Social Movement Technologies
Certificate in Graphic Design for Organizing – Join the waitlist for late 2023

From concept to execution, learn how to create designs that stand out, drive action, and help win campaigns. Earn SMT’s Certificate in Graphic Design for Organizing.

Join the waitlist for this training and be the first to hear once dates are confirmed

Additional small group sessions can be set up at other times to meet time zone needs with sufficient demand (10+ participants). All sessions will be held in English, with captions in English and Spanish. The program will hold small group sessions in Spanish and French with the registration of at least 10 participants per language. Session recording captions and simultaneous interpretation in these or other languages may be available with sufficient demand per language. Contact us at [email protected]

Good design is part of strong organizing. Reports on both digital and print communications consistently show that strong visual content generates more engagement. Running grassroots campaigns requires communicating effectively across many platforms, and good design can dramatically activate and broaden your base.

This 12-session Certificate in Graphic Design for Organizing will rapidly scale up your visual communications skills. From building a visual identity for your organization to applying time-tested graphic design techniques to navigating industry-standard (and emerging!) software, you will be able to efficiently create designs that inspire action. You’ll also be able to lead your organization to support distributed design by volunteers and staff who are not designers.

Learning model: The program is designed to apply your learning by trying your hand at new design skills. The pedagogical approach includes large group live sessions, supplemental resources via recorded presentations, and design assignments meant to support campaigns you have underway. The 12 live sessions include four small group sessions (up to 15 participants) for coaching, problem-solving, questions, and feedback from instructors with deep experience in design for movements, and for peer support. After the small group session and critique, participants seeking to further improve their designs may revise and resubmit their assignment for additional written feedback. 

This program is for you if:

  • Your role includes posting on social networks, managing a website, working with the media, running online/offline campaigns, creating fundraising materials, managing a communications program, working with creative freelancers, designing print and digital materials, or all of the above!
  • You are interested in creating more effective public-facing materials for your organization.
  • Seats are reserved for those working for non-profits/unions. If you are working on an electoral campaign please confirm that the campaign has signed the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge. If you are in a consulting role, reach out to ask about accessing the presentation recordings only for the same fee. If you are a student or unemployed you can join in if there’s space and you’re being referred by a social change group you’re working with. Contact us.

In-depth Training: What we’ll cover

View the curriculum here

Photo credit: Art build for Sunrise Movement action in Washington DC, unknown photographer

To receive the Certificate, participants must attend and be an active participant in at least 75% of required live sessions (9 of the 12) and complete all assignments. Assignments will be completed each week and will as much as possible relate directly to the participant’s current campaign work. 

The curriculum will include sessions and recordings covering: design principles, design psychology, visual identity, accessibility, design and photography ethics, and building design templates and supports so that non-designers in your organization can do their own design work. Live sessions and recordings will also introduce or deepen the use of tools like Canva, Photoshop, and Illustrator. See the full curriculum here.

The program builds on SMT’s design programs held in 2019, 2021, and 2022, making a powerful library of resources and design examples available to participants. In response to requests, we’ve deepened skill-building with libraries of recordings and resources in Canva, Photoshop, Illustrator, accessibility, and more.

The program’s goal is to enable participants to level up significantly in their design skill level and in their ability to scope out the design needs of an organizing moment. It is also to build a community of practice in this design work. Participants will be paired up for support if they want, and they will engage with each other and instructors via an ongoing Slack channel.


Micky Jordan (he/his), SMT Staff Partner: Micky is a Black queer and genderqueer visual artist and organizer who has called Richmond, Virginia home for over 20 years. He’s a mostly self-taught designer who has developed his design work with a range of organizing groups. He is currently Graphic Designer at NDWA and previously worked with Southerners on New Ground (SONG). He loves art, media, stand up comedy and dreaming about building a safer, beautiful, more affirming world for trans and queer people of color to not just survive in, but thrive in.


Raffi Marhaba (they/them), SMT Staff Partner: Raffi is a a queer, trans, bi-racial Arab immigrant designer who specializes in identity design, graphic design and illustration through a social justice lens. With over 12 years of experience, Raffi has created powerful design identity through stories and design with folks like Kimberlé Crenshaw, who coined the word and framework of intersectionality, The Center for Institutional and Social Change, several LGBTQ organizations like GLSEN, Transgender Law Center and many others clients who focus on shaping a better world.


Cécile Pillon Hue (she/her), SMT Staff Partner: Cécile is a feminist artist and communicator. Working with international non-profits and local groups for over 10 years, she has experimented with various digital design tools to mix her passions for visual arts, social & environmental justice into her work. She uses design as a way to connect people across regions, cultures and technologies as she believes this is the key to a more respectful and inclusive world.


David PerrinDavid Perrin (he/his), SMT Staff Partner: David is a graphic designer and illustrator. At SMT he serves as a resource to the social justice community and for people who look like him. David’s ultimate goal as a black creative is to produce powerful imagery that is wholly representative of his culture and community. He also works as the lead graphic designer for a progressive think-tank, Dēmos, where he produces visual assets for social media and reports.


Audrey Desler, graphic designerAudrey Desler (she/they), SMT Staff Partner. Audrey is a freelance art director, designer, and illustrator constantly dreaming of better, more equitable futures. Her career started with design stints @ Nike and creative agencies, working on a myriad of brand and campaign projects, championing sustainability initiatives at every turn. In order to align with a passion for social and environmental systems change, she now largely focuses on community organizing, freelancing with non-profits, and forging relationships with purpose- and mission-driven organizations. Audrey enjoys growing communal food, natural spaces, baking, and talking about feelings.


Join the waitlist for this training and be the first to hear once dates are confirmed

In past years, registration rates varied from $450-900 based on region and organizational budget.

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Super helpful process with our staff and leaders to ID new tools we can use to reach our target folks.
The trainings are terrific–geared for every level of experience. And being rooted in social change movement, especially helpful to organizers.
[The Digital Campaigning Certificate Program] is a great course to get to know all the different aspects of digital campaigning. What I like most about it is the consistent focus on building power.
SMT coaching enabled us to expand our presence within human rights spaces in Kenya beyond an LGBTIQ audience. It helped us use Twitter to connect with allies in the environmental justice and land rights movements. It was amazing to have someone to work with who knows our work and give us templates just when we needed them.
We hired SMT to help with some ad campaigns. Folks are professional, experienced, and communicative. Knowing what was happening at different stages helped me understand what was going on in our programs. I was never embarrassed to ask questions. The SMT staffer explained everything that would happen, why he was doing something, how he'd accomplish it, which was great. It made me feel like we were working collaboratively. SMT also provides a lot of great trainings to the progressive community to equip people and organizations to do this work on their own.
The one-on-one sessions have been invaluable given the expertise of everyone on the SMT team.
Design firms told us our current site couldn’t be mobile optimized, but SMT did it cleanly and affordably. The site looks great and SMT was easy to work with and addressed any concerns we had.
Two things I valued most about the program were lifelong access to the course materials and case study walkthroughs from some of the most compelling organizers and organizing collectives we have in the field right now.
SMT is a great resource if you’re looking to improve your organization’s social media presence and strategy.
This is great for C3's to understand what they SHOULD be doing during elections. I think there is much more space for C3s to take the GOTV initiative.
The Social Movement Technologies Digital Campaigner Certificate is an excellent opportunity for me to meet digital organizers from across the country who are doing important work fighting for social justice on digital platforms. Often times, we are isolated in our work whether it be regionally or by issue, but through this program I've learned so much about all the cool ways other organizers are engaging and building movements. I've also been able to refresh my own knowledge about digital campaigning and have learned about a ton of new technology, software, and platforms that can be used for positive social change. Thank you SMT team!
Last year, we worked with SMT on a census campaign with Native Voice Network, and we got so much direct campaign support, one-on-one coaching. I spent a lot of time doing just one-on-one coaching support with ads. after that I felt super empowered and fearless to just navigate all these different tools in the universe. So it was a really great and helpful experience for us.
I strongly recommend SMT. Their strong organizing background, preparation and thoughtfulness made our strategy assessment with them enjoyable and really helpful.
We’re starting our third straight year providing grantee partners with Social Movement Technologies training and coaching…our grantees are in good hands.
SMT was really responsive to my questions and needs, and to customizing a training that met those needs. We had a collaborative relationship of understanding each other's needs and expertise, agreeing on outcomes and approach, and developing content.
The online coaching sessions have been really good for helping us make decisions about what makes the most sense for us to incorporate…and what we can let go.
Incredibly knowledgeable…Weekly coaching has been a great experience. Keeps us on track. Staff is flexible, creative.
SMT helped us choose an appropriate database for our organization. Its focused training sessions are valuable tools that have helped us further a conversation with our grassroots leaders about strategically building a more powerful, goal-oriented organization.
SMT helped us build an integrated, strategic approach to a union contract campaign. SMT’s work is sophisticated and flexible–their support was invaluable.
SMT is an amazing resource for starting digital organizing and communications and maintaining a program that engages members and moves them to action. There are a bunch of free and super reasonably priced webinars available so you can jump right in and focus on what you need to improve.The webinars have just been stellar. I've learned so much, especially from the Top Tools and Tactics to bump up your organizing game. I used the templates and resources to set up an editorial calendar and to track stats for our new social media channels. It was very easy to take what was presented in the training and apply it to my union immediately.
I want to express my continuing and deep appreciation for SMT’s staff. We’ve made great strides and SMT has been catalytic…Among other things–fast, smart, patient, thorough, skillful handling of the website makeover. You guys pulled it off quickly and affordably.
Super useful and practical strategy session. Great to learn what we can do to our website and Facebook page to make them better tools, described in a way I can explain to my board.
Trainings run by SMT are solid, accessible and worth checking out.
The SMT trainings I’ve taken have helped us mobilize and deepen engagement in our communities. Through Twitterstorms, phone banking, and other tactics that I learned through SMT’s trainings, we succeeded in our call to #ExtendtheReg for a million young people who would otherwise be disenfranchised by anti-poor COVID policies.
Love it!” (mobile optimization of TheStand.org)
[SMT's WhichCRM tool] helped me make a side by side comparison without having to spend hours sifting through demos and websites on my own. Invaluable!
We reached out very last minute to get help with ad campaigns. It was a really great experience, I have nothing but good things to say about it. We look forward to being able to work with them again in the future
[The Digital Campaigning Certificate Program] is a wonderful course with a great amount of information to get you started on understanding how digital can work for your own organization.
I would recommend SMT to anyone looking to be more effective online. We are definitely going to experiment with the directions SMT gave us in our strategy session. Very valuable to have consulting from organizers who are keeping up with all the latest.
SMT is the only training I know of that speaks our language of activism and uses the tools we use everyday in the field. They are a go-to resource to help raise the bar for communications in the labor movement.
"I have found the webinars and trainings by SMT to be timely, relevant and incredibly useful in my work. I work often at the intersection of climate and labour and have been thrilled to see the trainings you organize have met my needs in advancing my work."
"Skye's growth in confidence and strategic acumen through the SMT program has been a huge boost for our organization. She's also been able to bring tools, trainings, and ideas back to our entire staff team, making us more effective and responsive."
Great information on how to make emails more impactful and spur action. Great to get direct feedback on a sample email.
We worked with SMT to get tech support on our virtual townhall event. It was helpful getting advice from an expert on how to prepare for the livestream, and how to best make it smooth. It was a big lift off our shoulders being able to rely on someone who has experience doing it.
I view organizing in a whole new light. Everybody should have the opportunity to go through this experience, and get these tools, and start organizing.
I found a lot of value in this Certificate Program that I use in my everyday work: from using social media effectively; significantly growing accounts and activating people online, pressuring targets in campaigns, and running Twitterstorms. Even when using other tools, I still apply the principles I learned!
SMT was like a breath of fresh air in its approach to empowering small nonprofit organizing efforts. With not much funding, we were able to connect SMT to a few organizations in our network to provide analysis, coaching and hands on technical support. Here at Universal Health Care Foundation of CT, SMT gave us strategic help to up our game with our online organizing and engagement…particularly helpful in guiding us to a more savvy, productive use of social media.
SMT helped us create a social media presence to expand our cannabis worker organizing campaign. Our organizers have enhanced their social media capabilities. We have succeeded beyond our expectations. Working with SMT has been a great experience. They really understand organizing and communications.
The benefits to us of regular coaching sessions were immediate.
The coaching has been fantastic. Staff has extensive understanding of the online landscape and strategy…jumped right into working with our members too, personable and supportive…great to work with someone who felt like a comrade and not just another non-profit consultant. I was amazed at SMT’s ability to connect us with experts or representatives of different online tools.
I wish SMT had existed when I started organizing in 2010! I learned many of these skills on the fly, often through trial and error. Overall it is really helpful to learn about all of the new tools which exist, especially ones that non-profits can use for low or no cost. The presentation did a great job of outlining best practices for many different scenarios.
I got a LOT out of it...the idea that comms can be used not just to “raise the visibility” of my organization, but to build power -- to move people, engage them, get them to do something concrete to push our social justice work forward. The strategies and tools shared were super helpful, and have already had measurable impact. Staff is fantastic - knowledgeable, responsive, thoughtful, collaborative.
The webinars were very thorough, and the SMT team seems very responsive, broadly knowledgeable, and intuitive. The “WhichCRM?” questionnaire was helpful when I filled it out with my team. It helped us think about the aspects of a CRM we were looking for.
The coaching sessions provide practical tools for making our social media move from passive clicktivism to actually doing something.
Working with SMT was easy and collaborative. The training helped our Greenpeace Southeast Asia team get new insights into campaign best practices across the globe.
I found the email coaching course to be extremely helpful. I thoroughly enjoyed that this exercise involved everyone working from the same assignment. It made the feedback that much more helpful. I think this has been one of the best SMT sessions that I've taken.
Our coach was an everyday reminder of what we needed to do. He checked in and followed up on us. It really helped us activate Twitter in our campaigns and tighten up digital security. We moved from just having a Twitter handle to building on a hashtag that saw a jailed human rights activist released from prison.
We’ve heard really good things from our grantee partners. SMT has a strong, grantee-focused way of working.
SMT taught our staff and leaders to use Twitter strategically, understand the intricacies of Facebook for organizing…They respond quickly, have real world organizing experience, do really solid webinars that leaders and staff can engage with.
This was a fantastic training experience and I learned a lot about emerging technology with lots of support!
Our staff took a lot of SMT courses – including the intensive Digital Campaigning Certificate Program. It helped us take our digital campaigning and collectivizing actions to the next level! We used various tools to increase our follower base and successfully target authorities to take action at the village and municipal levels in India.
SMT helped us launch our first petition campaign…great experience, ended up with vastly higher profile for our work.
SMT's training helped me use my journalistic skills effectively to highlight people's struggles and create change. Using Twitter more effectively, we supported Syria's refugee camp hospital to get more media attention and raise funds to respond to the hospital's needs as well as build visibility on the issues affecting refugees.
We have had a fantastic experience with SMT…they have been highly responsive to the needs of our grantees.
"I learned so much about different labour movement actions. The digital part was huge, along with actually just understanding the range of tools that are available to organizers. I knew about petitions, about actions in the street, but seeing how differently they could be appleid in so many unique contexts was really exciting. I feel like I got an entire history of the labour movement.
[Story-Based Strategy] was awesome. It was sort of a refresher and a reset for me as an organizer and a social worker. I took a great deal of notes.
SMT helped GAIA use LinkedIn to reach a key constituency we were having trouble reaching - thousands of people who play a specific role in the waste management industry. We got responses from key players.
Having access to experts through the certificate program was amazing. The course is so practical. I set up google ads for the first time and created our digital security policy and implementation plan. Our whole team uses the campaign strategy template now. Now we know how to improve our email deliverability and started a texting program.
Our experience to date has been wonderful, helping us make the migration from one CRM to another as painless as possible…a life saver, terrific. Quick to respond, SMT staff provide clear explanations that avoid all the techno-garble.
Our strategy sessions with SMT have really energized our vision for what we need to do…In 90 minutes, we were excited and encouraged about how we could better our media and communications work.
Great ability to eloquently name a few top communications gaps that we could easily fix and increase our impact. The summary document is highly valuable; we will refer to it in our future planning!
Great coach for executing our group's livestream plan! Often we have little time to do comprehensive analysis or comparison of newer technologies, so it's important to consult with those with their hands on the tools, and have seasoned coaches in your corner who can help you execute plans.
Our staff have taken SMT’s excellent trainings over the past five years. Mastering the strategic use of digital tools is essential to advance social change online. SMT’s offerings are a much-needed and unique resource. And they are responsive and committed to meeting the needs of participants. We’re thrilled to partner on the new Global South track of their Digital Campaigning Certificate program, which is a need that we expressed and they acted on promptly. Thank you SMT!
SMT’s knowledge of the organizational use of different CRMs and migration between them was very helpful.
SMT’s staff is friendly, flexible, competent, creative…Efficiently implemented cutting-edge strategies and designed great-looking materials to communicate our message to our members. I’ll come back to SMT in a heartbeat.
SMT has worked with us to develop and implement a broad and integrated social media strategy. They helped our leadership understand the importance of such a strategy and taught our activists the basic skills to execute it. From website maintenance to targeted twitter campaigns, they are there when you need them and they understand that it is all about movement building.
We hired SMT to lead a discussion about online strategy with some of our union’s staff. It re-kindled my desire and commitment to using emerging technologies in my organizing!

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