Fundraise With Relational Organizing

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Fundraise with relational organizing

Your best donors are people you already know. How do you tap a large number of your contacts for donations, but in a personal manner? How do you make it easy for friends to share your campaign messages to their friends and on social media? Relational organizing.

How can you send customized fundraising appeals to the dozens or hundreds of contacts in your phonebook? How do you this by text, WhatsApp, or Facebook Messenger? How can you include images in your request? How do you get your friends to share your appeal further to their friends and on their social media pages? How do you do this when you have next to no money nor tech savvy?

Leaf cutter ants provide a clue. They work in teams to divide a large jobs into small tasks.

Richard Walker is running for the Virginia House of Delegates 71st and like many other grassroots candidates, he has more supporters than funding. This blog explains how he is using VoteForce, a relational organizing app to fundraise and reach voters. This blog explains how:

– Richard organized his outreach to quickly send customized messages to his contacts from his address book
– He sends fundraising requests with both text (SMS) and images (MMS)
– Richard’s supporters share his messages with their friends by SMS, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp
– Supporters spread Richard’s through their social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
– Progressive campaigns can apply for their own free VoterForce account

VoteForce is a relational organizing app that helps campaigns of all sizes.

Create your message

Richard used the VoteForce console to create messages for the different types of people in his phone contacts including friends, family and criminal justice officials. His donation request included both texts and images his ActBlue donation link. He then used the VoteForce app to send texts to multiple people he chose from his phone address book.

Support Richard Walker

Campaigns can create customized messages that include both text and images using VoteForce.
VoteForce creates customized texts that can include both texts, images, GIFs and memes.

Use Facebook’s algorithm to spread your message

Facebook is an advertising platform which is optimized to keep people on it for as long as possible so that they can be shown more ads. That’s how Facebook makes money. The Facebook algorithm looks for messages that are being shared and further amplifies these ‘trending’ hashtags. Having your supporters share your message with the same hashtag at about the same time takes advantage of this principle to get your message more (free) exposure on Facebook.

“Social networks are designed to profit from enabling advertisers to grow, reach, or corral an audience. Growing an audience typically involves producing compelling content, aiming for social engagement and amplification, paying for boosted posts or ads (most of which are labeled in some way). Companies do it, grassroots organizers do it, and politicians do it. ISIS did it. And what they couldn’t achieve through organic growth, they simply manufactured. Manufacturing a crowd is a bit different from growing an audience. Purchasing likes, ratings, followers, or bots; relying on automation to artificially amplify a message; gaming algorithms to get something trending or highly rated by a recommender system; using sock puppets to leave comments and shape narratives. It’s mass deception: hard to detect, and societally corrosive.” – Wired

When you have genuine human supporters, you do not need a fake army of Russian bots to spread your message on social media.

Supporters sharing your message with the same hashtag at the same time to their Facebook pages increases the chances that the algorithm will further amplify it.


VoteForce is a DemLabs relational organizing app with two parts:
– A web based console where organizers create groups and messages. The console also helps keep track of your supporters with the app and who have shared messages for you.
– A free mobile app that is available on the Apple AppStore and Google Play. Organizers and volunteers use this app to spread a message with their friends and post messages on social media. Users can choose which organization they want to receive alerts from.

VoteForce is available at no charge for non-profits working on voting rights and social justice issues. Learn more about how to get a free account here.

TakeAway: Use relational organizing to fund raise and spread your message. Use the power of your human contacts to amplify your message on Facebook.


Image credit: Biomimicry Belgium
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Democracy Labs is a hub for ongoing technology and creative innovation that serves progressive campaigns and organizations at the national, state, and local levels.

Our focus is on long term, sustainable and affordable solutions. An approach that is longer than an election cycle, and isn’t purely dependant on volunteers, can enable more qualified candidates to run for office and for more issue groups to bring about positive social change.

Democracy Labs is a project of the Tides Advocacy Fund.

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