Last week Mobilize celebrated 3 million supporters turning their passion into action. We sat down with Valentine Ollawa, Director of Client Success, to discuss how they’ve helped organizers and volunteers take action this cycle.
Congratulations on crossing 3 million supporters on Mobilize!
Thank you! It’s a huge accomplishment for us as a company – especially knowing that we started 2020 with less than half of that. We have seen a huge lift in mobilization by campaigns and organizations, plus a huge uptick in volunteers wanting to get involved and drive action this cycle. We are thrilled to have provided a platform for this energy.
Mobilize has been the ubiquitous platform for events and volunteer recruitment since 2018. Since then, you have introduced numerous new functionalities. What are some you are most excited about?
One of the key areas we focused on and want to continue to invest in is maximizing volunteers’ network effect and helping organizations build upon it. We wanted to solve the problem of helping organizations and campaigns identify super volunteers in their community who want to host events on their behalf, and the distributed organizing feature enables them to do just that. Now that volunteers are hosting events, campaigns and organizations are hosting 5x more events using Mobilize.
We’ve also expanded functionalities like online actions and petitions. This gives an organization the ability to not only drive supporters to action by writing postcards and sending emails but to drive action in electoral races through petitions.
Since Mobilize’s launch, every innovation has strived to make volunteering more engaging and the platform more useful for Field Organizers. These past few quarters, the team has continued to listen closely to organizers and partners to understand their key challenges in making their work more effective. Can you talk about some of the internal communication tools you’ve introduced for Field Organizers?
One thing we have continued to work on is giving organizers the tools they need to curate their own events and to push other actions they want to support. This feature enables organizers to cross-promote partner organizations’ events, which drives their volunteers to take more action and become further engaged. We are seeing this a lot on a week-by-week basis.
We’ve also ramped up a lot of communication mechanisms available to organizers, like increased notifications and confirmation email templates. We recently released a SMS notification system that goes out 30 minutes before an event to remind participants to attend. These notifications help volunteers remember their commitments and help organizers reduce no-shows.
Along with providing internal communications tools for organizations, Mobilize also gives volunteers tools for peer-to-peer outreach and options to share on social channels. How does Mobilize encourage use of these tools, which have become standard — and critical — for Organizers this cycle?
We have numerous features that promote peer-to-peer organizing on the volunteer side and we also have network channels on the organizer side. When a volunteer signs up, they can choose to invite a friend to join them. About 20% of volunteers who sign-up for an event leverage this “bring-a-friend” functionality, which increases our number of volunteers and their level of engagement. This process is automated for organizers by being included in all platform outreach and emails.
Social sharing has also become much easier and is quite standard on most platforms. Mobilize distinguishes itself by giving users the ability to drive and capture donations as part of another key way volunteers can become more invested and spread action within their network.
Our platform also allows volunteers to sign-up for multiple events in one visit to the site, further encouraging the broad network effect we are so focused on.
What are the frameworks you think about when developing new features?
We’re always thinking about how we can leverage more supporters to maintain engagement over time. The average volunteer on Mobilize has participated in at least two actions. We think about how we can drive evergreen and ongoing actions that mobilize volunteers to continue to take action from home and get people out to vote. We recently released our GOTV functionality for state parties and organizations to help drive their efforts and initiatives forward.
Heading into the final part of the election, our main focus is to support all organizations at optimal levels and drive high numbers of volunteer shift assignments. We ramped up functionality and support for Organizers, such as increasing push notifications for shift sign-ups.
Mobilize connects over 1000 mission-driven organizations with a network of over 3 million volunteers ready to take action. Have you observed any new trends in the ways volunteers are mobilizing and engaging this cycle?
There’s a lot of cross-geographic outreach in volunteer mobilization and organizing. Organizers are tapping into their volunteers to drive changes and actions outside their home states, and we’re seeing more organizers coordinating phonebanks for candidates in different cities across the nation.
There’s also a lot more cross-community outreach. We’re seeing more volunteers invest their time in helping organizations that they care most about – even if they are not specifically a part of that workforce. For example, organizations like the American Federation of Teachers are attracting volunteers that care about teachers and the issues important to teachers and the AFT, even though they are not educators themselves.
Keep up on all things Mobilize by following them on Twitter and check out their website to take action as a volunteer or join them as an organization. You can also check out their Do It For RBG page on how to take action today.