The political campaign field for the EU 2024 Elections demands new strategies, especially from progressives who face a daunting challenge from right-wing competitors in many major European countries.
Progressive parties in Europe have recently added pressure in the face of local losses to the far right in various European countries. However, this situation also presents an opportunity to mobilize voters in response to these outcomes and channel their energy towards digital organizing. It is therefore crucial as we gear up for the 2024 elections to have digital organizational strategies in place so that we can be ready for the crucial moments ahead.
Ari Rabin-Havt is well-versed in trying out new strategies for campaigns. Former deputy campaign manager for Bernie Sanders during the 2020 presidential campaign, Ari got his start on the digital teams for candidates in the 2004 US campaigns, working at MoveOn, the first big digital action network in the US which was enlisted by John Kerry during his run for president.
The ECDA invited Ari to Brussels to speak to a group of progressives, to bring both inspiration and practical strategies to implement in the run-up to the EU elections.
Key takeaways from Ari:
The left needs to unite: the right wing has been working internationally and the left needs to follow suit, engaging supporters across like-minded political parties and borders to be in sync. Ari says, “Whether you talk about climate or AI in Europe and in the US, we need to work together on that. You have to engage and mobilize your supporters, that is one of the most important things to win”.
Build those (email) lists: it’s incredibly important to create the lists and then use them as your most valuable resource to be able to tell people how they can participate. Lists consist of subscribers to your page or cause, donors, volunteers, anywhere you are collecting names. Those who sign up are asking you to tell them personally how they can play a role in the success of a movement or campaign.
Use email to get your message across: Once you have your lists, build your email capabilities to create effective communication that leads to action. The most effective and powerful digital organizing tool is email! Ari says, “What makes digital organizing so special? There’s no other medium that lets you have direct conversation with your supporter, in a direct fashion, to tell them the things they want to know”. Candidates and campaigns can use email to tell each individual on their list how important they are, and what they can do to help enact real change.
Small donors are fundamental: giving people the opportunity to donate, even a small amount, is allowing them to be a part of the campaign. A candidate or organization that is able to collect and connect with small donors shows that they are working with those donors, for those donors, and not for “big money”. Small donor fundraising is the core of a successful campaign, and gives everyday people a way to be a part of a campaign.
Money is not about money: harnessing the power of small donors is not just about campaign financing, but allowing people to participate in the moment. “Money is about showing that you are a part of something. Even in small ways [money] creates an emotional bond to the campaign. It’s not money for money’s sake, it’s about being part of something bigger”. Most people cannot donate time, a precious resource, and money is a way for them to get involved.
GDPR is Europe’s secret weapon: what some may view as a restriction is actually an advantage here in Europe. Online supporters in Europe are automatically of a higher caliber than those in the US because they voluntarily sign up to your list. “When you build an online movement, your supporters are yours…you get to keep them. You have people who sign up to your list and that means that they fundamentally support your campaign”.
Sign up for our newsletter on this link and stay up-to-date on events and resources in digital organizing for progressive organizations.