Back To Blue PA – Digital Organizing

Excerpts from my exit memo for the Back To Blue PA digital organizing program. Back To Blue PA was the PA Dems’ coordinated campaign to elect Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and Democrats down the ballot during the 2020 election cycle.

Role Overview

  • Hybrid role; first member of the team. Day-to-day work supported both sides of our digital organizing program: communities and distributed.
  • Established early digital organizing infrastructure and processes in collaboration with field and data departments.
  • Established the coordinated campaign’s online brand; created foundational documents for design and written materials including digital guides and a social calendar.
  • Tool administrator for Mobilize America, Slack, and Action Network; owned the email schedule for the month or so we had in-state email capabilities.
  • Texting desk during dry runs and GOTV. Worked closely with the ThruText tool manager (Distributed Deputy), VSLD (associate) and VSL tool leads (associates) to adjust the texting virtual staging location structure throughout the dry runs and execute the GOTV texting program. Central communications hub for the texting VSL.
  • Managed 6 digital associates:
    • Ran daily checkin and checkout calls
    • Sent morning briefing email daily with priorities, benchmarks, task assignments
    • Had semi-regular 1:1s with each associate

Program Accomplishments

Volunteer Management

  • ~13,000 Slack users
  • 55 texting volunteer leads
  • 840 volunteer lead shifts completed
  • 50 VIP texters assembled in 24 hours – experienced volunteer texters and former campaign staffers on standby on election day for last minute texting needs

Text Banking

  • 18,000,000+ text attempts
  • ~983,000 voters canvassed via text
  • ~6,500 unique texting volunteers
  • ~19,600 texting shifts completed
  • ~1,800 standalone text training attendees

Social Media

  • 3.4M Twitter impressions (May 15 to November 12)
  • 3,557 Twitter followers by Election Day
  • 2,441 Facebook page likes and 2,566 Facebook page followers
  • 10 regional Facebook groups with 4,600+ members total

Qualitative Accomplishments

  • Our #BackToBluePA hashtag became a consistent enough part of PA politics Twitter that it became a genericized indicator for Democratic politics in PA during the 2020 presidential cycle, garnering use from folks who were not familiar with our campaign
  • Planned, adjusted, executed, and exponentially scaled one of the largest peer-to-peer operations in the country from a distance in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Consistently received positive feedback from volunteers, peers, and digital organizing thought leaders on our texting operation
  • Successfully balanced relational/communities tasks, design needs, and ad hoc digital needs while building and scaling a distributed program
  • Ran a successful in-house digital content shop despite having limited resources and time to do so
  • Created a GOTV texting plan strong enough that we were able to artificially stress-test during dry runs with inflated shifts