Online Organizing 2018-2019 Training Program

Starting in September 2018 SMT will offer online coaching sessions every 2 weeks through the year (26 sessions) covering 18 online organizing skill areas, Wednesdays 1-2 pm EST. The overall focus of the entire program is on (1) broadening your supporter base; (2) activating more supporters, especially moving them from online to offline activism, and (3) intensifying pressure on targets. This is the lens we will use as we take up each topic.

Below are the topics that will be covered in the sessions.  Participants signing up for the entire series will also have unlimited access to 35+ hours of existing SMT training replays. Some of these will be assigned as homework. The coaching team will include organizers with deep experience in racial justice and youth online organizing. If there’s a topic you think is needed that isn’t covered, let us know.

Cost: $1800 per person, $400 additional per person from the same organization. Click here for full program invoice to mail in payment. To discuss a much lower group rate, email us. ($6,000 can pay for up to 15 seats = $400/seat, and we can help with collecting individual group payments if needed by a network.) 

Partial scholarships are available on a limited basis. To apply, complete the 10-minute application here. 

Thinking about participating? Missed the Q&A? Video clips here. 

[Are you an advanced digital campaigner? If so, SMT’s Advanced Digital Campaigners Group may be for you.]

1 Put together a badass online organizing plan and measure if it’s working to build power 

  • Starting templates for simple and complex plans
  • Building your supporter list and activating people on and offline
  • The best affordable tools for growing your list and engaging members in online action
  • Which channel is most powerful for this and ways to use it
  • How to design effective activation paths
  • Budgeting
  • Going beyond vanity metrics to track what makes sense in your organizing
  • Using source codes and campaign tagging
  • Using Google Analytics to track conversions
  • How to track the campaign contribution of specific allies and chapters (e.g # of petition signatures they’ve brought in)
  • Using infographics and other visuals to effectively convey online’s contribution to campaigns and the organization

2 Message development and testing: design and frame your campaign w/ strategic storytelling 

  • What it takes to use story powerfully in our campaigns – and why it’s so important
  • Using story-based strategy to develop effective framing and messaging
  • The hero’s journey, and why it’s so important for message development
  • How to test messaging using Facebook
  • Using narrative tools to compare your story to your opposition’s
  • Creating a campaign story that encourages power escalation

3 Online fundraising for organizing groups 

  • How to decide what makes sense given your list size and past giving history
  • EOY (End Of Year) campaigns and multi-email series
  • In-campaign fundraising at key moments
  • Segmenting to make the most of major donors
  • Orchestrating online, email, snail mail, phone calling and in-person visits
  • Developing excellent content for the campaign
  • Appropriate vs. wasted use of social media
  • Optimal design of donate pages

4 Facebook for organizing 

  • How to adapt to Facebook’s new algorithm
  • How to move people from Facebook to offline action
  • Master meme-making for Facebook sharing: what you need to know
  • When does it make sense to rely on organic reach vs. boosting vs. multi-audience ad campaign
  • What is re-targeting and why is it so important
  • Best practices for using Lead Ads for list-building
  • When and how to use Facebook Live
  • Best practices for edited video on Facebook

5 Twitter 

  • Mapping out your Twitter Plan of Action – for the year and for a campaign
  • How to grow your following aggressively – up to 250 followers per week in a way that strengthens your campaign power
  • How to activate your members on Twitter
  • Live Tweeting actions for media attention and to pressure targets – what to do before, during and after your action
  • Orchestrating Twitter thunderstorms and steps to get a hashtag to trend
  • Building your very own Twitter live tweeting team of members

6 Email best practices 

  • Effective email writing and design for action
  • How to curate your list to maximize the open rate and avoid low deliverability ratings
  • Segmenting your list effectively
  • Email surveys – when to do them
  • How to use email to drive engagement online
  • The metrics you should pay attention to — beyond opens and clicks

7 Digital Security: why it’s important and how to implement it 

  • How to go about increasing the digital security of your organization’s data and its staff and members.
  • Recommended steps in the process
  • How to build and implement a strong security policy for your staff and members
  • The secure tools that are worth adopting in your organizing, plus how and when to use them

8 Mobile power: Mass texting and peer-to-peer texting 

  • When does it make sense to integrate mobile texting into your work?
  • How to build up a mobile texting list
  • How to choose the right mass texting tool for your organization
  • What is P2P texting (used for the first time in the 2016 election) and why is it so powerful
  • How to integrate P2P into your organizing plan to maximize absorption of people at key campaign moments
  • Generating P2P lists: lead ads, purchased cell phone lists – cost, and what makes sense when

9 Tools: the pros and cons to different CRMs and other action tools 

  • The pros and cons of tools like ActionNetwork, Constant Contact, MailChimp, Salsa, EveryAction, CiviCRM, NationBuilder, ActionKit, and many others
  • How to save money by not paying for functionality you don’t use or need! (Many groups are overpaying.)
  • Meeting/video conferencing tools – the pros and cons of Zoom, Maestro Conference and

10 Media: getting and tracking media coverage for actions and campaigns 

  • Crafting actions so they are more “newsworthy” and pitching stories effectively
  • How to use social media to get more media coverage
  • Putting media coverage to work when you get it
  • Cultivating reporters online and using Twitter lists to help
  • Using powerful media listening tools (beyond Google Alerts) to increase media coverage
  • How groups are using live tweeting to boost coverage at actions

11 Optimizing your website for organizing power

  • Website email signup designs that work to grow your supporter list
  • Current organizing website design best practices
  • Re-targeting people who have visited your site but haven’t signed up for email
  • Quick & dirty uses for Google Analytics – the things every organizer should know

12 Video 

  • How to evaluate how best to use video in your work
  • The use cases and pros and cons to video on different channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, website)
  • Key lessons about how to design video so people will watch it…and then take action if that’s part of your goal
  • How to get effective videos made: getting content and editing–what members and staff can do, when to hired a videographer, when to hire a video editor
  • Budgeting

13 Using Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, FB Messenger and other relative newcomers in organizing 

  • Throughout the coaching series we’ll address new online developments and tools, including newer channels for reaching and engaging people such as Snapchat and Instagram.
  • Best practices for compiled video “Stories” on Instagram and Snapchat
  • Selectively using inexpensive tools within these apps, like geofilters, to pressure targets and get media coverage

14 Petition best practices 

  • When and how are petitions most valuable, and using them in combination with story capture
  • Keys to writing effective petitions
  • Petition alternatives (third party vs. your own vs. lead ad option) – what makes sense when
  • Best practices to drive traffic to petitions and track 
  • Best practices around petition delivery options

15 Building an online organizing committee 

  • When does a committee make sense, and when to avoid it
  • Online organizing jobs that can be most effectively assigned to leaders
  • How to structure a committee for maximum impact and minimum staff time investment

16 Budgeting for Online Organizing and other management best practices 

  • Budget line items
  • How to construct a realistic advertising budget
  • Are you over-spending on your CRM?
  • Staff levels and skill combinations to be effective
  • How to help the rest of the organization appreciate and understand your work

17 Trello, Slack, Editorial calendar best practices

  • A discussion of free project, campaign and team management tools that many groups are using
  • Best practices 
  • Sample Trello campaign and organizational dashboard templates you can use 
  • Excellent well-used progressive editorial calendars every organizer should be using

18 Developing your online organizing strategy 

  • Online power-mapping to help with strategy
  • Assessing your strengths and weaknesses online
  • What a quick-and-dirty multi-channel plan for the year could look like
  • Keeping it all together–developing an online organizing plan across platforms
  • Online campaigning in tough times–Addressing conflict and criticism from supporters (and detractors)
  • Putting people in the streets–Using online tools in your turnout plan
  • How to measure your results using a few key metrics related to building power
  • How to use ads effectively: Facebook ads – what they’re best for, when to use Like campaigns, when to use Ad Manager and Power Editor, message testing campaigns to segmented audiences, key ad audiences such as custom audiences and re-targeting, Twitter ads – what they’re best for, Google ads and Adword grants, geo-targeting, LinkedIn ads – specific organizing use cases, Smart micro-targeting and how to use it in campaigns
  • Budgeting