The need to campaign and organize on the most pressing issues of our time won't — and can't — stop in the face of a global pandemic. Nonprofits have to get creative and leverage strategic solutions to stay in touch with and mobilize their communities when in-person collaboration is off the table.
TechSoup is hosting a half-day series of virtual events on August 27 designed to help small and medium-sized nonprofits build new strategies for supporting their communities online. There are three events:
Digital Activism Organizing: Tools, Tactics, and Training to Stand Together While Apart
August 27, 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Pacific time || Replay
Women Social Entrepreneurs in Civic Tech: How Voices of Women Help Us Advance Democracy
August 27, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Pacific time || Replay
Online Community Organizing Workshop for Nonprofits
August 27, 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. Pacific time
Opportunities in the Moment
It's a critical time for nonprofits to learn new skills for organizing online, because, as Chris Worman, TechSoup's vice president of alliances and program development, says, "Right now, we have no choice."
"Many of us cannot safely organize offline in-person during the pandemic," he adds. "And it isn't just mass protests or marches, but those of us going door-to-door to conduct the census, check in on elderly community members, or provide after-school programs to children. Many nonprofit organizations that have previously relied on providing offline services and engaging their community at town hall meetings, block parties, arts performances, and so on simply cannot operate in the same way anymore. But we have to stay in touch. And there are opportunities in the moment to reach new people, organize more inclusive conversations, and grow our networks."
Until we have a vaccine, COVID-19 is going to come back in waves — keeping us guessing, learning, and adapting to working with our teams and communities in the virtual world. The shift to digital will continue to have a serious impact on how nonprofits, especially ones with limited digital skills, work to progress their programs, services, and missions. Learning the skills to organize your community online is critical to weathering the challenges ahead.
"There's much at stake," Worman said. "When we stop organizing offline services around critical social services such as food banks and services for the unhoused and other marginalized communities, they are at risk of becoming even less seen and less heard."
From organizing services to strengthening your resiliency in the face of crisis, this half-day event will teach you the tools and tactics to build a stronger digital community. Together, we can ensure that our messages are being heard by donors, supporters, and policymakers alike.
Here's a sneak peek at what you can expect from this half-day event on August 27.
1. Digital Activism Organizing: Tools, Tactics and Training to Stand Together While Apart
In this session, we'll look at real-world examples that marry online and offline organizing powerfully with digital organizing tools and tactics that don't have to break the bank.
This panel discussion will feature speakers from Income Movement, Fair Count, and TechSoup Italia. They will discuss how they've built out their online organizing strategy through virtual events, petitions, crowdsourcing platforms, digital marketing tactics, and more to mobilize their community in this new all-digital environment.
August 27, 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Pacific time
2. Women Social Entrepreneurs in Civic Tech: How Voices of Women Help Us Advance Democracy
Learn how public good tech can be used to empower voting and civic engagement. In this panel, we will investigate the topic and hear from experts who are working to build technology tools to enable fair voting practices. You'll hear from Ballotpedia, Democracy Works, and other tech solutions in this space.
August 27, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Pacific time
3. Online Community Organizing Workshop for Nonprofits
In this workshop, connect with nonprofit peers to share and discuss creative strategies for organizing communities online during this time of crisis. Online tools provide an opportunity to connect with your constituents and engage them in better understanding their greatest needs and how your organizations can be more responsive.
Learn how CivicMakers has used dynamic, online convenings to support collaboration and connections and give you the opportunity to practice this model in real time. Together you’ll brainstorm topics identified by the group and listen to a report back from each group, followed by a closing Q&A on facilitating this type of process. Afterwards, we'll compile resources shared in the workshop in TechSoup's Community Forums to continue the learning and sharing long after this session.
August 27, 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. Pacific time
We're living in unprecedented times, and now more than ever, our communities depend on nonprofits to connect us to critical services, policymakers, and the best parts of our shared humanity during a crisis. How we organize online now can have an impact on future generations. But we don't have to go it alone. We hope you'll join us on August 27 to deepen our collective learning about tools, tactics, and best practices for organizing our communities online.