Persist Brooklyn is a grassroots organization that came out of the Elizabeth Warren campaign. Learn more from their steering committee and the success team at Mobilize about how to spark your own grassroots movement post-election. Interested in using Mobilize for your movement? Sign up for a starter account or a demo here.
Persist Brooklyn is able to better empower their volunteers by encouraging them to harness their own personal“superpowers” for the greater good. Persist seeks out and invests in each individual’s potential, enabling them to move beyond the traditional roles of text and phone bankers and into more creative positions that utilize their unique skills. Empowering volunteers encourages them to return and give more to the organization.
When volunteers demonstrated skills in graphic design and crafting social media, they were better able to support the organization through these platforms. Graphic designers also created Christmas tree ornaments and postcards to support Georgia Senate elections, raising money for the races in a creative and unexpected way.
“Every single person has a superpower and empowering your volunteers is going to make them come back.” - Kit Rosen
Routine and dependability
Before the pandemic, Persist hosted weekly happy hours to gather and support local Brooklyn establishments. When events moved online, they continued this tradition with group Zoom calls. The routine, dependability, and frequency of these calls made it easier for folks to come back regularly.
The organizers also had a lot of understanding and patience when volunteers stopped attending events. Rather than sending mass emails, community leaders found the time to reach out personally to volunteers who had missed events. They also approached volunteers by asking if everything was okay and offering support instead of pushing them to return.
“We’re not just working towards a common cause. We’re also building a community.” - Persist Brooklyn
Persist is run by a steering committee, not a hierarchical structure. All decision-making is very public to all members, guaranteeing that everyone has a say. This is done through Slack and other essential communication channels. The decentralization also gives everyone the opportunity to take on their own roles by committee, preventing any individual from taking on too much work alone.
Encouraging members to get more involved
Everyone involved in Persist started off as a volunteer or organizer themselves, but there are many opportunities for volunteers that want to get more involved. Volunteers can plan and host their own events such as reading groups, study groups, and social get-togethers.
Volunteers are also invited to join the different Persist committees and can take on more roles depending on how involved they would like to be.
Hosting creative events
Persist has a reputation for hosting unique and special social events. For example, Persist Prom came together very organically. Volunteers were invited to join the Zoom call, get dressed up, and dance together. Other social events have included Persist Pride, an in-person 5k that took place after the election, and happy hours!
Their study groups have also encouraged members to get more educated about different social and political topics. Attendees are sent reading materials or videos ahead of time before coming together on the call to discuss and explore what they have learned. By reaching out to volunteers, organizers were able to learn more about what was successful and how to encourage more folks to attend.
20% of Mobilize attendees were brought through bring-a-friend asks—that’s nearly 1 million volunteers on the platform! Attendees around the country were also able to hear about Persist because of the network effect that exists on Mobilize. Volunteers from various organizations were able to find Persist events on their Mobilize feeds. Mobilize also made it easier for Persist to keep track of who was attending their events and then add them to their newsletters, email lists, and other communication tools.
In order to organize as a group, communicate with volunteers, and host successful events, Persist uses a diverse toolset that integrates nicely into the work that they do. Some of these tools include:
- Mail chimp: newsletters and other communication
- Air table: organizing future social media posts
- Slack: communication and decision-making
- Mobilize: hosting events, recruiting volunteers, and collecting volunteer information
- QR Code generator: made it easier to put up posters and encourage recruits to get involved
- Zoom: hosting events virtually
- Gimp: creating graphics or editing photos