BootCamp goes global!

Digital BootCamp is now more than just an American training experience – it’s happening across the globe. Next month, two of our sister organizations – Australia’s OrganiseUS and Campaign Bootcamp in the UK – will be hosting their own Digital BootCamps.

OrganiseUS will host their inaugural Digital Intensive training from October 5th through 9th in Melbourne, Australia. OrganiseUS founder Tabatha Fulker is a proud NOI BootCamp Alum who left BootCamp like many others: determined to train her community on the best practices of digital organizing. And now she’s doing just that!

Also in October, Campaign Bootcamp in the U.K. will be holding their 4th Bootcamp. Founded by six campaigners who saw the need for more progressive digital trainings in Europe, Campaign Bootcamp is now providing trainings both in the U.K. and in Germany. In fact, they are doing one in Germany right now!

Want to help spread progressive organizing around the world this October? Join their Bootcamp seed lists!

As a seed list member, you’ll provide feedback to trainees as they go through Bootcamps internationally, just like we do when we host BootCamp in the U.S.

Join Australia’s OrganiseUS Digital Intensive seed list

Join the U.K.’s Campaign Bootcamp’s seed list

On behalf of the teams at NOI, OrganiseUS, and Campaign Bootcamp, thank you for sharing your expertise with campaigners all over the world!

RHIMES TIMES: Democrats in Disarray as Allegations Surface

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DISTRICT OF RHIMES: As the Democratic Mayoral campaign heats up in the District of Rhimes, the Rhimes Times has learned of disturbing allegations against all candidates for the seat.

Frontrunner Callie Torres was photographed entering a Koch Brothers retreat on the future of education. A spokesperson for the American Federation of Teachers questioned Torres’ attendance, noting the Koch Brothers agenda to promote charter schools at the expense of funding for public education. A source close to Governor Walker of Wisconsin also claims Torres recently met with the conservative governor, to request his endorsement.

Meanwhile, Torres’ close friend Miranda Bailey, is in hot water with environmentalists who protested outside her campaign rally late yesterday afternoon. The protest, in response to recent campaign finance reports, show the Bailey campaign receiving the majority of its support from pro-oil pipeline lobbyists. CREDO Action, the San Francisco based progressive campaign organization, joined in to pressure Bailey. “Has Miranda Bailey made promises to Oil Executives that put the citizens of Rhimes in the crosshairs of Big Oil,” political director Rebecca Loan asked, “Will she admit whether she has indeed made promises to support a pipeline that would threaten the coastline of Shepherd’s Cove and the livelihood of its residents?”

Across the District in Shonda Beach, Addison Montgomery-Forbes is facing questions about her management of Oceanside Wellness in Santa Monica. In the wake of a campaign advertisement featuring her adopted son, who is black, two former employees, both persons of color, have come forward and claimed Montgomery-Forbes promoted less-experienced white male colleagues repeatedly in the 7 years they worked at the private practice.

Questions about medical administration are also plaguing Cristina Yang, who is currently the Director of the prestigious Klausman Institute. Reports allege that the Institute falsified data in reports to the National Institute of Health. A spokesperson for the NIH would not confirm or deny an investigation.

Children’s pediatric surgeon Arizona Robbins is also under fire tonight as a malpractice lawsuit against Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital unfolds in Seattle’s local courts. Testimony in court suggests doctors may have repeatedly overprescribed strong drugs, including those known to cause dependency, to children. As head of the pediatric unit, Robbins has been named in the lawsuit.

Once named “The Hottest Young Doctor in America,” the Jackson Avery campaign has had no problem leaning in to the candidate’s noted good looks. Will they regret that? Late tonight, TMZ photos of Avery in what appears to be a heated embrace with his then 17-year old intern. While Avery campaigns for Mayor, his wife, April Kepner,  who recently lost a child, is serving with the US Army as a field trauma surgeon in Afghanistan.

Kepner’s mentor, and Avery opponent Owen Hunt is also under attack. A former platoon member of Hunt’s has raised questions about his service during Operation Iraqi Freedom. “Owen Hunt was unfit to serve in uniform and is unfit to serve as Mayor of Rhimes,” Army Sergeant Rush Jones said at an afternoon press conference.

Finally, Alex Karev, whose call for unity has rallied Rhimians from across the political spectrum, is embroiled in a storm of controversy and being questioned for comments he made at a private fundraiser last April in the home of his former business partner and private pediatric surgeon Oliver Lebackes.

On the audio recording, Karev is asked about the recent shooting death of an unarmed black 14-year old by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Washington State. “All lives matter,” Karev is heard saying, “We have to stop the epidemic of gun violence in America.”

In response, Mellie Grant, who has already accepted the Republican nomination for Mayor of Rhimes responded, “It’s clear the Democrats running for Mayor of Rhimes are unprepared and unworthy of the honor of serving our wonderful District. The citizens of Rhimes deserve a Mayor whose record they can be proud of, without question.”

For more information as this develops, follow Will McAvoy, investigative reporter for the Rhimes Times at:



Welcome to the District of Rhimes

Rhimes is a lovely island just a ferryboat ride away from Seattle. It is also an independent federal district very similar to Washington, D.C. in size, with two major towns—Shepherd’s Cove and Shonda Beach.

Rhimes is a quickly growing District, doing its best to recover from the Great Recession. Unemployment is still high, with many area residents unemployed and/or facing foreclosure on their houses.

Rhimes has a diverse population, including many first generation immigrants from Latin American countries. Recent redistricting has increased the diversity of the District even further.

The District contains two major cities, Shonda Beach and Shepherd’s Cove. Both have historically been popular tourist locations.

Shepherd’s Cove is known for its eccentric residents and cultural diversity. Twenty-one percent of those in Shepherd’s are black, 16 percent are Hispanic and 7 percent of the residents are non-white persons of color of other races. There has been a recent tech boom – creating wide disparity between historically working class natives and new young residents.

Shonda Beach is a larger and somewhat more affluent city with several colleges and universities and a developed tourist industry that caters to the wealthy. There are also large Evangelical Protestant and Catholic churches throughout the city. However the economic collapse has left many communities with vacant homes that were foreclosed on during the mortgage crisis.

The Democratic candidate for the Mayor of the District of Rhimes will compete against Republican opponent Mellie Grant.

You can learn more about the candidates in the race:

Cristina Yang
Miranda Bailey
Addison Montgomery​​
Callie Torres​
Owen Hunt
Jackson Avery
Arizona Robbins
Alex Karev

Voting will take place between 9am-4pm on Friday, July 31st. All voting takes place online.

Follow the campaign using #BootCamp9 and Meet the BootCampers behind the teams on our blog.

This campaign scenario was created for #BootCamp9, a training program designed to teach digital organizing skills through simulation. It is entirely fictional, with thanks to Shonda Rhimes for inspiration.

Meet the #BootCamp9 Class!

We’re excited to introduce the participants of our Digital BootCamp 2015 class! This year’s BootCampers are an example of the NOI Community and the way we are building—and strengthening—the progressive digital talent pipeline. Our 48 participants come from 20 states around the United States—and four countries: Canada; France; India; and Nigeria.

For all of us, participants, trainers and coaches alike, it will be an unforgettable week. From start—Sunday, July 26—until finish—Saturday, August 1, it will be a week filled with intense learning, hands-on training, networking, community building, and camaraderie. And when we’re done, our BootCampers will emerge ready to take on challenges back home and change the world!

We look forward to sharing their progress with you. If you haven’t already done so, join the BootCamp Seedlist. You’ll follow their progress as they run a fictional campaign all next week. Sign up now!

Meet our 2015 Digital BootCampers and welcome them to Washington, D.C. this week as they join the ranks of hundreds of BootCamp alumni:


Alex PatersonAlex Paterson

Alex is the Communications Director for Canada 2020, an independent, progressive think-tank based in Ottawa. He is also the Director of Training for Progress, a not-for-profit dedicated to supporting and training progressive campaigners across Canada. He previously worked as a policy assistant on Parliament Hill, as a communications strategist for Greenpeace, and a news producer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Twitter | LinkedIn | Website


Alexis Nava TeodoroAlexis Nava Teodoro

Alexis is the Community Engagement and Policy Advocate at the ACLU of Southern California. He is based in Santa Ana.

Twitter | LinkedIn


Allan Byroo

Allan works in the medical field as a Certified Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aide. He lives in Los Angeles. In addition to being a CNA, Allan is certified in CPR and fire safety. He began organizing while he was at high school.


Allison OrdmanAllison Ordman

Allison is a native Iowan with a background in communications. She has served on a range of Iowa campaigns, most recently as a communications advisor to Ravi Patel’s campaign for the U.S. Congress (IA-01). Allison’s experience includes gubernatorial campaigns, issue advocacy for Organizing For America and working in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate in Washington, DC.

Twitter | LinkedIn


Amee AminAmee Amin

Amee is a co-founder of Article 25, a Massachusetts non-profit dedicated to building a global people’s movement for the right to health. She recently finished an anti-poverty organizing fellowship. Amee is passionate about utilizing digital strategy for health justice campaigns.

Twitter | LinkedIn | Website


27ab58dAna Suarez

Ana is the Communications Coordinator at the Latin American Coalition, based in Charlotte, NC. Her previous experience includes working as a legal clerk, and as an immigrant rights program intern.



Andrew CrookAndrew Crook

Andrew is a student at Cornell University studying for a Master’s Degree with a focus on collective representation. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Marcus spent five years as a senior journalist for Australia’s leading independent news outlet, His experience includes writing on financial issues for the Business Spectator (Australia), serving as a public policy adviser for the Victorian State Government and stints at the AFL-CIO and its Solidarity Center. Currently, Andrew is a media affairs intern at the American Federation of Teachers.

Twitter | LinkedIn


Athena MontesAthena Montes

Athena is a training and development professional in Orlando, FL. She is a graduate of the University of South Florida in Political Science and Mass Communications, with a Public Relations focus. Athena previously worked on political campaigns in field and advocacy for Alex Sink for Governor, OFL-FL 2012, The Action, and Scouts for Equality.

Twitter | LinkedIn


Audu KadiriAudu Kadiri

Audu is a community organizer who is actively involved in human rights advocacy, HIV prevention, Youth and Community Development as well as good governance and accountability. Audu has over ten years experience as a public health advocate with a particular interest in HIV Prevention and Research. He is currently in the U.S. as an asylum seeker, entering the country in February 2014.

Twitter | LinkedIn


Brooke ButlerBrooke Butler

Brooke is a digital communicator from Washington, D.C. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University. After working as a data analyst in the energy sector, Brooke began organizing with the South Carolina Democratic Party. She serves as the social media and outreach coordinator for the non-profit Liberty & Access for All while also co-instructing coding courses at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington.

Twitter | LinkedIn


Bryan EllicottBryan Ellicott

Bryan is the Supervisor for Runaway Homeless Youth Drop-In Services at The Door–A Center of Alternatives in the Greater New York City region.

Twitter | LinkedIn


Chelsea McDonnellChelsea McDonnell

Chelsea lives in Medford, MA. She graduated from Emmanuel College in May with an English degree with a Writing and Literature focus. She works as a Digital Content Associate in the marketing team at ActBlue. In that role, Chelsea is primarily responsible for fundraising emails, social media, and writing website content.

Twitter | Website


Christopher CaseyChristopher Casey

Christopher is an Organizer with Consumer Union, the Policy and Action arm of Consumer Reports. He works with the Financial Services Team focused on providing leadership for financial services & product matters impacting consumers. The team has a special focus on student lending, safe payments, banking fees, and safeguarding the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Christopher has a broad and diverse background in electoral politics, offline organizing, online organizing, and issue advocacy. Prior to joining CU, he served as the National Organizer for Political Action, helping to expand its activist and volunteer leader base dramatically. At MoveOn, he devised and executed campaigns to pass the Affordable Care Act, Dodd-Frank, and electing progressives to Congress in 2010. Christopher began his career as a Field Organizer for Obama For America, rising progressively to Deputy Field Director where his region of responsibility set voter registration, volunteer recruitment, and turnout records.

Christopher is a summa cum laude graduate in History and Economics from the Honors College, State University of New York at Albany.


Cortez WrightCortez Wright

Cortez is a Southern Black Non-Binary Queer Femme feminist organizer and social media strategist from Atlanta, GA. They are the Communications & Development Associate for SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW! in Atlanta, Georgia. They are passionate about training and organizing for marginalized communities, particularly with under-served Black and Queer populations.



Dany SigwaltDany Sigwalt

Dany is a fourth-generation native Washingtonian. She has been working in community-based non-profits since before college. Her focus is building out effective communication and grassroots fundraising infrastructures for tiny to small organizations. Dany serves on the board of Empower DC.

Twitter | LinkedIn


26cfddcDeAndré Q. Jones, has dedicated his life to being a public servant for the greater community and an advocate of social justice. A native of Americus, Georgia, DeAndré is the founder of Organized Arts LLC – a public affairs firm that provides counsel, creative media development and strategic communication planning that empowers communities and agents of change. DeAndré works alongside CMOs, community organizers and public officials throughout Georgia and Florida on a variety of progressive initiatives. More recently, he has organized with organizations such as the Florida Democratic Party, the Dream Defenders, Keeping Guns Off Campus, NAACP and the Georgia House Democratic Caucus. Recently, he is the Lead Coordinator for the Voter Access Institute in Atlanta, GA.

Twitter | LinkedIn


Dipanwita DasDipanwita Das

Dipanwita is the Founder & Director of Das Social Strategies operating in Washington, D.C., Delhi, and Kolkata. She works with social impact organizations to achieve maximum impact using digital communications and strategy. She has helped lead digital and content strategy for organizations such as the Sehgal and PVBLIC Foundations and starting the social impact digital communications practice across client verticals for the MSLGRoup. Along with her social impact and foundation clients, Dipanwita has trained more than 250 non-profit leaders from 55 countries in effective management skills, as Training Manager for the Atlas Corps Fellowship.

Twitter | LinkedIn | Website


Emilio VicenteEmilio Vicente

Emilio is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he studied Public Policy. An undocumented student, he has been active on campaigns for tuition equity in North Carolina. Emilio also worked to hold the UNC Board of Governors, the ruling body for the university system, accountable to students, faculty and staff.



Erin BelitskusErin Belitskus

Erin is the Development Coordinator at the Brother’s Brother Foundation in Pittsburgh, PA. She is also the Boston and Pittsburgh Chapter Director for The New Leaders Council.



Eve ZuckermanEve Zuckerman

Eve is a Franco-American organizer who got her start as a volunteer on the Obama ’12 Presidential campaign. She was also a Chapter Lead for Organizing for Action. Eve has worked as a freelance consultant on the NationBuilder platform for advocacy groups, unions, and campaigns. She is preparing to return to France, serving as the deputy digital director on Alain Juppé’s presidential campaign.

Twitter | LinkedIn


Ian CeraoloIan Ceraolo

Ian recently joined NextGen Climate’s team in New Hampshire as its director of operations. Prior to joining NextGen, he was a political appointee in Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s administration. Ian’s experience includes working as an organizer for the 2013 Virginia coordinated campaign, and the 2012 Obama Presidential campaign in New Hampshire.

Twitter | LinkedIn


Javier RomoJavier Romo

Javier is a political organizer at the start of his career. After graduating from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2013, he became a fellow for the Wendy Davis for Governor campaign in the fall of 2014. After his fellowship ended, he was invited to participate in their Academy Field Organizing program responsible for organizing a section of San Antonio. After completing the program, Javier continued volunteering through the November election.



Jillian RileyJillian Riley

Jillian is a community organizer in rural southeast North Carolina, and at the start of her career. After graduating from St. Olaf College in 2014 with a degree in Political Science, she joined the AmeriCorps VISTA program working with a community development organization. In this work, she uses Asset Based Community Development tools to build and support neighborhood coalitions. Jillian also interns with a district judge, coordinating expungement clinics for minors. She plans to attend graduate school in 2016 pursuing a dual degree in Law and Social Work.

Twitter | LinkedIn


Jose NunezJose Nunez

Jose is the Political Organizer and Digital Director for the San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Personnel. Previously, he worked as a digital strategist for the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Texas.

Twitter | LinkedIn | Website


Juan PenalosaJuan Penalosa

Juan is a senior vice president at Mercury Public Affairs. Juan’s campaign experience includes the 2012 Presidential re-elect, and managing front- line Congressional, statewide and local races in Florida, California, and the Midwest. Prior to his career in political campaigns, Juan worked as a geophysicist in South America and also in international development, aiding developing nations and multi-national NGO’s implement reforms, new departments and expansion of public services.

Twitter | LinkedIn


Julie ThompsonJulie Thompson

Julie is a PR professional, providing communications, marketing, and social media support for the Michigan Senate Democrats in the State Legislature. She is skilled in drafting correspondence, social media content, and project management. Julie is the communications specialist, and one of the voices behind both the caucus’ official social media channels and the Senate Democratic Leader’s channels.

Twitter | LinkedIn


Julissa cardenasJulissa Cardenas

Julissa is the Communications Coordinator for Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley in California. Her previous work includes journalism and broadcast communications. Julissa is passionate about immigration and women’s reproductive health care rights.

Twitter | LinkedIn


Kevin RackhamKevin Rackham

Kevin is a communications intern with the Working Families Party of Oregon. He has three years of experience in using social media and email in statewide campaigns. Kevin has worked on a variety of issues, including the fight for paid sick days in Oregon, and debt-free higher education. He is passionate about using new technology to bridge the gap between rural and urban communities in Oregon.

Twitter | LinkedIn


Kimberly LettKimberly Lett

Kimm is an attorney, an advocate and founder of floWERS!, an inspirational group encouraging and supporting women, and #sheSpeaksUP!, which generates awareness to issues affecting women and girls and globally focusing on race, class and gender. Kimm has an extensive background in the legal field working on consumer advocacy issues. She has also been a radio announcer. Kimm’s goal and passion are to use her voice to bring awareness and change.

Twitter | LinkedIn


Lauren FarberLauren Farber

Lauren is a Marketing Associate at Catalist in Washington, D.C. Her experience includes working as a Digital Communications Associate at Blue State Digital, and as a Staff Assistant at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). Lauren was also a Finance Assistant on Senator Richard Blumenthal’s 2010 campaign in her home state of Connecticut.



Martin CampbellMartin Campbell

Martin is an assistant field manager and campaign coordinator at the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG). He studied Political Science at Grinnell College and currently resides in Madison, WI.

Twitter | LinkedIn


Matthew SteinrueckMatthew Steinrueck

Matthew owns his own business in Minneapolis. In 2012, he was a Field Organizer for Organizing for America. In 2010, he was the Youth Vote organizer for the Keith Ellison for Congress campaign.



Megan FitzpatrickMegan Fitzpatrick

Megan is a senior writer for Public Interest GRFX, the in-house communications team for the Public Interest Network, which includes Environment America, U.S. PIRG, and other nonprofits. She graduated from Brown University in 2011 with a degree in Environmental Studies.

Twitter | LinkedIn


Melissa AmarawardanaMelissa Amarawardana

Melissa is a political communications professional with a specialty in tech writing and design. She lives in Washington, D.C and will be finishing her MS in Political Science this fall, after completing a research capstone on negative partisanship and group mentality.

Twitter | LinkedIn


Mia RebackMia Reback

Mia is a climate justice organizer in Portland, Oregon. She primarily works with 350 and Rising Tide, taking a lead role on media and communications for a variety of climate justice campagins. Mia graduated from Reed College with a BA in Environmental Studies and Economics.

Twitter | LinkedIn


Miguel CruzMiguel Cruz

Miguel is an immigrant from Oaxaca. He is the Chapter Manager at the ACLU of Southern California, a position he has held since April 2010. Prior to becoming the Chapter Manager, he worked for ACLU SoCal from 2006 to 2009. Miguel has managed the structure, leadership development and advocacy campaign operations by all regional volunteer chapters at ACLU SoCal. Miguel is an experienced community organizer and campaign coordinator.

Twitter | LinkedIn | Website


SONY DSCNeal Hussein

Neal, who hails from New York, is a specialist in risk analysis and political data. He has worked internationally with Democrats Abroad and Moody’s Egypt affiliate. His experience in the United States includes working for Planned Parenthood and directing Senator Mark Udall’s Colorado political data program.


Nicholas SellaNicholas Sella

Nicholas is the Senior Multimedia Specialist at the National Education Association in Washington, D.C. Prior to taking on this position he was the Communications and Collective Bargaining and Member Advocacy Assistant at the NEA. He was also the Original Content Editor at



Peter KORCHNAKPeter Korchnak

Peter manages digital communications for the Death with Dignity National Center. Previously he worked or contracted for social service organizations. An immigrant from Slovakia, he has background in business and international relations. Parallel to supporting good causes, Peter is building a career as a nonfiction writer.

Twitter | LinkedIn | Website


Rebecca RuechelRebecca Ruechel

Rebecca is an IT professional, an event consultant, an organizer, a graduate of Emerge Wisconsin, and a native Milwaukeean. Coming from a technical background, she has a BS in Management Information Systems from the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Most recently, Rebecca has worked as a Production Support Specialist for a financial company and as a Field Organizer for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

Twitter | LinkedIn


Rosie BrownRosie Brown

Rosie is the Digital Organizer for the National Domestic Workers Alliance in Washington, D.C. In this role, she leverages technology to identify and connect domestic workers, including Nannies, housekeepers and home care workers, with each other. Previously, Rosie has organized at Unite Here, analyzed and implemented the political strategy at UAW, and supported the international work of Comisiones Obreras (Spain), and been a Field Organizer at Field Strategies.

Twitter | LinkedIn | Website


Sandra DuranSandra Duran

Sandra is the Constituency Affairs Associate for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, based in San Diego, CA.




Taylor CampbellTaylor Campbell

Taylor is a Digital Strategy Fellow at Fission Strategy, based in New York. He is currently pursuing a B.A. in Politics, Philosophy & Economics. Taylor has worked in development, research, content sourcing, website management and design, data analysis, strategy and digital media. He is passionate about social and cultural issues affecting underserved and disadvantaged communities, and how technology can be leveraged to mobilize large numbers of people.



Tessa LevineTessa Levine

Tessa is the Childcare//Fight for 15 Northern California Lead Organizer for SEIU. Before joining the labor movement, Tessa was introduced to organizing through working with Mujeres Unidas y Activas as part of Bend the Arc’s Community Organizing Residency Program. With MUA, Tessa focused on immigration reform on national and local levels. She has a BA in Global Studies and Social Movements from LIU Global.



Vladan IvkovicVladan Ivkovic

Vladan is the Labor Education Specialist for the Eastern Region of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA).



Wendy HeinigWendy Heinig

Wendy is the founder and owner of Reliable Resolutions, a mediation, advocacy, and training company. She also works as a full-time organizer for the Michigan Education Association. Additionally, Wendy spends time volunteering for the Michigan court system as a mediator for divorce and parenting time cases. For the past 12 years, Wendy has served in many capacities at the MEA advocating and protecting the rights of employees in the K-12 public schools, Higher Education institutions and Intermediate School Districts of Michigan. She has been successful in creating trainings designed specifically for women. Wendy travels the country training on personality and temperament theory.

Twitter | LinkedIn | Website


Zoe Wong-WeissmanZoe Wong-Weissman

Zoë is Digital Divestment Organizer at, where she leverages online tools to support the fast-growing fossil fuel divestment campaign. Before working with, Zoë studied at UC Berkeley. She grew up on the Lost Coast of California, and makes her home in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Twitter | LinkedIn

Announcing the Center for Technology and Civic Life

Following their 2014 successes delivering civic information to millions of voters and connecting hundreds of election officials across the country, NOI’s Election Administration team is transitioning into its own organization, The Center for Technology and Civic Life.

The Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL) is non-partisan, non-profit organization focused on increasing civic participation by modernizing engagement between local government and the people they serve. CTCL focuses its efforts in three main areas:

  • Training local government on how to use technology to enhance the civic livelihood of their communities;
  • Developing free/low-cost tools for government where there are clear needs; and
  • Aggregating civic data sets and developing infrastructure that enables the flow of information and interactions between government and the people they are serving.

CTCL will continue a number of programs focused on supporting institutions and developing infrastructure for civic participation. Current NOI programs that are moving to the Center include:

  • The Governance Project, which provides a standardized dataset of federal, state, and local elected officials nationwide. This data also includes website, social media, and contact information for these officials, and is tied to political geography through Open Civic Data Identifiers.
  • The Ballot Information Project, which aggregates and standardizes candidate & referenda information of a similar scope for major elections. Both the Governance Project and Ballot Information Project datasets are open-source and are available for free via the Google Civic Information API, where they’ve been accessed over 50 million times since 2012.
  • ELECTricity, which connects local election administrators from across the country, helps build and share resources that improve elections. In addition to its training and collaboration components, in 2014 ELECTricity launched a pilot program that helps under-resourced election offices build websites. The websites are carefully designed so voters can easily find the information they are looking for most, and the user-friendly and free platform allows election administrators to maintain their own websites.

The Center for Technology and Civic Life is headed by Executive Director Tiana Epps-Johnson, formerly the head of NOI’s Election Administration department. Also joining from NOI are co-founders Whitney May, who leads the ELECTricity project, and Donny Bridges, who heads CTCL’s civic data programs.

NOI Community Call

Thank you to the community members who joined us for the NOI Community Call. We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas with us as we move forward.

To send feedback or volunteer, please email us at

Audio recording of the call:

Please note: We had technical difficulties recording the beginning of the call.  A transcript of the beginning of the call is included below.

Transcript of Ethan’s Opening Statement

At NOI we believe we’re only as strong as our community. You’ve been our strength since our founding in 2005, you’ve been there when we needed you, and you deserve to hear from me directly when things don’t go according to plan.

What Happened?

Put bluntly, NOI was short on cash and it created a culture of uncertainty.

We’re a non-profit and our obligation to our funders is to spend their money to create change in the world. Finding the right balance between the financial security of the organization and aggressively running programs is a challenge all non-profits face. In this case, we were too aggressive. We spent money in the first half of 2014 that, in retrospect, we should have been saving for the fall. When we got to the fall it became clear that our revenue projections were too ambitious and we would need to cut costs. We cut everything from travel expenses to the water cooler, but layoffs were necessary in order to balance the budget. We implemented a round of layoffs, amounting to a quarter of our staff, in November of last year.

We weren’t out of the woods yet. Although we ran our most successful RootsCamp ever in December, we got bad news on other fronts. Throughout this period, the financial pressure on the organization kept building, as more than one source of anticipated revenue did not materialize.

In January, I communicated to the staff that another round of layoffs was likely and that, in a worst case scenario, we would be forced to furlough some staff without pay for a period of time. This, understandably, created anxiety and frustration among staff. Who would be laid off? How would the furloughed staff cover their expenses without a paycheck? What would this mean for our programs? There were more questions than answers, and the clock was ticking.

I did not effectively manage this anxiety. While I spent my time managing external relationships and chasing down fundraising prospects, I did not spend enough time listening to my staff. If I had, I would have heard that they were growing increasingly discontented, not only with our financial uncertainty, but with my leadership.

This growing disconnect between myself and our staff was bridged in one fateful meeting on the first Thursday of February when our senior team approached me with an ultimatum: either you leave, or we will. This was followed a few days later by a memo sent to our board of directors restating this ultimatum and backing it up with a list of eight staff who, if the board did not fire me within 48 hours, would resign.

You probably already know what happened next. The board declined to fire me and accepted the resignations of the staff named in the memo. Left without senior managers and still facing a cash shortfall, we laid off additional staff. There were departures of a different nature as well. As one observer put it at the time, “today is a no good, very bad day for the progressive movement.” I agree.

Where do things stand right now?

First, NOI isn’t going anywhere. We have a core staff including training managers, events staff, and administrative staff. We have trainings on the books that we will execute, on schedule, to our usual high standards. And we have an amazing and committed community of practitioners ready to carry forward the critically important work of the organization.

This moment has left a scar on the community; it’s a situation that created no winners. It has been a heart-wrenching experience for all of us; a moment in which many good people, as committed to the progressive movement as anyone out there, have made sacrifices.

We’re working with the Management Center to conduct an assessment of the decisions and structures that led to last week’s events, as well as to counsel and coach me on how to move forward in a way that strengthens our culture. Our board will be expanding, including adding board members who can strengthen the financial oversight of the organization. We’ve retained a fundraising advisor to assist with our efforts to strengthen the current financial position of the organization.

What happens next?

Campaigns look very different today than they did when NOI was founded ten years ago. The demand for technically-trained talent at all levels has grown exponentially, the industry is more specialized, and the need for technical skills extends well beyond only those practitioners who have the word “digital” or “data” in their title. As we look towards delivering on our promise to equip the progressive movement with a deep, diverse, and technically-savvy bench of campaigners, we must also use this moment as an opportunity to challenge all of our standing assumptions about the best way to deliver on that promise.

In order to do that, in the coming weeks we will be drawing on our greatest asset- an asset unmoved by the peculiarities of the funding space: the most powerful and skilled community of progressive campaigners on the planet. We will be inviting you to help us imagine new approaches to our trainings, events, and community. We will also be asking for your help- to work, to train, to donate.

Along the way, we’ll be sharing with you what we learn from our assessment, and details about how we’re going to change in order to be stronger moving forward.

Finally, we’ll be turning our shoulders to the wind and getting back to work. Accomplishing anything less than what it takes to win is not an option. The biggest fights, the biggest victories, are yet ahead of us.

To get a sense of the scope of the challenge ahead of us, I surveyed hiring managers from across the campaigns space. I asked them to quantify the staffing challenge we’re facing for 2016: how many technical staff positions will need to be filled in 2016, and how many trained practitioners already exist, right now, who can fill those jobs. The conclusion they drew was staggering.

They estimated that we will need to recruit and train 600 new practitioners to work in data and digital jobs alone in order to staff campaigns at every level in 2016. Those are the people who are going to be recruiting volunteers, raising money online, and building the effective, data-driven campaigns we need to win.

That’s what NOI does. We build the next generation of campaigners. We train progressive campaigners to use emerging technologies- data and digital- to enhance the relationship-based organizing that we know moves people. You can’t have one without the other. If you want to win a campaign, you can’t have technical expertise without an understanding of organizing.

The same is true for NOI. We can’t succeed without our community.

How can you help?

What you can do next is what you’ve always done: help us train, be a coach for one of our trainings, bring new organizers into our community and into our events. Share your thoughts with us about how we can change to be stronger moving forward by sending an email to Tell us anything: a new training you want to help us run, a new model you want to help us adopt, a new constituency you want to help us engage.

One thing’s clear: with your help we can’t lose.