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Government
Case Study

How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivered 4,000+ boxes of food to people in need using Mobilize

At the beginning of COVID-19, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used Mobilize to support her community, here’s how.
Photo credit:
Ståle Grut

19,500

volunteers recruited

39,000

face masks donated

20%

more shifts from Mobilize network
About the organization

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez serves as the U.S. Representative for New York's 14th congressional district. Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman to ever serve in the United States Congress, taking office at age 29.

Organization type

Political campaign

Website

ocasiocortez.com

The challenge

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (AOC) district was one of hardest hit at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 posed many problems in her district, including lack of access to health resources, housing and rent issues, and the logistics of an upcoming election. Underlying issues were exacerbated by the new normal ushered in by the age of COVID-19.

As her team planned to address these issues, they were completely blocked from doing any in-person planning, outreach, or community assistance. Like many other organizations, they were rapidly forced to go completely digital in their efforts to aid their community during a trying and dangerous time.

Hosting 94 events in 4 months on Mobilize

A large portion of AOC’s team is from the community, so they personally experienced and witnessed the hardships and struggles of the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis. This led them to use Mobilize for new purposes unrelated to their campaign: providing their constituents with necessary resources.

Using the Mobilize network, the AOC team organized 78 multi-shifted events in four months (more than half of which were phone banks). They advocated for public housing and expanded the services typically provided by food banks, which often offer unhealthy foods and too-small portion sizes for the average family. Their virtual phone banks checked on seniors and vulnerable communities. To empower others to help, they hosted mutual aid workshops which gave constituents the tools to help each other, building solidarity.

All of these relief efforts were completely bipartisan and apolitical, something unusual for a political campaign just months before a primary election. Politics were placed aside for the benefit of the community and the constituents AOC serves.

Receiving support from all 50 states

Their Mobilize feed became their central destination for organizing. They tested numerous ways of organizing events on their feed, ultimately finding that events listed by time slot (instead of day of the week) boosted their conversion rate. Overall, 15% of visitors to their feed signed up for a shift.

By sharing a link to their feed across social media, ads, and email they recruited nearly 19,500 volunteers (from all 50 states!) in just four months. Cumulatively, these volunteers performed over 34,200 shifts, with many individuals returning time and again (one volunteer performed over 130 shifts alone!). From Mobilize’s automated event suggestions and bring-a-friend prompts led to 20% more shifts for the AOC team.

The AOC team also used Mobilize Messaging to keep supporters updated, sending 63 emails during this time. All of their supporter data was kept intact through the VAN integration, saving the AOC team hours every week.

Success!

Despite the challenges of Spring 2020, AOC’s efforts supported her community and allowed them to make it through the first stages of COVID-19. Her phone banks and fundraising empowered her team to deliver 4,000 bags of food to families in need and give away 39,000 free face masks. She also was able to connect workers in her area to valuable mutual aid funds and resources.

Also, even after suspending much of her campaign to focus on addressing COVID-19, AOC still won her primary in New York!

What’s next for AOC?

After winning her primary election, AOC hopes to continue her efforts to educate and register voters and encourage her district to fill out the census. She represents a heavily immigrant community, so her work with the census will ensure that undocumented communities are represented. AOC is also working to pass out more free personal protective equipment to communities who need it.