TON Newsletter - Dec 17, 2020

Welcome to Tectonica Organising Network’s twice-monthly newsletter! We work hard to curate and create the best content out there on progressive digital organising and share it with you, along with some updates on upcoming events and trainings, what we’ve been up to, and even a bit about what’s going on on the other side.

What We’ve Been Up To

Join the TON Community on Slack!

We’re excited to announce a big update to the Tectonica Organising Network - we’re expanding out to be more of an active community where all of you can connect, network, share, and support one another. We’ve always had a dream to build out the network component of TON and now it's happening. After consultation with the community we’ve decided the best approach was through launching the community component on Slack - exclusively for the TON members (that’s you)!

As many of you know, one of the key findings of our report on the State of Digital Organising was that progressive organisers aren’t connecting enough to learn from each other, and there’s an urgent need for us to develop digital organising best practices so that we can start winning more battles online. We’re inspired to find solutions together and to create a space for sharing.

This community is for progressives only, which we define as people who are fighting for economic, social, racial, and climate justice. We will be actively feeding the community with suggested topics for discussion, the latest news in digital organising, and more, with the goal of moving the community toward some of the existing barriers we identified above. In addition to the Slack community, we also plan to strengthen the community by complementing it with synchronous communication by way of monthly Zoom meetings where we’ll discuss topics centred around improving our digital organising work - so stay tuned for that, too.

To join our community, click on the button below!


Tectonica’s Favourite Holiday Recipes!

The winter holidays are almost here, which means it’s time to break out those sweatpants (if you aren’t already living in them) and get your feast on! We’ve gathered up our team’s favourite holiday recipes for you (we’re sure there are at least a couple on here you’ve never heard of!) -- Enjoy!

Our Year End Donations Recommendations

In a year where every aspect of our life has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, advocacy organisations have had to work around the clock to meet the increased needs of so many of our communities. The season of giving is upon us, and if you, like us, are feeling moved to show your support for their critical work, here are our recommendations for a few organisations to donate to.

Featured Digital Organising Tools


One post-election conversation that we think is an important one is around how effective political ads were and are in turning out the vote. In general, spending on political ads is up, as is the effort to search for target audiences beyond Facebook and Google due to their ad bans. We strongly believe, however, that pouring all of a campaign’s resources into political ads without complementary digital organising efforts is a losing strategy.

At Tectonica, we’re always actively looking for new ways to generate public impact for campaigns in an organic way. Tools like SpeechifAI, New/Mode, and ControlShift Labs are some of the most prominent.

In a similar vein, we’re featuring another very interesting and simple yet powerful tool: Organiz. Organiz helps organisers launch Twitter storms, making it easier and more accessible to place campaign hashtags as trending topics. What makes it special is that it allows supporters to schedule tweets for a specific pre-configured date and time. In other words, organisers can campaign for support for weeks and then release all tweets at a certain time to achieve the desired effect -- amazing!

That said, in full disclosure, we’re recommending this tool with some caution since we’re still waiting for our organiser account to be activated to begin to test it for ourselves, but we are excited about its potential and wanted to make sure you knew about it.

SpeechifAI to Combat Disinformation

We’ve featured SpeechifAI’s digital organising technology in past newsletters because we think it’s a great tool for campaigns that allows supporters to seamlessly create and share social media posts around a common theme and in their own words. Keegan Goudiss, Bernie Sanders’ 2016 Digital Advertising Director & former Managing Partner at Revolution Messaging, recently joined the SpeechifAI team as an advisor and believes that it’s a great tool for campaigns to combat disinformation, too. Read more about why he thinks it’s such a powerful tool here.

New/Mode’s Advocacy Target Database and New Integration with Blackbaud Luminate Online

New/Mode recently launched this new Advocacy Target Database which taps into multiple sources to find the most complete and accurate contact information for elected officials. This means broader and more precise data coverage, quick turnarounds for changes and updates to contact data, flexibility to add or customise local or international datasets, and more. Read more about the Advocacy Target Database here.

New/Mode also recently announced their integration with Blackbaud Luminate Online to complement their effective fundraising and campaigning solutions with New/Mode’s powerful advocacy tools. This bi-directional integration between New/Mode and Luminate Online will ensure that you have the latest data at your fingertips to reach out to your supporters. You will be able to push supporter information coming from New/Mode advocacy actions into the Luminate Online CRM and can also add unique links to emails sent from Luminate that will prefill or even automatically trigger New/Mode advocacy actions, boosting your conversion rates! Read more about the new integration here.

Featured Digital Organising Resources

7 Tips to Detox Your Data

The folks at Tactical Tech have created a toolkit detailing how our online data is used for political purposes. They share information about how political campaigns use our data to persuade us, where campaigns get information about us, what you can do to have more control about how your data is used, and much more. Download the toolkit here.

Technologies for Liberation: Toward Abolitionist Futures

Astraea and Research Action Design (RAD) created this report as a resource for funders to understand how to support the critical work of organisers working at the intersection of decriminalisation and technology. The report is based on interviews and engagement with movement technologists, organisers, researchers, and policy advocates about building a world free from surveillance and criminalisation, in particular, the Queer, Trans, Two-Spirit, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (QT2SBIPOC) communities who are disproportionately impacted by surveillance and criminalization at all levels, and to provide resources to these communities to push back.

Report: Moving More Money to the Drivers of Change

In this report, AWID and Mama Cash present the current landscape of funding for gender equality, identify practices that funders can employ to overcome constraints that often impede funders’ desires to directly resource feminist movements, and present nine case profiles of leading funding programmes that succeed in directly funding feminist movements, particularly in the Global South. Read the full report here.

Upcoming Trainings & Events

Citizens Take Over Europe, December 15 (past)/January 14 & 15, Online

Citizens Take Over Europe is organising a series of online events on the 15 December (past) & 14-15 January showcasing the vision for a dynamic, participatory and inclusive Conference on the Future of Europe. This free event brings together over 50 European civil society organisations and aims at mobilising and activating civil society, artists, creators and influencers, journalists to tell a new story about the Future of Europe and take citizen participation to a wider more diverse audience. Click here for more information on the event and fill in this form to register for the event.

TUC Digital Lab: How are unions producing their online conferences?, December 18 2 PM London, Zoom

Conferences have traditionally been an important part of unions’ ability to provide democratic governance and better network their movements. Covid-19 has forced unions to do their best to replicate these events online. Attend this TUC Digital Lab webinar featuring representatives from the National Education Union (NEU) and the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) to learn about some of the tools they used to ensure broadcast quality, online voting, and delegate experience. Sign up for the webinar here.

Unlock the power of your data with NationBuilder Insights, Recorded Webinar, Online

If you are frequently exporting your NationBuilder data into spreadsheets for analysis, this webinar is for you. In this webinar, you’ll learn about how to use automated reporting with NationBuilder insights and see example reports for email metrics, fundraising and development, tag activity, path movement, and more. Watch the webinar here.

What We're Reading

Grassroots Organizing During A Pandemic, by Jose Nunez, 1 December 2020, Medium

The words that actually persuade people on the pandemic, by Sara Fischer, 1 December 2020, Axios

How Joe Biden’s Digital Team Tamed the MAGA Internet, by Kevin Roose, 6 December 2020, the New York Times

The Hottest Campaign Ads on Twitter Didn’t Really Work: Study, by Sam Stein, 9 December 2020, The Daily Beast

Facebook will resume political ads just for Georgia’s Senate runoff election, by Nick Statt, 15 December 2020, The Verge