Today, union software is a critical part of any labor organization's arsenal.
With the right tools on your side, your union can reach and mobilize more members, grow your visibility online, and build a stronger foundation of data to strengthen future strategies. Together, all of these benefits can help your union achieve its goals and build a stronger presence within your industry.
In 2020 and beyond, union software will be more important than ever as the economy continues grappling with the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unions are more important than ever for making workers' voices heard and fighting for meaningful change in our society, and software can empower more unions to take the strategic and organized approach necessary for creating that change.
In this guide, we'll walk through the basics of union software and explore a few top providers to consider.
Union software: the basics
Union software is any platform or digital tool designed to help labor unions efficiently handle one or more of their necessary internal and external tasks.
Tasks that are solved or simplified by union software typically include:
- Member management
- Member and volunteer recruiting
- Communication and marketing
- Mobilization, organizing, and advocacy
- Campaign research
- Data analysis
There's a wide variety of tools designed specifically for labor unions, like the ones we've listed below. It's generally a good idea to use software designed with the needs of your particular type of organization in mind, as software for for-profit businesses often don't include the same features and options you'll need.
When union-specific tools specifically aren't available, there's an expansive market of platforms designed for other mission-based organizations like nonprofits and professional associations. Advocacy software and volunteer management software for mission-based groups are great examples. Along with union-specific tools, these other platforms will typically be a better choice for your union than generic solutions for businesses.
Plus, today's unprecedented need for social distancing has made technology more important than ever for organizations that exist to unite individuals and build community. Without in-person events, labor organizations face the new challenge of engaging with members virtually, and software plays a critical role in facilitating that engagement. To learn more about overcoming these obstacles, check out our complete guide to virtual labor organizing in 2020.
Now, let's dive into some top union software providers for your team to explore.
Essential union software: Mobilize
Mobilize is the leading platform for mission-based organizations like labor unions to handle recruitment, management, communication, and follow-up with members and volunteers. As an all-in-one platform, Mobilize helps unions cover all the essentials without needing to invest in a wide range of other solutions.
Our goal is to connect organizations like unions, nonprofits, advocacy groups, and political campaigns with passionate supporters to drive their missions forward and stay engaged in the long run. Building new connections and mobilizing support for causes that matter drives everything we do.
Union software features
The Mobilize platform includes everything your union needs to get up and running with professional-grade tools quickly. The top features include:
- Intuitive tools for creating in-person and virtual events and volunteer opportunities
- Access to the rapidly growing network of Mobilize volunteers — over 2.5 million individuals looking for their next cause to support
- Robust data reporting features, member and volunteer management tools, and integrations with other leading mission-based software providers
- Automated communication tools like pre-event messages and post-event surveys
- Peer-to-peer recruitment features for members to invite their friends and colleagues to join your cause
- Event creation permissions for your most dedicated volunteers to launch their own local and virtual events
The Mobilize impact
Since 2018, we've connected over 2 million supporters with the organizations and missions that matter to them, facilitating more than 5 million actions in the process.
The combination of our ready-made network of passionate volunteers and advocates with our complete set of recruitment, management, and communication features has been a game-changer for organizations of all sizes. Mobilize users have:
- Reduced event no-shows by up to 30% with automated pre-event messaging.
- Doubled their online signup rates for events and virtual opportunities.
- Received invaluable qualitative feedback from up to 32% of supporters with post-event surveys.
- Saved 5-10 hours of work weekly per internal staff member by streamlining recruitment and communication.
We're especially proud of our work to help drive results for unions like the National Education Association and multiple chapters of the Service Employees International Union.
From recruitment to engagement to retention in the long run, Mobilize's union software offers everything you need to keep pushing your mission forward and build stronger connections with members.
Getting started with Mobilize
It's free to get started with all of our core recruitment and management features, perfect for growing organizations. Or to see the complete toolkit in action, request a custom demo from our team.
Check out our Get Started page to learn more about setting your union up for success with our industry-leading platform.
Other top platforms and tools for unions
These additional tools for unions each provide support in a specific area of internal or external operations. Here are our top picks:
BallotPoint: Best union software for elections
BallotPoint Election Services is the leader in online, telephone, and mail-in elections for unions and associations. Their services include support for representation elections, contract voting, strike authorization votes, steward elections, and convention voting. Plus, they offer a variety of voting methods, including electronic voting, traditional paper or mail-in ballots, and hybrid solutions that can be customized to meet your union's needs. Robust security features at all stages of the election process ensure complete safety and privacy.
Why it stands out
BallotPoint has been a trusted provider of election support for unions for over 20 years. As an employee-owned company, BallotPoint takes pride in their complete ownership of their system and their impressive track record of providing effective, secure solutions for unions. Their tech and logistical know-how, coupled with their proven and LMRDA-compliant methodology, makes BallotPoint the right choice for any union election.
Explore BallotPoint's website for a complete rundown of their features and services.
Political Data, Inc.: Best union software for political data
Political Data, Inc. is a data and software provider that's specialized in supplying mission-based organizations (like unions, political campaigns, and advocacy groups) with the insights they need to reach and mobilize supporters. With a comprehensive set of United States voter data and election results, their resources and solutions can help you steer your union's outreach and advocacy efforts toward success. Plus, their Campaign Center dashboards and compliance reporting features make it easy to keep your efforts organized and compliant from start to finish.
Why it stands out
Working with large amounts of data is logistically challenging, no matter the type or size of organization using it. Databases and solutions like those from Political Data, Inc. provide the invaluable benefit of centralizing your data and analysis efforts. Their dashboards and integrations with leading platforms like Mobilize simplify the work needed to generate, sort, and use political data in your union's strategies.
Explore Political Data, Inc.'s website to learn more about their database and software solutions.
Wild Apricot by Personify: Best union software for member management
Wild Apricot by Personify is a well-known platform that helps organizations of all sizes better manage, engage, and retain their members. With a complete set of features for processing and tracking applications, automating membership renewals, and creating intuitive directories and members-only pages, the Wild Apricot toolkit can drastically streamline your union's management tasks. Plus, as an online platform, your member database is easily accessible by your team from anywhere. This is especially important amid the rise of remote work as the new norm for many organizations.
Why it stands out
The core database features of the Wild Apricot platform are its most valuable asset for unions. As a dedicated and central location to manage and track members, this solution can help growing unions escape from the logistical challenges of cobbled-together spreadsheet solutions. Plus, Wild Apricot is among the most affordable database and management platforms for membership organizations, with a range of tiered options that suit unions of any size.
Explore Wild Apricot's site to learn more about their membership management tools.
Hustle: Best union software for member communication
Hustle is a leading provider of communication tools for mission-based organizations and businesses alike, especially when it comes to peer-to-peer texting. This tactic allows your union to quickly spread the word about new actions, updates, and initiatives to your entire membership without the need for lengthy manual work for your team. Hustle's communication tools for unions include everything you'll need to develop a texting campaign, create scripts, mobilize your team, and track the results.
Why it stands out
Hustle provides support for one of the most effective communication outlets you can leverage: text messages. Hustle has found that over 95% of texts sent through their platform are read within 3 minutes. That's a huge boost in engagement over other methods like emails and newsletters. Plus, using Hustle alongside Mobilize streamlines the process of incorporating your volunteers into the peer-to-peer texting process. To see both platforms in action, check out our joint webinar on managing text bank volunteers.
Explore Hustle's website to learn more about their powerful communication software.
Boardable: Best union software for board management
Boardable is a management platform that's designed specifically to help mission-based organizations empower their board members with more intuitive and engaging tools. Their solution for trade associations is a natural fit for larger unions whose leaders need more streamlined and centralized ways to get work done. With a comprehensive set of communication, collaboration, and project management tools, Boardable can empower your union to streamline operations and drive action from the top.
Why it stands out
Many union teams are already accustomed to collaborating remotely, and today's need for social distancing has brought this trend to the sector at large. Boardable's complete mobile accessibility via a dedicated mobile app makes it a strong choice for union boards that are working together from a distance. This ease of access in addition to the platform's complete set of management and communication tools makes it a strong choice for unions looking for new ways to boost productivity.
Explore Boardable's website for a full rundown of the platform's features.
Google Civic: Best union tools for custom web projects
The Google Civic Information API is a free resource for developers as part of the Voting Information Project. This API allows developers at mission-based organizations like unions, nonprofits, and advocacy groups to build applications that leverage official political representation and voting location info. By matching a user's location with their associated political information, this tool makes it easy to create seamless web applications for advocacy projects, petitions, and get-out-the-vote initiatives.
Why it stands out
The Google Civic API is an invaluable resource for tech-savvy unions looking to mobilize members toward political action. Automatically pulling the correct representatives and direct links to their email and social media profiles at any level of government dramatically simplifies the next steps for your supporters. If your union has the technical capabilities or support to develop custom applications and widgets for your site, the Google Civic API should be part of your arsenal.
Explore Google's explainer of the Civic Information API to learn more about this resource.
Wrapping up: why labor union software matters
The need for active and robust labor representation is more pressing than ever. With the combined effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact, labor unions have a critical role to play in voicing workers' concerns and advocating for progress. From healthcare workers demanding safer personal protective equipment to service industry workers fighting for a living wage in a tough economic climate, there's a lot of work to be done.
The nonprofit sector has already largely discovered the value of using dedicated software designed specifically for mission-based organizations, and labor unions must follow suit.
Tools for unions to help with recruitment, mobilization, management, communication, and data analysis can provide major benefits to your internal and public-facing tasks. Working with platforms like Mobilize that cover multiple engagement and management essentials can help your union take a more strategic approach to your efforts and provide members with intuitive experiences that keep them engaged in the long run.
And with social distancing guidelines causing unprecedented disruptions in all organizations' day-to-day operations, technology can serve a crucial role in keeping your leaders and members connected no matter what comes our way. Remember, virtual organizing isn't just a new necessity, it's likely to become a major trend for unions of all sizes.
To learn more about mobilizing supporters and using software for mission-based organizations, keep exploring with these resources:
- Volunteer management: Complete guide for growing orgs. Volunteers likely play a major role in driving your union's projects forward. Review the essentials of volunteer management to keep them engaged and excited.
- Advocacy software: 10+ top providers for 2020 and beyond. We've rounded up our top picks to help organizations better plan, manage, and conduct advocacy campaigns while pushing for meaningful change.
- Volunteer recognition ideas: 50 ways to show appreciation. Recognizing the contributions of your members and volunteers is essential for strengthening your union's ties. These are our favorite ways to show your appreciation.