Digital Organizing Bootcamp

** BOOTCAMP APPLICATIONS REOPENED FOR DENVER! **

Apply now to attend the Digital Organizing Bootcamp in Denver!

Have you been trying to figure how best to use digital organizing strategies and tactics to accentuate the organizing work you do? Do you have a little experience working in digital organizing but want to fine tune your strategies?

If you answered yes to either of those questions, Digital Organizing Bootcamp is for you.

We are conducting two bootcamps in 2017:
New York City June 11-17
Denver, CO July 9-15

These week-long immersive trainings in Digital Organizing, includes hands-on, in-depth training on topics like:
Building a digital campaign strategy
Mapping engagement paths for your supporters
Best practices for building websites, writing email blasts, managing social media and other digital organizing tasks
Integrating digital tactics with offline organizing
Follow up opportunities for mentorship and additional training

To teach you all this and more, we are bringing in some of the best digital trainers in the country to guide you as you master the art of Digital Organizing. This is a unique opportunity to have in-depth conversations with experienced Digital Organizers working across the country about topics like writing a digital campaign budget, managing digital staff and making the case for digital campaigns to non-digital colleagues and bosses.

You’ll also have hands-on experiences with some of the most up-to-date technology being used in Digital Organizing.

The cost for these bootcamps is $2000 per person and includes all of the training and training materials and 3 meals a day including snacks. Housing options are available for an additional fee.
Scholarships are available and acceptance into the training is not dependent on your financial means.

Apply now - Applications are due June 30!

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Let’s Make A Digital Organizing Guide!

Open source software is a source of many innovations. One of is a response to a fairly basic problem: who creates the user manual for programs not owned and developed by a company?

In 2008 Tomas Krag came up with the idea of a book sprint. Get the right people to commit to 4-5 days of steady work, and end up with a top to bottom software manual for open source software. The book sprint has caught on, and dozens of books in multiple languages are available for free download or purchase.

In recent years, software methodologies like SCRUM and Agile have migrated to other parts of the business world – and beyond. Shouldn’t that be true for the book sprint? It got us thinking…

At workshops in digital strategy for labor organizers, we usually offer copies of various resources and guides to pass around. Folks are more likely to scan a physical copy than to look up a URL a few days later. But the information isn’t well organized – it’s always just a list of resources, with no taxonomy or easy to use locator for the right resource.

Instead, we should use the book sprint methodology to produce a guide for digital organizers in the labor movement in New York City. It would be available as a free download, though anyone could buy a printed copy. The bulk of it would be (authorized) reprints or links to existing resources from the usual suspects, such as the New Organizing Institute.

In addition, we would add more specialized resources that our target audience will find helpful:

  • List of organizations offering political, communications, or digital training in NYC
  • Calendar of events of importance to the organizing community
  • Lists of Twitter handles and Facebook pages for labor organizations and local elected officials.
  • A directory of labor communications staff in New York.
  • Articles about topics designed explicitly for a junior communications staffer to give to someone more senior in the labor movement to advance a particular point. (Ex.: digital should be part of early strategy discussions, not added as an afterthought.)
  • References to recent noteworthy efforts using digital tools, from New York based organizations.
  • A directory of trustworthy vendors and freelancers who offer relevant services.

After asking a number of our friends and advisory board members, we’ve decided to create such a guide during the upcoming Organizing 2.0 conference (April 10-11). It might even spark the creation of more such guides for other regions. If you have suggestions or want to participate, get in touch with us. At the moment we have a facilitator, we’re looking for 3-4 volunteers to take a lead role in producing this guide.

Training: Digital Skills for Labor – Aug. 21

We’re pleased to be co-presenting a daylong training on online organizing aimed at people in the labor movement. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to hone your skills with more advanced trainings, we’ll have something for you.

All participants MUST register here. The language in this form focuses on affiliates of the New York City Central Labor Council, but we are welcoming colleagues from community organizing groups, unions and labor groups who aren’t part of the CLC, students, activists and others allied with the labor movement. Wondering if this training is really for you? Just ask by emailing us here.

Details:

Wed, Aug 21, 2013 | 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM
New York City Central Labor Council
275 Seventh Avenue, 16th Floor
New York, NY 10001

This event is sponsored by the New York City Central Labor Council, the New York State AFL-CIO, the AFL-CIO, Organizing 2.0, the Consortium for Worker Education and the New York Paid Leave Coalition. Trainers hailing from the CLC, AFL-CIO and Organizing 2.0 will be on hand to give you a training tailored to labor’s needs. We’ll be teaching things like the Salsa email blast and petition system, social media skills for all levels, how to get buy-in for online organizing and what to look for in making a campaign website.

Registration is limited and expected to fill up rapidly. Register Today.

Knowledge Donors for Labor Fights


These days there are many new ways for people who are not members of a labor union to participate in the labor movement.
In addition to working with existing unions people can become members of Working America or join the OWS offshoot 99 Pickets.  If you work in the sector they represent you can join the Freelancers Union, OUR Walmart, Fast Food Forward or one of the many new worker centers like the Restaurant Opportunities Center. or Retail Action Project. Unions as well as these newer entities are all making calls for solidarity from the public in the form of petition signatures, help with picketing and demonstrations, boycotts, and help spreading the word on social media. But with rare exceptions, they do not have a structure for engaging with skilled volunteers – what many are calling knowledge donors.

Managing volunteers can be a challenge no matter what; but managing knowledge donors is a step beyond that. Organizations that have relied on groups of interchangeable supporters to show up at a certain time, perform an action, and then go home aren’t always able to handle individual volunteers with a specific skill. This can be complicated even more with tensions around volunteers who don’t represent your core constituency. What do you do with someone who isn’t even a member, might not come from the same community, and has a generational or class difference from the people they are trying to help? No wonder you won’t find many examples of knowledge donors in the labor world.

Organizing 2.0 is launching a new effort to recruit skilled volunteers who will be in service to labor and community organizing struggles. We’re looking specifically for digitally applicable skills, including social media proficiency, writing for the web, graphic design, online video, web development, trainers in digital tools and online advertising. These are the skill sets that (we observe) many union locals do not have. Even very large union locals are sometimes configured in such a way that staff are unable to run a real digital media campaign.

We have seen many cases where union locals go on strike — an action they have been preparing for for weeks or months — but don’t have a plan for social media outreach or any online communications. It’s only once the strike is imminent that they realize that they want additional support from the broader public and see the internet as a means for getting it and of putting pressure on the employer. However, the union local doesn’t have a plan for how to get that support or relationships with people who can help them. Sometimes they come to Organizing 2.0 for help at the last minute. We want to be able to do that at a larger scale. In particular, we want to help those who ‘don’t know who or how to ask.’

Our plan is to look for both knowledge donors and labor or community organizing fights that can benefit from them. By connecting and applying our knowledge and understanding of both labor and digital strategy, we can make a difference that is both meaningful and visible.

Of course, questions remain. Will we be able to recruit, train, manage and retain skilled volunteers? Will we find willing partners interested in their help? We think so but we’re not sure. As an organization run entirely by volunteers, everything we ever do has a certain question mark over it. But we do have a track record of training and engaging thousands of people at events over nearly four years. We’ve built an amazing Advisory Board (details coming soon!). And a great many of our peers working in the labor movement have offered encouragement and support for this new direction. Plus we’ve already done this on a micro scale for a few locals.

We can’t wait to find out. Meanwhile, everyone reading our post is encouraged to help us figure this out. Please – offer your suggestions and questions below, and sign up if you a)have skills and b)want to contribute them to help workers win labor fights.