Civics For Change: Digital Organizing
Like many things in today’s world, much of what we previously did in-person has become digitized, one of which is organizing for a cause or building a campaign online. Digital organizing is generally defined as using social media and other digital tools to mobilize people to take action. As young people, we have powerful tools for organizing and getting out the vote at our fingertips, so it’s important to know how to best use them. In this Civics For Change blog, we will examine a few of the main ways we utilize digital organizing.
With Instagram, Threads, X (formerly known as Twitter), Facebook, TikTok, and beyond, there are so many ways to share what we’ve got going on in our lives. Social media can also be a great way to amplify voices that are not typically heard or reach people who need to hear a particular message the most. When using social media, it is necessary to be aware of the ways in which misinformation appears in our feeds. Always check the source and its reputation when verifying information, especially surrounding voting and elections. For more on social media, check out our Instagram for examples of how we spread the word on a variety of messages, and read about a project by Skylar Mitchell, an Andrew Goodman Puffin Fellow: By Any Memes Necessary: Exploring the Relationship Between Social Media Imagery and Political Outcomes.
My.VoteEverywhere portals are campus-specific web pages hosted by The Andrew Goodman Foundation (AGF) to help with everything from registering students to vote to answering questions about upcoming elections. Andrew Goodman Ambassadors can decide to customize the tools and information on each page and set up a unique URL. Each page includes tools and resources like buttons for registering to vote or requesting an absentee ballot, a portal to help students find their nearest polling place, providing dates and information on upcoming elections, and answering other frequently asked questions about voting. At the bottom of each page, the personnel of each Vote Everywhere Campus Team is listed for folks on campus to know who to get into contact with regarding civic engagement on campus! For more, see how the Ambassadors at Georgetown University took voter engagement online with my.VoteEverywhere.
The Andrew Goodman Foundation uses SimpleTexting as our mass communication platform. This tool, which has been made available to the entire Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere Network, is highly customizable. We have found that success is maximized when the messages come from those who are a part of the communities themselves, like our Andrew Goodman Ambassadors on campuses organizing both digitally and in-person. Ambassadors create a relevant, easy-to-remember keyword, like “GeauxVote” for LSU, write the texts, and encourage their peers to join their texting list for updates on upcoming elections and opportunities to become more civically engaged on campus. With so many of us using our phones for just about everything, texting can be an extremely effective tool for getting a short message out to a large audience. Be sure to check out our AGF Ambassador Texting Guide for more ways to best utilize this digital tool!
We all know it can be a difficult task to keep up with everything that’s going on in our government. Using targeted actions is a great way to get the word out about pieces of legislation that may not receive a lot of media attention or to get the information in front of the people it will impact most if the legislation is, or is not, passed. As a national organization, AGF creates targeted actions only for federal legislation promoting voter education or breaking down barriers young people face in voting. We do this by providing a quick and easy way to contact your elected officials to share your voice on the matter at hand. AGF is currently supporting two pieces of federal legislation that would reduce many of the common barriers that voting people of all ages face: The Youth Voting Rights Act and The Freedom To Vote Act. Click the links to take action by contacting your elected officials and spread the word with your friends!
Part of creating a strong coalition or movement is ensuring your communication and means of organizing are accessible and inclusive. Using digital tools to enhance your organizing to get out the vote or to advocate for or against something is a surefire way to include as many people as possible.
“Digital tools are the megaphones of our time, amplifying our voices, expanding our reach, and connecting communities in the pursuit of democracy. Whether it’s mobilizing voters, advocating for change, or standing up against injustice, harnessing the power of technology is essential in our mission to make a difference. With every click, share, and message, we pave the way for a brighter future and a more engaged, informed, and empowered society.” – Mo Banks, Director of Communications at The Andrew Goodman Foundation
Our Resource Center is full of digital tools and resources like the Digital Organizing Toolkit, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To Building A Youth Poll Worker Project, podcasts, reports, blogs, guides for building campus action plans, and so much more!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mia Matthews is the Program and Communications Manager at The Andrew Goodman Foundation. In her position, she works with student leaders and in communications and storytelling surrounding their work. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.