Does this bring in money or votes? Newsletter 18
Hey y’all! Welcome to the next edition of “Does this bring money or votes?” -- we’re Jess Porter, the DNC’s Deputy Email Director and SMS Program Manager, and Sam Aleman, a Digital Organizer at the DNC. We are here to tell you how we mobilized voters, recruited volunteers, and continued to shatter fundraising records using our broadcast SMS list -- and, more importantly, how it worked. So, prepare for takeoff.
Building the plane 🧑✈️
Our broadcast SMS program saw explosive growth in this election cycle -- much of which resulted from collaborations with the Biden for President and Democratic National Convention teams. From July to November alone, our list nearly quadrupled in size, more importantly, our subscriber base in battleground states grew by 520%. Mobilizing our subscribers in battlegrounds, in particular, was more important than ever to win back the White House and seats across the country.
We knew two things for certain:
1) This election cycle would heavily rely on digital communication;
2) There would be a lot of competition when it came to mobilizing folks online.
We wanted to mimic as closely as possible the experience our subscribers would have if they spoke to local field organizers in person, got invitations from a campaign to attend volunteer events, or even just had their door knocked on at home. The challenge being: We had to do it all directly on their phones in under 160 characters.
Flying the plane 🛫
We worked closely with the DNC’s Tech, Voter Protection, and Design teams to make our messages as personal and applicable as possible. From September 28 through November 3, we sent over 100 organizing broadcasts. Topics ranged from voter education to organizing opportunities to reminders to vote. Some of our favorites came about with the weirdness of the election, like these multimedia messages we sent to Pennsylvania and South Carolina about critical voting updates:
On top of sending broadcast messages, we set up opt-in paths as unique ways to get information to voters. Folks could text VOTE to 43367 for ballot drop-off locations as well as early voting and Election Day voting places and hours. We also set up ACCESS to 43367, which shared curbside voting information and guided subscribers to the textable hotline. This all helped provide our supporters with vital voting information in the most straightforward way possible.
Landing the plane 🛬
In the run-up to Election Day, we used the voter file to identify subscribers who already voted. Instead of sending them further voting updates, we asked them to volunteer, make sure their friends and family voted , and even sent them a virtual "I Voted" sticker. We also set up opt-in paths powered by data from our Voter Protection team to make sure that the folks who hadn’t voted yet could get access to the info they were looking for as quickly as possible.
A quick note on fundraising
Even while all of this wonderful organizing content was being sent -- it made up about 40% of the texts our subscribers received in October -- the DNC still had our best month of broadcast SMS fundraising ever. But it’s not rocket science, y’all! It’s just common sense. Voters are donors. Donors are also donors. So, we’ll leave you with this:
We still have a ton of great folks between the BFP digital and DNC mobilization teams looking for the ~next thing~. Check them out!
🧵Thread we think you should read (and retweet) 🧵
Thanks for reading about the importance of organizing and fundraising alongside our grassroots supporters wherever they may be -- and for being in this fight. Stay tuned for even more from our organizing and fundraising teams! It’s been an honor to have you aboard.
Until next time,
Jessica & Sam