As a Minnesotan, I’ve loved the biennial gatherings in school cafeterias, worksites, and church basements for our state caucuses. These events connect our state party (the DFL) to our communities and our needs and have played a key role in electing progressive champions. Neighbors choose who attends conventions to endorse candidates, who sits on the rules committees to make that convention successful, and who will create a shared platform of what we care about and want to accomplish. Through the caucuses, the party gets built from the ground up.
This past Tuesday, thousands of Democratic Farmer-Laborites got together with their neighbors across more than 400 different caucus locations to discuss the future of the party and the state. And more than 300 volunteers used our organizing toolset, Action Builder, to make the process go smoothly at their caucus locations.
We started back in April 2019, when the DFL reached out to us to solve a problem: hundreds of volunteer hours are spent every two years entering data from paper sign-in sheets. Logging caucus attendees quickly, without having to rifle through paper or do data entry after caucus night, would mean more energy spent winning elections and less time spent huddled over a laptop.
To meet this challenge, we worked closely with the DFL team to create a new Action Builder feature, Quick Check In, that would speed up the registration process. And we did it in a way that would work well for all of our labor and community partners. After all, caucuses are really organizing moments, building a roster of future party volunteers and leaders. When we launched Quick Check In in December, it was immediately picked up by labor organizers across the country, especially for worksite organizing.
Caucuses are really organizing moments, building a roster of future party volunteers and leaders.
And that’s the power of our cooperative model. We believe brilliant tech solutions that make organizing (offline or online) easier can come from many places. Instead of building one-off tools that solve only one need, one time, we believe our movement should work together cooperatively, building features that meet real immediate needs while benefiting the movement as a whole.
Quick Check In is yet another example of respecting the processes and tactics that have worked for years (the sign-in table!) and using intuitive mobile tech to make the workflow just a bit smoother, faster and easier.
In my new role of Director of Cooperative Development for both the Action Builder and Action Network toolsets, I want to hear from you. What great idea do you have that could improve our tools, or what needs do you have that tech should solve? Reach out!
Getting together with your neighbors and sharing your beliefs will always take time, and so does cooperative development, but that’s how relationships are formed and power is built. We’re proud to have been a part of the DFL caucuses’ success, and we’re excited for everything all our partners will do in 2020 and beyond.
Want to learn more about Action Builder? Attend a demo to learn more about our toolset built by and for organizers. Sign up here.
Building Caucus Tech, Cooperatively was originally published in Powering Progressive Movements on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.