Social Movement Technologies
Storytelling that Moves Us: Make Your Union Irresistible: Jan 23, 30 & Feb 6

12:00 P.M. (ET) | 90-minute sessions

See all of SMT’s Upcoming Labor Movement Support

Miners participating in hunger strike while thousands of their colleagues are on strike. Image for SMT's Storytelling for Unions, DIgital Organizing Training on messaging and compelling storytelling.

Georgia, Eastern Europe miners win demands after strike by 3000+ and 18-day hunger strike by these 10 [Photo: Marium Nikuradze]

People want to be part of something that’s bold, has momentum, and enables people like them to have a voice and get things done.

It’s hard to resist jumping on that train. This session covers the key elements of narrative, storytelling and imagery that we must use in our union to build an irresistible labor movement. Lots of strong and weak examples will be discussed along with common pitfalls to avoid and a chance to practice and get individual feedback on your work.

This workshop series is for union staff (organizers, comms, everyone!) who need their union to be irresistibly inspiring…inspiring to new and old members, prospective members, and their families and neighbors too.

It’s for you if you want to cut through ideological anti-union walls propped up with disinformation, and help people connect on a human level around real needs and common interests. 

What We’ll Cover: 

  • What an inspiring union narrative sounds like, and its 5 necessary ingredients. 
  • An empirically-tested narrative on race and class that resonates with working people, and why skipping it could be a big mistake
  • Examples of stories designed to create connection and activate across ideologies
  • What makes a compelling story
  • Why it’s so important to connect stories to the union narrative, and how to do it
  • Organizing conversations can be a rich source of stories. How to organize our team to make the most of that.
  • What it means to do story coaching, and why that’s so powerful in building a leaderful union
  • How to distill stories into eye-catching and engaging videos and graphics
  • Ethical storytelling: key principles
  • Mistakes to avoid

Assignments will be made after each session, designed for participants to practice learnings by trying them out right away. Instructors will provide feedback. 

A Certificate in Worker Storytelling may be earned by attending all sessions and showing proficiency in all assignments.


Heather Cushman, SMT Labor Movement Support Coordinator

Heather Cushman has over a decade of experience in the labor movement. She has worked on external and internal organizing campaigns with private sector, federal and public sector workers across the country. At SEIU Heather helped organize thousands of higher education faculty and negotiate landmark collective bargaining agreements. Most recently, Heather worked as the state-wide communications director for a state affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers in the Deep South. Here, Heather introduced a variety of new tools and practices that strengthened organizing efforts and helped win the first state-wide pay raise for teachers and school employees in over a decade, with continued raises in subsequent years. Through improved messaging strategies and increased outreach, Heather helped local affiliates grow their membership, fight unsafe COVID-19 policies, defeat anti-union legislation, win collective bargaining, and support membership growth.

Deivid Rojas, SMT Staff Partner

Deivid is an organizer, storyteller, communicator, and visual artist with 10+ years of experience supporting and building organizing campaigns that tightly intertwine field organizing, communications, and digital, including over six years as the Communications Director at Fight For 15 Chicago, where he led the communications work for hundreds of actions, strikes, and protests. He developed and coached dozens of workers to become effective campaign spokespeople and landed national stories with national and international press, created content shared thousands of times online, and produced iconic protest visuals. Deivid has also led communications and digital organizing with SEIU National Fast Food Workers Unions, SEIU Local 73, and UFCW 881. As a queer man from Colombia, he is fluent in Spanish and has deep experience working with groups focusing on labor, Latine, racial justice, Black/Brown solidarity, and LGBTQIA+ issues. 


January 23, 30 & Feb. 6 | 12:00 P.M. (ET) | 90-minute sessions

Find your time zone here. Training will be recorded for those in time zones that don’t facilitate live participation.


In order to support a movement organization learning space, SMT trainings are for staff of non-profits – NGOs, unions and electoral campaigns. Trainings are not for consultants or agencies. Consultants & agency staff who register will have their registrations refunded. Alternatively, on demand trainings are available to all on SMT’s course platform.

Region Budget of the Organization Early

(by Jan 1, 2024)

Outreach Partner
Referral: forward us the communication you received to qualify.(thru Jan 1 only)
North America & Western Europe
$2M+ $270 $240 $300
$500K-2M $220 $190 $250
Under $500K $210 $180 $240
Global (outside North America & Western Europe)
$2M+ $250 $220 $280
$500K-2M $180 $150 $210
Under $500K $135 $120 $150


Groups referred by outreach partners can get discounts on available training programs (see table above). Please name the outreach partner in your registration and forward the email you received to [email protected]. The outreach partner discount does not apply to group rates or 2nd person rates, which are already steeply discounted. Outreach partners pass along opportunities for training and coaching to lists of organizing groups. This helps SMT as a non-profit reach more groups that could organize more powerfully with SMT support. 

Interested in being an outreach partner? Contact [email protected] and describe the size and type of groups you’d reach out to. Typically, this is a list of chapters of a network; national unions on behalf of their local affiliates; State Federations, Labor Councils etc.


Groups Banner

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


SMT helped us build an integrated, strategic approach to a union contract campaign. SMT’s work is sophisticated and flexible–their support was invaluable.
I learned really useful tools that are coming in handy in my everyday job.
SMT’s coaching, strategy and implementation support has been invaluable to help us become more effective online. They understand the labor movement, speak organizing, and are cost-effective.
We’ve encouraged someone from every local to attend SMT’s program...Any successful campaign we have - organizing, bargaining or movement building - has to include social media as a key component.
We hired SMT to lead a discussion about online strategy with some of our union’s staff. It rekindled my desire and commitment to using emerging technologies in my organizing!
Love it!” (mobile optimization of
[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.
Very thorough and helpful overview of tools and concepts for effective digital organizing.
I found the Advanced CRM curriculum extremely helpful, in that it deepened my understanding of the capacity of the CRM we use. The practical examples were really helpful. We’ve begun to build some of the best practices from the Advanced CRM curriculum into our planning and internal workflows for 2019.
The IAM's leadership is committed to expanding the union's effective use of social media and online tools in our organizing. As part of that, we're encouraging not only full-time organizers, but also local communicators to enroll in SMT's digital campaigning program.
   Our local switched CRMs earlier this year and having SMT staff walk through the features and answer questions was extremely helpful, both in problem solving and in providing some ideas in how I can use our CRM as a better organizing tool for our local. If you have any questions about your CRM, it is worth it!
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 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 loved this course. It gave me a sense of what's out there. Before this, I didn't know what I didn't know! The session on geofencing blew my mind. These tools are critical for our organizing.
A comprehensive look at must-have social media tools and techniques to build capacity and power for your union. We were able to effectively put together an action plan and deploy techniques like tweet storms almost as soon as we learned about them.
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.
We want to be able to be as smart and effective as we can with our limited resources...SMT is a no-brainer.
A fast paced course that provides a lot of interesting and useful information in a short amount of time.

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