Elections are Won in the States (and Online): Stories from the Biden 2020 States Digital Organizing Team

  • In-state distributed organizing programs: Battleground state teams recruited and managed volunteers through Slack to make statewide phone calls and send peer-to-peer texts that IDed supporters, recruited volunteers, supported voter education, and turned out our voters.
  • Online communities programs: State teams engaged with existing online communities and influencers within battleground states to spread our campaign’s message, combat misinformation, and push supporters to volunteer. In addition, they ran relational organizing programs to help facilitate friend-to-friend outreach, allowing our campaign to reach new voters.
  1. Traditional organizing tactics that built volunteer leadership and teams, empowering supporters to invest in a single state identity (which kept them coming back).
  2. State-of-the-art voter contact tools that allowed us to scale our outreach into the stratosphere.
  • In Florida, Miranda Barrie’s team built out Spanish and Haitian-Creole bilingual voter contact programs. In addition, they developed a Digipuertas program that tasked their Spanish-speaking volunteers with contacting likely-Hispanic voters through WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram.
  • In Georgia, Stacia Yim’s team leaned into the state’s lingo. Volunteer trainings were named “Peach Jams” and their volunteer appreciation call was branded the “All Y’all Vol Call.”
  • In Michigan, Jewell Porter’s team took an even more precise approach by integrating their texting team directly into the regional organizing structure. This gave volunteers the opportunity to text voters in their own communities.
  • In New Hampshire, Royce Kim’s team energized a fatigued voter-base with accessible and concrete online volunteer opportunities, like virtual strategy meetings, friend banks, social canvass trainings, and post-debate social media chats.
This Fight for NC logo was designed by North Carolina’s own, Lillian, a campaign design volunteer.
  • In Nevada, Emma Kraus’s team incorporated high-profile surrogates into themed friend banks, which were dedicated events for volunteers to do relational outreach. One of their most successful relational events was a Women for Biden Friend Bank with actress Jamie Lee Curtis.
  • In Minnesota, Emily Frost and her team held “Among Us” friend banks, aimed directly at younger, millennial-aged gamers to give typically disaffected audiences a pathway into the campaign that was relevant to them.
  • Labor is big in Iowa, and Alli Peters and Nick Meier pioneered the use of “labor-to-labor” friend banks in partnership with their state coalitions team. As you may suspect, they found volunteers in labor were incredibly effective messengers about Joe Biden’s policies on jobs and the labor sector at large.
  • Tribal communities
  • Latinx communities
  • Younger voters
  • After a volunteer participated in a friend bank, they were asked to host their own relational house party on Zoom with their networks.
  • Team Arizona provided staff support, and created assets and resources for volunteer leaders and friend bank hosts to make hosting as simple and accessible as possible.
  • Volunteer leaders coached hosts on event best practices and attended the friend banks to hold attendees accountable to accurate reporting.
  1. If you’re working with state programs from HQ, give teams a blueprint and let them run. Not all programs will look the same — and that’s ok. These programs should be authentic and reflect the states they’re run in.
  2. People still think digital organizing means social media content creation. Get buy in for the kind of program you want to run, and the types of skills needed in staff to run it, early on.
  3. States teams will still need content. Determine which team will be responsible for it (Comms? Digital organizing? Another team?), and develop systems and processes immediately. Social content programs require a lot of time and effort — make sure you staff up appropriately.
  4. Set goals that can be measured and work with your data team to build reporting that holds your teams and program accountable. You might need to get creative with exactly how you’re tracking this work. Get comfortable with the thought of tracking digital organizing work outside of VAN, or better yet, build a system early that translates digital organizing data to VAN.
  5. When a supporter signs up to volunteer with your organization, your first ask should be a relational ask. Relational is finite in that a volunteer only knows so many people — they can exhaust their list of contacts, and then still be asked to come make calls or knock doors week after week!




on the @joebiden 🚂. alum @stopbigmoney | @healthcarevoter | @hillaryclinton | @teambraley | @270strategies | @barackobama .

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Courtney Corbisiero

Courtney Corbisiero

on the @joebiden 🚂. alum @stopbigmoney | @healthcarevoter | @hillaryclinton | @teambraley | @270strategies | @barackobama .

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