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Social Movement Technologies
Visual Design for Organizing Curriculum

 

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The 4-week apprenticeship includes:

  • 5 plenary sessions described below
  • 3 small-group feedback sessions on participant work
  • 3 studio hours for additional coaching
  • Individual feedback on every assignment

Principles and Elements of Persuasive, Ethical, and Accessible Graphic Design

  • Overview of current graphic design tools and how you can learn to use them efficiently, individually or in combination with each other
  • What questions to ask at the start of every design project, and how to go about answering them
  • Key design principles of every successful design: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Proximity, Hierarchy, and Balance
  • Key design elements in your toolbox: Color, Space, Typography, Imagery, Texture, Size, and Motion
  • Investigate these principles and elements at play in real digital and print designs from progressive organizations
  • How to run effective, ethical, and accessible design and photography systems in your organization
  • Making visual, web, and print design accessible

Combining great design with storytelling for social media posts and ads that inspire and activate

  • Getting the content you need for compelling storytelling posts
  • Designing testimonial posts that inspire action
  • Design complex information for engagement and understanding
  • Understand what draws your audience in and how to visually evoke emotion
  • Effective visual design for ads 

Looking loud: designing visuals for public actions and events to get them noticed and photographed in the media 

  • Staging guidelines for excellent photos
  • Training up your team on taking great photos
  • Principles of banner and sign design, with lots of movement examples
  • Organizing art builds

Canva Leveling Up – Templates, Brand Kit, and More for Non-Designers On Your Team

  • Ways to use Canva to support non-designers on your team to design effectively
  • Develop consistent templates for different teams
  • Lock layers and allow selective editing to your designs
  • Organize your folders, logos, and photos within Canva
  • Simple animation in Canva
  • A.I. design tips
  • Other Advanced tips and tricks

Illustrator and Photoshop tips and tricks 

  • Essential tips and tools
  • Basics of vector design
  • Typography and tracing
  • Icon design
  • Working with patterns
  • Working with different artboard sizes
  • Creating templates for your team
  • Canvas and image size
  • Isolating subjects
  • Creating a focal point
  • Adjustment layers
  • Blending modes
  • Working with text
  • Creating a simple GIF animation

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Staff and activists of 4,900+ groups
have engaged with SMT trainings

Testimonials

SMT developed a custom training for our youth climate fellows from around the world. It was a holistic training on creating campaigns from strategy to implementation and building our activist base. We appreciated SMT’s attention to detail around language and inclusion and always thinking about power building.
I'm still digesting the valuable information from this training and applying it to my work. Meeting activists worldwide and learning about important campaigns was inspiring.
It helped me better understand, through the experience of like-minded organizers, how to use accessible digital organizing tools to support the efforts on the ground.
The program offered interesting case studies, expanded my digital campaigning knowledge, introduced new organizing tools and strategies, and enabled connections with professionals in the progressive space.
The program offered interesting case studies, expanded my digital campaigning knowledge, introduced new organizing tools and strategies, and enabled connections with professionals in the progressive space.
I felt supported by a community of hundreds throughout my learning journey.
Without SMT we would not have been able to move our organizing from the field to the digital arena during COVID. They helped us set up systems, coached and trained our folks, helped us troubleshoot and launch digital outreach efforts all in crucial campaign moments. Can’t speak highly enough about what their help meant!
The program gave my team the tools and time to strategise how our grassroots migrant organising translates to a digital context. I picked up tools like source codes, which then enabled us to see that more people were registering from Instagram than through any other platform and caused us to adapt our strategy. We also became SMT an Outreach Partner to enable our network to benefit from trainings at lower prices
This program is very comprehensive and provides tons of tools and resources that have strengthened my skillset in digital organizing. This is a great program that I highly recommend.
Each session was well-facilitated, skillfully blended presentation, discussion, and practical exercises, allowing me to immediately apply techniques to my work.
Learned invaluable skills, gained practical knowledge, and connected with inspiring professionals.
I learnt a lot on grassroots movements, digital campaigns and communications in times of state intrusion or threats.
This program was very useful for understanding the digital aspects of organizing workers and incorporating them into a comprehensive campaign toolkit.
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.
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.

The digital training was expertly executed and helped me develop new ideas and best practice to implement in our campaign.
The Digital Campaigning Certificate Program was immensely helpful, and I continue to apply its learnings in my daily communications and strategizing.
The assignments provided a better understanding of how the nuts and bolts of digital organizing fit together.
We have had a fantastic experience with SMT…they have been highly responsive to the needs of our grantees.
I had an amazing time. I am already applying the valuable content in my organization.
SMT's expertise in social media, ads training, and particularly their personalized coaching, has been invaluable for navigating the unique challenges of the non-profit sector. SMT's guidance has empowered us to adopt new technologies and strategies, leading to our most successful social media ads campaign to date. Their support is a game-changer for organizations stepping into unfamiliar digital territories.
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.
I'm grateful for the opportunity to expand my organizing knowledge with SMT. It's sparked creativity, and I'm excited to put new ideas into action.
SMT helped us craft an effective public narrative for our campaign to get a mine closed. SMT helped us finalize a campaign strategy and come up with an effective plan to raise visibility and engage the public. Our campaign led to a pause in the mining. We will keep fighting!
This program greatly helped integrate our thinking on organizing and digital campaigning. I wish all our organizers and digital staff could undergo this training.
The program was an eye-opener and better positioned me as a Communications Officer. I learned about digital mobilizing, online community building, and more.
SMT's coaching was incredibly supportive, encouraging and accessible. SMT had a huge impact on evolving La Semilla's storytelling program. Through SMT coaching, we diversified our digital communications. Having SMT as a source of resources and as a thought partner has been incredibly impactful to our work.
I appreciated connecting with passionate changemakers across the U.S. to discuss effective digital campaigning strategies.
SMT supported our coalition so we could play a more powerful role in advocating for our work and priorities with funders and elected officials. They facilitated a process to take a loose group of collaborators across a large geography and worked with us to build a cohesive understanding of shared values and how we could present ourselves.
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!
This program has boosted my confidence in organizing and sustaining digital campaigns.
I implemented lessons on personal narrative, public narrative and emails directly into my campaign, so this was an instant gratification. I loved learning from the other Digital Campaigning Certificate Program participants who came from around the world, working on different topics.
For anyone who wants to dive into the world of digital communications, this is the training for you!
SMT’s training on using WhatsApp to activate our bases helped us activate more leaders by creating conversational WhatsApp groups for members and assigning different leadership roles to volunteers.
For change-makers looking to harness people power for good. Expert presenters and experience sharing with classmates enhanced my knowledge and provided valuable, immediately applicable skills.
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.
The program was an incredible journey of meaningful learning and connections with amazing advocates nationwide.
This program helped us harness effective tools and tactics that are aligned with our movement's needs and organizational values.
The Design Apprenticeship course helped me become bolder in my design choices. I became confident enough to push for a more systemic approach to design in the team, developing templates and guiding other creative colleagues. This program was pivotal in my development as a designer!
SMT helped us think through what type of CRM we need and choose a texting platform to reach our base. SMT’s coaching has been instrumental in helping us develop a social media strategy that communicates our message through the voice of the young people involved in our organization. 
The course provided invaluable tools and strategies, real-world case studies from different cultural contexts, and a supportive learning environment that encouraged interaction and peer learning.
The program allowed me to deep dive into specific campaign strategies, learning from diverse examples of what worked and what could be improved.
I strongly recommend SMT. Their strong organizing background, preparation and thoughtfulness made our strategy assessment with them enjoyable and really helpful.
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.
I received input on how to align field and digital work which is directly connected to the advocacy research that we are doing.
This program has been a great experience for me personally and for my work. With the few campaigns going under way I’m excited to show my colleagues what I have learned from SMT!
I took the workers organizing in the digital age training. We really need this kind of training in Finland, which people in the US have had access to for some years. The training was effective to start organizing for instance on Twitter.
The program made me think holistically about offline and online impacts.
The DCCP program enhanced my skills and provided valuable support. I've applied these skills in my job and community work. Well-designed and presented program!
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.
This program was pivotal in my early organizing career, providing a strong foundation for recognizing technology's power in social movements. It equipped me with tools to create effective systems for our organization and broader membership base.
Highly recommend it for individuals in civic organizations looking to enhance their technological campaigning skills!
I really liked the A.I. custom training session, especially the parts tailored to our workstream and with examples pulled from our staff. It really helped to situate the tools in our work and open our team's minds to the possibilities.
It was powerful hearing directly from groups across the country using these powerful tools to win campaigns and create real change.
I initially thought this program was centered around communications, but it offered so much more. It provided an inside perspective on organizing work and how communications integrates with it.
Taking this course really transformed my organizing skills to be more effective.
We’ve heard really good things from our grantee partners. SMT has a strong, grantee-focused way of working.
I found this course inspiring, especially the strategies part. Learning from diverse students with different backgrounds was enriching."=
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.
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.
I was able to immediately use the tools I learned and apply them to our organization. The program was intense, but I loved every minute of it and learned more than expected.
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.
The program offers excellent support, knowledge, and peer collaboration for learning about organizing and campaigning.
We’re starting our third straight year providing grantee partners with Social Movement Technologies training and coaching…our grantees are in good hands.
SMT has been a great partner to co-design and launch a set of offerings that meet the growing digital and remote needs of the organizations we support, including bilingual access for our Spanish-speaking partners. The team is relatable, attentive and knowledgeable and their use of case studies helps to make complex information accessible!
This training provided invaluable clarity and direction for my digital organizing work, empowering my team to work more effectively.
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.

The trainings are terrific–geared for every level of experience. And being rooted in social change movement, especially helpful to organizers.
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.
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