Digging Deep with Social Movement Technologies

Posted on May 31, 2024

The onset of the pandemic in 2020 required grassroots organizations like Bay Rising to evolve quickly to support our communities. We couldn’t knock on doors and host house meetings. We had to change our way of thinking about organizing. In a matter of weeks, Bay Rising needed to transition into connecting digitally with our communities. We forged a partnership with Social Movement Technologies to help us fill in the gaps. 

Social Movement Technologies (SMT) collaborates with campaigners and activists to build people power for justice in the digital age. It provides top-notch organizing strategy and offers additional training and campaign support. We appreciate that in addition to its work here in the United States, SMT collaborates with non-profit organizations around the world to support building digital sovereignty in Africa, Asia, and beyond.

In the past few years, our partnership with SMT has allowed us to reimagine how to train the Bay Area’s next generation of organizers.

Together, Bay Rising and SMT staff developed the curriculum for our groundbreaking digital organizing fellowship. The DOTS fellowship program placed organizers at our partner organizations and provided a series of capacity-building trainings throughout their tenure. At the close of the fellowship, four out of five of the fellows stayed on at their organization as staff. 

The staff at SMT have also helped Bay Rising partner organizations build a range of digital skills – including digital ads, storytelling, analytics, social media, and project management tools. With SMT’s guidance, staff have been empowered to think about campaigns holistically, evaluating how different elements of their campaign strategy will work together towards a larger overarching goal. 

For example, in Alameda County SMT’s partnership with Oakland Rising helped organizers reach over 15,000 voters via text banking to start conversations about the role and power of the District Attorney. The wide scope of SMT trainings offered have addressed different levels of organizing, breaking down the silos between communications and organizing staff to allow for deeper collaboration.

SMT has also provided critical assessment services. Its organizational digital assessments identified gaps in a way that allowed us to set tangible and measurable goals for each Bay Rising partner organization. For instance, SMT’s assessment of the DOTS fellowship program surfaced a need to conduct an audit and do evaluation to identify gaps that still needed to be addressed on all levels of the organization.

We are deeply grateful to our partnership with SMT and continue to offer their coaching and assessment services to our groups. If you are affiliated with Bay Rising and could benefit from their expertise, please reach out to our organizing director Jane Martin at jane@bayrising.org.

Category: Updates