We start with a facilitated conversation with the right people -- staff, volunteers, members.
Together, we create goals for your email strategy and a plan to achieve those goals based on your unique strengths, capacity, and values.
We also set up consistent times when we can check in on progress.
For the first 3 months, that plan usually focuses on an email funnel I create with support from staff, like a weekly email, or any coaching or training needed. Depending on their goals, the group sometimes gets additional coaching or ‘how to’ materials. Then we re-evaluate -- are we on track to meet our narrative goals? Either way, how can we better use our strengths in order to do so? Based on the evaluation, we create another plan, with or without my continued involvement.
We’ve used this process to build:
A email fundraising plan for Means TV, "the Leftist Netflix".
Trainings, coaching templates, and a strategy worksheet for The Center for Story Based Strategy and the Radical Communicators Network that’s been downloaded by thousands of people and used by 70+ groups.
A collaborative narrative strategy for an affordable housing campaign that tripled their mainstream press coverage and their volunteer capacity.
A system that helped a local electoral group reach over 10,000 new people during the 2019 Chicago aldermanic elections.
The groups that really thrive when working with us have a few things in common:
A clear vision for their organizing strategy (from #s to leadership development), who aren’t sure how to integrate narrative into that vision.
Open to collaborative messaging and coaching/training for staff and members.
Groups who are interested in or have an established grassroots or member based fundraising program.
Groups able to pay $1000-2000 for the initial session and deliverables, invest 5 hours of organization time for our first month working together to see if we’re a good fit, and who can work with 3 month contracts.
A weird one: someone in the organization describes themselves as deeply skeptical of PR or "storytelling". They actively hate the word "messaging", or are angry about the ways they’ve seen people use PR to exploit, or misrepresent their goals. That skepticism usually sets them up for building narrative goals that really, really align with their vision.
What is your communications library?
Our email strategy is based on 6 years of complicated high stakes campaigns.
We created a lot of trainings, worksheets, and writing over those 6 years, all designed with community organizers, electoral campaigners, and member based grassroots organizations, in mind.
Why email? How come you don't offer other services?
For most groups, email is a high leverage, low effort mediums where they can focus on:
Authenticity: Only saying what you believe.
Consistency: Pick one thing and do it regularly for as long as you can. Do fewer things in order to make sure this happens.
Capacity: Use your communications work as a way to grow as an organizer, strategist, and teacher, and to build internal information sharing. Don’t do things that don’t move your campaign forward.
A strong email strategy is also a system for bridging ‘information gaps’ in organizing: a way to make sure the right people know what they need to know in order to make decisions.
Who Are You?
Most of what I know about digital tactics is from working as a trainer and campaigner at Social Movement Technologies, a formidable resource for digital and narrative organizing strategy.
Most of what I know about consensus decision making is from doing communications for ONE Northside, particularly around their affordable housing campaigns.
Most of what I know about how embarrassing my press releases used to be is from City Bureau’s reporting fellowship.
Examples, conversations, and case studies in these trainings come from previous and current groups I’ve worked with, including The Center for Story Based Strategy, Means TV, Lift the Ban on Rent Control, ONE People’s Campaign, The Marsha P Johnson Institute, and GetEQUAL.
"FWD: Soapbox helped me ground my approach to communications in a practical, intuitive way. They challenged me to think 'inside the box' -- about the tools and resources I already have."
"FWD: Soapbox creates a very rare kind of storytelling strategy: one with power in mind."