It all started years ago with a series of dinner parties in San Francisco.
Peter Martinazzi, our Mobilize Senior Product Manager, often hosted friends over for food and fun. To solve for any last minute, open-ended logistical concerns, he created group chat threads to help his guests connect and plan while he was away from his phone preparing. This communication tool allowed guests to mix, mingle, and help each other through logistical concerns prior to the event—even if the dinner guests previously didn’t know each other.
Much to Peter’s surprise, the group chat transformed into a community where messages and photos were shared—even long after the event! Now at Mobilize, Peter has watched millions of supporters and volunteers similarly come together on the platform. It was clear that we needed to help facilitate that same type of community for our partners.
The goal of our new group chat feature is to allow open-ended logistical concerns to be addressed in a timely and convenient manner by providing you and your supporters with the space to build a blossoming community. Mobilize may help bring supporters to your cause, but it is the community that they find within our group chat feature that makes them stay.
What is group chat?
As part of our ongoing effort of fostering community around important issues, our new group chat feature allows attendees and organizers to message each other via email, beginning 48 hours before the event. Attendees can only see each other’s first names and last initials, and email addresses are anonymized. This feature can be turned on/off on a per-event basis.
So, why do people use it?
Through our beta testing, we have already observed our organizers use the group chat feature to:
- Connect: For example, we saw volunteers send requests to connect elsewhere and to mobilize beyond individual events)
- Collaborate: When faced with technological issues, volunteers were able to work together to overcome them without compromising the success of the event
- Correct: Volunteers with outdated event information received accurate information from other volunteers
We also observed that messages were shared in 50% of volunteer shifts with access to group chat. About a third of those threads even continued the conversation after the event! We are seeing participants build community, share logistics and strategies, and take action. People are coming for the cause—and staying for the people.
This is community. This is what we call smart organizing.