagement while you’re talking about this game or this movie Talk about what the census means to folks Maybe ask your friends or your family, “Hey, have you even taken it yet? “Like, maybe think about taking it right now “while we’re taking a break, “and then come back to playing the game later.” It’s never too late to rely on digital tools right now because it’s the safest mechanism to do this work So now that we have all this information, I wanted to kind of wind it down with some key takeaways These key takeaways are from the previous part of the presentation Just to reiterate, we need to have internal communication as the key and paramount to this work, both in and out of a pandemic It’s also important to integrate your goals and your strategies Right now, goals are ever-shifting When a pandemic hits, your goals shift, and your audience often can stay the same But you need to know what your audience is going through, as well, so you need to refine the messaging to match maybe what they’re going through You also want to use that toolbox that I explained So whether that’s sending an SMS, whether that’s using your Facebook Messenger, whether that’s sending emails, shift your narrative more to involve folks So use your toolbox Don’t be afraid to pivot And more importantly, lean in with just having fun with it And also note that these are people behind these tools that you’re trying to target, and they wanna feel like they’re being reached out by someone as well This is a term that I always lead with, in my work, or a quote, rather “Vulnerability is the birthplace “of innovation, creativity and change.” When we are vulnerable, we recognize when things have shifted We aren’t stubborn in our ways We are able to innovate We’re able to be creative and we’re able to reach the people who need us most in a time of crisis, like we’re living in right now This is a quote from Brene Brown I really hope you enjoyed the learnings that I was able to relay over the past 40 minutes or so, but right now, I’d love to start our workshop exercise and lead with a prompt This prompt is totally focused on you and your needs, right? So I would love to pick your brain on how to implement what we’ve been talking about and explain how all those things can be used for your personal endeavors We broke this down into two steps The first step is think about a social justice issue or political campaign that you care about, whether that’s the census, environmental justice, et cetera Then think about how COVID-19 is going to impact communities related to that issue Once you’ve done those two things, you need to get people to take action, right? So think about how you’re going to develop strategy How are you going to recruit people to engage in this event? Think about the digital toolbox that you’re using, whether that’s ads, email, video or social media And in the chat box, list the following: the social justice issue that you care about, how COVID-19 will impact that community and what digital tools you will use to sustain relational organizing I would love for you all to drop all of that information in the chat box As I said before, I’m here to help along the way and to just brainstorm You don’t have to have a perfect one, two, three punch This is an open space to think about things, to innovate, to ask questions, whatever you want to do over the next five to seven minutes or so Let me go back All righty I have some questions So the first question is, “Could you share “the functionality of petition platforms “in digital organizing?” Can you elaborate more on what you mean by functionality, please? – [Jose Luis] Yeah, that question is mine – [Daniel] Mm-hm – My name is Jose Luis I know that Color for Change has a petition platform, right? So my question is how did you integrate

the petition platform, the other elements of the toolbox that you mentioned? So you get the people to sign a petition, and then you receive their data I suppose that goes to your CRM And then, like, what is the next step in that process? – Yeah, so I do wanna give space for the workshop right now, but just to quickly answer, the petition system is tied to the CRM The CRM ActionKit allows you to create petitions, so all that information is tied to emails, and you’re able to download those CSV files to re-target folks and to get them to the field teams themselves I’ll pivot to what you said, Luke You started with youth voting Prevents peer-to-peer contact and assistance, as well as disrupts elections and voting And your strategy here is social media and individual check-ins and sourcing for online tools Since you are dealing with youth voting, I’m curious about what particular social media shadow you’d wanna use My mind first goes to something like TikTok or Snapchat because that is where the youth thrive, right? They’re making challenges, they’re dancing I would love to figure out how to think about peer-to-peer contact through TikTok and through maybe a dance challenge to get folks to think about voting Because Bernie Sanders uses TikTok, and he has been connecting with youth voters amongst the best of other presidential candidates I see your comment, too, Teresa Voting students are dispersed across the country Using emails and WhatsApp messaging via cohorts I totally love what you’re doing here Students are dispersed around the country due to the pandemic I think a great way to continue engagement is through WhatsApp and through group chats I think that’s a great way to just continue community, particularly at a time where folks feel isolated, so that’s great, I love that I’ll read Oh, yes, Jose, we can totally keep in contact We can follow up later Teddy, you’re saying that voter registration among college students Again, the relationship with COVID is college students have been excluded from relief and have had their lives transformed Absolutely We can no longer do in-person activations I’m not sure how to replicate efficacy That is very, very, very important and it’s very challenging I don’t necessarily have an answer for you, but I think you’re going in the right direction I think you could mobilize your friends and community members, particularly through video I think that’s a wonderful opportunity to just put, if you’re comfortable, a face to the name of what you’re experiencing I think in-person activations are hard, but if you use video to recruit folks to maybe jump on a Zoom call or host a town hall or host a IG Live, that will allow you to think about how to gather folks But also remember to center that activation in something fun because with college students, you always wanna connect that fun aspect to the work, or else that could lead to drop-off – Daniel, I have a follow-up question for that I’m gonna take the privilege of being able to unmute myself Specifically, how are you recruiting new volunteers for this specific moment? Are you using the online platforms or are using any other type of platforms to do the work? – Yeah, that’s a great question Within the scope of my work, I recruit people mainly through ads, but I know the privilege in that is that that requires a budget, and that’s something that I did wanna relate now Ads are expensive And if you’re working with an organization, it’s a lot easier to say, “Hey, I’ll run ads and pull up “a look-alike audience “and cast the net wide open.” If you do not have that budget, it is 10 times harder So if you’re trying to activate people, think about the five friends rule So if you’re trying to mobilize people, think about, of course, I use email still I’m using other tools, like Facebook Messenger But if you need to do that on a smaller scale, think about the five friends rule, where you’re sharing content with five of your friends, and then asking those five friends to share some other things I think that allows us to just be a little bit more informal with that work But I think the barrier here to me is just access to resources I think in terms of organizations,

of course, ads, texts, CRMs, but if you do not have that level of spending, you could do the five friend thing, or you can use the free versions of platforms On Chatfuel, there is a free version, but it’s branded So you can’t use your personal branding, you have to include Chatfuel in your messaging And it also requires a 24 plus one rule, where you can’t send a follow-up message after 24 hours has expired – And what was that platform one more time? – [Daniel] Sorry? – The platform you just mentioned, what was that one? – Oh, Chatfuel, Chatfuel – Got it, thank you I think Teddy had a follow-up question – Sure, let see Is it in the chat already? – You’re muted, Teddy Can we unmute you? Okay, it looks like we can’t unmute (crosstalk) Okay – Cool Awesome, thank you, Daniel So, yeah, a follow-up about sort of thinking what an in-person activation would look like on a digital platform So, obviously, like, Zoom would be the platform to use, but like, I mean, as you know, it really hard to replicate the efficacy on Zoom, which is a very passive, sort of boring platform Have you seen any really good examples so far of people using Zoom to do these activations? And what sort of things would they do within Zoom to just sort of up the ante there? – Yeah, that’s a very good question I totally agree I think organizers in general are really frustrated right now because we know that Zoom is sometimes really, really boring One way to make things less boring is what I said before, which is just to host really informal events You would be surprised what social connection could look like if you ask each of your friends to bring five friends to a happy hour on Zoom and then play a happy hour game That doesn’t have to necessarily involve alcohol, but it can involve any other thing that would bring people together You can have a brunch, a virtual brunch on Zoom, where you’re asking each person to make a different type of food, talk about that type of food, and then talk about how a particular form of civic engagement affects folks I would urge you to focus on the relational part right now, and then weave in that issue area toward the middle or end of your event just because, at least for me and other, like, extroverts, when you’re trying to have these type of events, that’s probably the audience that you’re gonna be recruiting You wanna get people who wanna talk and who want to movement build with you, so that’s something I would totally recommend We’re this together It’s really hard to even suggest where to pivot because everything’s changing, even today or even yesterday and tomorrow What I recommend today could be irrelevant in two weeks But at least for now, I think that this is something that I’d recommend, just to have fun with it and tie in the issue area or voter registration or a census count session or something like that – So it looks like we’ve led in a little bit to our Q and A section Does anyone else have any follow-up questions, or, Daniel, do you have any remaining slides that you wanna get us through? – The only slide left is the Q and A slide, actually – Great, perfect Any other questions? This is Daniel’s contact information for those that wanna follow up I think some people in the chat had asked for it – Yeah, you can definitely reach out to me I’m on Twitter, I am on LinkedIn If you reach me on either one of those platforms, I’m happy to share my email with you We can totally take this conversation beyond this workshop and just talk about what is useful, what issues you’re experiencing, how we can innovate together This is a cyclical moment together But I’m happy to answer any additional questions that anyone has or conversations We can open it up to anything at this time – I think I saw a question around social media playing an important role during the pandemic I guess I would add on to that question of who are the people that are not on social media? Just sometimes it’s (audio cuts out) to talk about who the voters or the citizens are, but it’s equally important to know who’s not being captured in those platforms – Yeah, that’s something that I’m thinking about actively I know I’ve shared some Pew Research data, that said, like, 80 to 79% for black and Latinos are on a mobile phone and use internet on their mobile phone I’m really worried that over time, folks aren’t gonna be able to pay their bills and their services might be cut off That’s something that I’m thinking about That’s something that other organizers

are thinking about as well But beyond that, there is a 20% or a 21% of that audience that is not online Some of those folks can skew older Maybe they don’t have a phone that has internet on it How are you gonna reach them? That’s still something that we’re figuring out, to be honest I think it relies on maybe connecting those elders with their younger family members, and hopefully developing a ladder of engagement that involves younger people making a conscious effort to reach out to their elders that aren’t on technology, who don’t use technology in the same ways – Great, thank you And I feel like there’s so much shared learning that’s happening in this space right now It’s just happening so quickly So perhaps we have an opportunity to follow up this conversation in the future – Absolutely, absolutely I see one more question from Jose “What have you found to be effective tactics “to move people from online organizing “to offline mobilization?” I relate on those in terms of the COVID pivot, but they often look similarly You want to have fun and bring people together through joy I think joy and fun and identity relation building allows folks to not only make friends, but it also allows them to be in a movement together Oftentimes, people can be intimidated by the political process or by organizing in general A way to do that is to bring people together Maybe by food, by a party, by a brunch, by a movie screening Whatever activation sounds most relevant to what your community usually would wanna do, I would recommend doing that And then, of course, tying in the issue area that you care about at that event So if you’re working with younger people, maybe think about hosting some type of fun party at night, and then just talking about for 30 minutes what the issue area is, explaining it, giving folks something active to do Not just lecturing to them, but giving them an activation practice to do And encourage them to record videos, just to spread that ladder of engagement forward And then I see another question from Scott Hi, Scott Question “Which of these options “are the most budget-friendly for organizations “with fewer resources?” That’s a great question I think the most budget-friendly usually comes in the form of organic social Organic social is extremely smart because you can still share those videos on an Instagram Live, a Facebook Live You can create Twitter threads And they are free These don’t require your resources So I encourage folks who are limited on resources to think about the bare bones of social media and think about how to work towards virality, particularly around increasing awareness of a campaign Don’t be afraid to engage into Twitter threads with folks who are talking about the issue that you care about Don’t be afraid to add different movement builders for celebrities to hopefully share that information But also think about Facebook groups Facebook groups are really strong ways to gather people and to give them information over time That is similar to WhatsApp groups or even Signal groups Organizing, it involves just bringing people together and constantly engaging them over time But that is a very, very, very important question, so thank you for bringing that up – Great, I think we have time for one more question – Awesome “Do you think people will start “to get overwhelmed with all the digital content? “Is there a way to prevent “our target audiences from getting exhausted?” Hoo, that is the question of the day I always worry about overwhelming people with content I think it’s important to think about the strategy of what content you’re producing As I said before on the digital toolbox, that involves thinking about public education versus something that’s a lot more in your face, with, “Hey, I need you to do this action, “come to this event,” or something less straightforward Think about how you wanna create a content calendar, and pivot that content calendar, but you don’t wanna overstimulate if that involves an email list because people could drop off That is also very true to texting You wanna be strategic about your communication, and think about and test If sending frequent messages works for your list, that’s great That might not work for everyone, though, so think about different pathways to engagement Think about testing often because testing allows you to eliminate the assumption of exhaustion and allows you to use the data to back up information – That’s a great question

So with that, we’re gonna wrap up Thank you so much to Daniel for such an informative presentation I learned so, so much And I recognize that we’re learning as we go I also wanna thank the audience for joining us This talk will be posted on the Ash website, so if you wanna look at the slides or just perhaps there’s a few comments that we’ve made and you wanna revisit it, please just look at the recording Tune in next week for a workshop hosted by our other Tech and Democracy fellow, Stephanie Valencia from EquisLabs, on April 14th And you can follow our work @HarvardAsh And again, thank you, everyone, for joining us, and take care Bye – Bye