Announcing The Digital Academy!

We are excited to kick off 2017 by announcing the launch of the New Media Mentors Digital Academy!

Starting this winter, New Media Mentors will offer master classes on digital skills and best practices. Our learn-by-doing model is a robust professional development program for online organizers and digital professionals. New Media Mentors pairs workshops with one-on-one mentoring sessions that apply learning directly to live projects going on in the participant's work.

Our sessions for the Winter courses include:

Digital Advocacy and Engagement - it’s time to renovate the tools we use to build leaders and engage with supporters and members at a time when digital and legislative advocacy and mobilization is critical.
Workshops begin Tuesday, 2/14 at 2pm ET and run until Tuesday, 3/7 at 3pm ET.

Digital Fundamentals and Best Practices - designed to give campaigners a solid foundation for digital organizing, encompassing best practices on using email, Facebook, Twitter and their website.
Workshops begin Tuesday, 3/28 at 2pm ET and run until Tuesday, 4/18 at 3pm ET.

Digital Fundraising - Raise more money for your organization and turbo charge your fundraising plans by implementing better testing, segmentation and optimization.
Workshops begin Tuesday, 4/25 at 2pm ET and run until Tuesday, 5/16 at 3pm ET.

Digital Leadership - Support junior and mid level professionals in becoming digital leaders by learning the basics of program measurement and evaluation, which will allow them to tell the story of the value they create and deliver with digital mobilization.
Workshops begin Tuesday, 5/23 at 2pm ET and run until Tuesday, 6/13 at 3pm ET.

Each course includes 3 hour-long workshops, supported by 3 mentorship hours. Classes begin in February, and seating for classes is limited, and all work is done virtually.

With so much at stake this year, we look forward to getting to work in 2017!

Engagement IS organizing

“Engagement” is a popular term right now, but what does it really mean? 

While the definition can vary widely, engagement is really the cornerstone of movement building. 

Engagement IS organizing.

Engagement, whether it’s digital or face-to-face, is about conversations that move people to take action. That action might be online. It might be a Retweet or changing a profile picture to stand in solidarity. It might be a donation or a thunderclap. It might be organizing advocacy calls to elected officials to influence a policy decision. It might be getting together to stuff envelopes and break bread (or pizza) together.

However you define it, engagement is the critical combination of paying attention to your community and empowering that community to take action when it matters. 

Like traditional organizing, digital organizing builds power through developing strong relationships, amplifying victories, finding places of collaboration, and finding ways to deepen and recognize commitment and support.

It can also build your organization’s culture. Your action and interaction communicate how your organization values its supporters and members. Your ladder of engagement can articulate how you connect, respond, validate and grow leaders. It also shows how your organization treats information, particularly when it comes to talking about victories or defeats facing the campaign you’re working on. 

So how does this relate to building a robust ladder of engagement? It’s essential that the actions and interactions created by your organization form a path that is accessible, interesting and responsive to the community you’re creating.  

We have to ask ourselves what emotions are at work as we bring in new supporters? How do those emotions correspond to action? And most importantly, how do we support them in moving up that ladder? Often, I have seen organizations struggle with building leaders, or growing a healthy volunteer base. When this is the case, we have to re-examine and possibly reboot that ladder. Are we sure there are enough rungs on the ladder? How do we get a clear, evidence-driven answer to how many members or supporters live on each rung? And how do we make sure none of our engagement rungs are broken or missing?

These are the questions we’ll be exploring in our next webinar on Tuesday, September 13th. (11 a.m. PST). The webinar boils down two important case studies on using social media to add depth and traction to our ladder of engagement systems. We’ll discuss how we gather evidence to find out how well our ladders are working, and how we might detect and repair broken or missing rungs. We also will talk about the importance of follow-up communication in cultivating leaders. 

Can’t make it? You can still check out our new ladder of engagement planning worksheet! Download it here.

Opening Doors: New Ways We Work

It’s Spring! That means we’re in the midst of working with our 9th cohort – a stellar group of groups including: Oregon Environmental Council, Climate Solutions, Oregon Natural Desert Association, Forward Together, Ohio Organizing Collaborative and Women’s Action for New Directions.

Image courtesy of Mike Reling.

Image courtesy of Mike Reling.

As you can see, we also have a new website – and with it many new ways we can work together. We now offer a broad range of mentoring options - all of them designed to fit the needs of the organizations that want help with their digital programs.

That could mean:

  • Doing an assessment of all of your online work, followed by a few sessions to drill down into the findings.
  • Focusing on a few key learning modules, like testing or analytics or some part of the puzzle you need help with.
  • Working over time to cover best practices.

There are lots of options.

We continue to be committed to mentoring as our model – and to changing organizations so they can change the world. 

Our doors are open!

Happy Spring.