Online Organizers Manual
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Using the Internet effectively in organizing is a challenging goal. The landscape of what's possible is changing every day, and there are, seemingly, no hard and fast rules to making it work. But, you don't have to feel like a rudderless ship. TechRocks has worked with dozens of groups, large and small, to effectively acheive measurable programmatic gains using the Internet. We've taken that experience and put it all together for you here in our Online Organizing Manual. Seven chapters outline the basics with real case studies, recommended tools, and actual examples.
You can download one chapter at a time below, or download all chapters in a self extracting zip file (it's 1.3MB).
Why Internet Organizing Benefits Your Organization (356KB)
We all know the perpetual plight of the non-profit: too few resources for too many issues. Whether it’s money, staff, or time, we never seem to have all the resources we need to get our jobs done. Which begs the question: why invest the time, money, and staff into developing and maintaining the systems and resources for an online organizing presence when you can barely keep up with the program work you’ve committed to? The answer is simple. Investing in online organizing strategies is the most efficient and effective way increase your organizing capacity. It will allow you to do what you already do better, and give you new avenues for your organizing. And it’s an investment in the survival of your organization.
Planning: Preparing for Internet Organizing (228KB)
Incorporating online advocacy into your campaign strategy can catapult your campaign into high-gear, but only if you have a clear plan and set of goals for reaching your activists, and affecting your target. The best way to plan for the Internet in your work is to treat it like any other campaign strategy, an integral part of your overall plan. Too often, groups build advocacy Web sites or send out email action alerts and expect them to generate political output without taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of online media, their organization's capacity to use the medium, or the other components of their campaign.
Recruitment: Building an Email Action list (336KB)
You may already be collecting email addresses from you constituents and engaging them in online organizing efforts. But the Internet is more than just a way to effectively organize the people you already know. It's the perfect opportunity to reach out to new audiences and engage new people in your organization.
Building Ongoing Activist Relationships: Re-Engagement and Online Community (160KB)
As most businesses know, it is much cheaper to keep your existing customers than to find new ones. Email is a cheap and almost instant way to keep in contact with your members and activists. The objective is to keep your activists coming back - without burning them out or frightening them away, and without letting your lists get cold. Although this is mostly common sense, it takes a little planning ahead of time to make sure your investment in marketing and recruitment pays off.
Messaging: How to reach people online with your message (316KB)
The Internet is jam-packed with information, and you are competing with all of it for your audience's attention. According to The Industry Standard, your site is just one of over 800 million Web pages out there. Your email newsletter is just one of over 432 billion emails that will be sent in the U.S. this year.
Getting Heard: How to deliver your message in a way that will successfully affect public policy (324KB)
Many traditional grassroots organizations have asked the same questions regarding online advocacy work. Do Decision-Makers really listen to online advocacy efforts? And can online advocacy really shape public policy?
Evaluation: Measuring your sucess (456KB)
Of course, the ultimate measure in evaluating the success of any campaign is whether or not the decision maker responds as we hope. But to reach that goal, we use strategies and tactics that we think will sway the decision maker, and we must evaluate the success of these strategies along the way to gauge the likelihood that we will meet our ultimate goal and to increase the effectiveness of future campaigns.
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