Our mission at Action Squared (the organization behind Action Network & Action Builder) is to build progressive power, which we do by supporting you, our partners, on the front lines of our movement. We build digital mobilization and organizing tools that work reliably to help you do the crucial work of building community and caring for one another when it matters most.
We had hoped to announce our partnership with the DNC under much different circumstances, but now, facing an unprecedented crisis that has forced us all to move our organizing from in-person to digital, our partnership to build robust, safe, and trusted technology for the movement is more important than ever.
As COVID-19 affects our collective communities and changes the world around us by the hour, we are working to be as responsive as possible to the needs of you, our partners, and your communities. For months now, in partnership with the DNC and through our non-profit, cooperative development model, we’ve been doubling down on our efforts to make sure the Action Network toolset can be there every moment to get your communications in people’s inboxes quickly and effectively.
Here’s some of what we’ve done so far:
- Built up our digital mobilization infrastructure to more than double email send speeds and to make our systems more robust in anticipation of election year activity.
- Worked to meet the needs of state parties and Democratic campaigns of all sizes, with an immediate focus on making robust email fundraising programs more accessible to campaigns up and down the ballot.
- Bolstered our cooperative, nonprofit model to ensure that we are building and sustaining powerful tools that remain reliably progressive now and into the future.
Recently, Brian Young, Executive Director of Action Network, and Patrick Stevenson, Chief Mobilization Officer for the DNC, discussed how Action Network and the DNC will work through this partnership to build the best tools to power the progressive movement for years to come:
Brian Young, Executive Director, Action Network:
When we started Action Network, we were trying to solve two big challenges: how do you build the best tools possible for the movement, and how do you do it in a way that keeps that technology focused on the movement long-term? I had spent years working with all of the various toolsets and running campaigns on big email lists and really thought there had to be a better way. And, as we started to build our tools and organization, we realized that the solutions to these two challenges are actually complementary — by ensuring tools are built by and for the movement, we also ensure that they are sustainable and progressive long-term.
“We don’t have investors looking for an exit strategy buyout or a 10x return; we just have our partners trying to run great campaigns and make tools that work for all of us.”
With the AFL-CIO as our key first partner, we set up a unique cooperative development model, where we partner directly with major progressive institutions to build technology, working directly with the people using our tools. In the software world they talk about user-driven design or codesign, and we believe we have the best illustration of that in the progressive space. All of our tools are 100% owned by our non-profit, ensuring that our incentives are aligned with the movement’s needs over the long haul. We don’t have investors looking for an exit strategy buyout or a 10x return; we just have our partners trying to run great campaigns and make tools that work for all of us.
We were excited to bring the DNC on as partners, believing that creating the strongest and most robust infrastructure for the 2020 election was crucial. The growing needs related to the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak make this all the more urgent.
Patrick Stevenson, Chief Mobilization Officer, DNC:
Progressive organizations large and small rely on grassroots supporters to organize and raise money — but there is a resource and knowledge gap that prevents many down-ballot campaigns from running the robust email fundraising and organizing programs they need to win. Action Network is one of the most accessible tools for organizations of all sizes, and we’re proud to invest in their continued growth and development — and because Action Network is owned by a nonprofit, we know that these tools will be there for campaigns and state parties for years to come.
“We switched our entire program to Action Network at the beginning of December and are wrapping up our best online fundraising Q1 in a decade, money that we will desperately need in the months to come as we react to this crisis.”
The results have already been there. We switched our entire program to Action Network at the beginning of December and are wrapping up our best online fundraising Q1 in a decade, money that we will desperately need in the months to come as we react to this crisis. We believe in this partnership model not simply because of ideology but because it produces great, powerful tools that do the work. It’s a model that focuses on the performance of every technical detail, that values performance over bells and whistles that look good in demos but don’t work well in practice.
We’re focused on making these tools the best they can be for Democrats far into the future — tools that are powerful, safe, and trusted by campaigns up and down the ballot.