Agenda - eAdvocacy Jamboree

Aspiration's eAdvocacy Jamboree will bring online campaigners and organizers together with developers of eAdvocacy tools and platforms for a fast-paced and far-reaching peer-to-peer skillsharing event. The participant-driven agenda will feature rich dialog and creative learning sessions.

Event partners working with Aspiration to design the agenda and sessions include Blue Oxen Associates, (Warsaw, Poland),, CiviCRM, CivicSpace, DemocracyInAction, Drupal, Joomla!, MobileVoter, New Organizing Institute, Non-Profit Soapbox/PICnet,, and Radical Designs. More partners are being added, and we welcome more involvement!

The following is the preliminary agenda; sessions will be scheduled and refined based on participant feedback. If you have a topic you'd like to see on the agenda, please let us know by emailing!

Interactive Track!

Too many technology events talk at you, not with you. This is track is designed to work for you! Want to collaborate with other attendees on your campaign, strategy, and web design while comparing points of pain and need? Want to draw on collective creativity? These workshops aim to be your session haven.

Workshop your campaign! Do you have a campaign that's not quite clicking? Are you seeing some online success, but want to take it to the next level? Are you curious to test drive strategy ideas in a creative environment? The Jamboree will offer multiple sessions where eCampaigners can present their online campaings and solicit feedback from facilitators, organizers and other participants.

Peer Web Site Reviews: People who consider their campaign web sites to be perfect are few and far between. There's nothing like the tough love and insightful input of peers reviewing your online presence and playing smart “stoopid user”. Jamboree participants will have the ability to demo their sites and invite commentary and critique from savvy web activists with a diverse range of experiences and opinions.

eCampaign on the Fly! Working on a campaign yet to launch? Clinging to lovingly half-baked strategy notions? Got goals but no tactics? Come build your campaign on the fly, in a storyboard format that paints pictures of how you might execute online. We'll partner experienced eCampaigners with groups of folks working through campaign ideas and brainstorm with creative e-intent.

eOrganizer Skill Share: We'll break out for multiple skill-sharing sessions among practitioners campaigning and advocating online. Participants will identify the points of pain and passion they'll discuss and share around.

Tools Snark Session! Eadvocacy can be fun and exciting and the tools are powerful, but complaining about what the tools can't do and/or do poorly is almost as much fun! (unless it's campaign deadline time) We'll make a list of headaches, heartaches, wishes and dreams for further contemplation and discussion.

Strategy Track

eOrganizers and eAdvocacy practitioners from a range of causes and sectors will talk about what they’ve got in their toolboxes and the tactics and strategies they’re currently employing. Sessions will consider the challenges of messaging and maintaining supporter bases across campaigns. A particular focus will be on developing best practices in eCampaiging process and engagement models. Participants will also how they’re using emerging web 2.0 hypeware and other technologies to augment their eAdvocacy efforts. User/Developer sessions will allow stakeholders across the eAdvocacy landscape to discuss how we can all work together more effectively.

Creating Passionate Online Activists: eAdvocacy isn't about technology, it's about building relationships online to mobilize supporters both virtually and in the streets. This session will start with comparison of what “Online Activist” really means. Engagement cycles and modes of interaction will be presented and discussed. Emphasis will be placed on treating online outreach as both conversation and narrative over time, and the importance of tracking that narrative and assuring consistency.

“Web 2.0” Tools and Tactics: “web 2.0” is over-used buzz terminology, but the underlying concepts of decentralized process and collaborative peer activism underpin much of what is exciting about current eAdvocacy tactics and tools. The notion of “web 2.0” will be introduced in terms of essential traits and characteristics. Motivations for employing “2.0” social network tactics will be mulled, and contrasted with the trade-offs of inviting user-driven content. Tagging strategies and best practices will be explained, and the concepts of “badge” and “widget” defined and demonstrated. Essential “2.0” site demos and a case study focusing on will tie essential lesson threads together.

Social Networking Sites for eCampaigns: Establishing a campaign page on a social networking site like MySpace and Facebook is like buying a lottery ticket: you have no guarantee of winning anything, but you can't get a slice of that pie without one. These sites face younger and broader audiences than “traditional” eAvocacy audiences, and if your page takes off, nonlinear return is yours. We'll discuss best practices for reserving and maintaining pages, what is means to “friend” both as an organization and campaigner, and how to balance maintenance and focus between social network site pages and your own campaign and organizational sites.

Blogging in Campaigns – What's Hype, What's Real and Why You Should Probably Do It: Blogging isn't new, but effective blogging as part of campaign strategies is still the exception, not the rule. We'll talk about blogging best practices, community engagement models, and why blogging is different than email and “standard” web sites. We'll also talk about basic requirements for setting up and maintaining campaign blogs, including comments policies, campaign blog rolls, and the ever-vexing technology selection and integration.

eCampaigning Roadmap: Facilitators will lay out the steps required to develop an online strategy, placing emphasis on identifying goals and tracking strategy to goals. A generalized eAdvocacy life cycle will be presented and discussed in the context of a single campaign and across longer organizational horizons. The importance of organizational process will be stressed, with particular attention to campaign calendaring. The concept of data as the primary point of advocacy orientation will be emphasized and compared to less advisable “technology centric” contexts.

Developing An Online Strategy: Technology-enabled campaigns depend on well-organized, effective campaign strategies. This session will focus on strategies for particular goals, including relationship building, online fundraising, and winning specific campaigns. Milestones will be enumerated, from defining campaign goals to identifying target and audiences, to other points along a timetable. Framing, assembling, and designing online messages will be explained. The tension between organizational mission and vision and specific campaign goals will be named, and integration of online and offline strategies covered. The concept of "viral activism" will be explained in useful terms.

Best Practices for eCampaigning: It's simple: never neglect the primordial importance of acquiring email addresses in appropriate and sustainable ways. Once you have them, use them with tender loving care. Consistency in messaging will be explained and delineated in a range of contexts, including clarity of message, use of networks, importance of human-centric tone, and architecting campaigns for viral potential. Reply management will be emphasized as a common missed opportunity. This session will also address privacy considerations, and 5 golden ways to avoid spammer status in your outbound messaging.

Measuring impact – Assessing Web Traffic and Trends: eCampaigners site logs tell compelling stories: who's visiting your site, what they're looking at, where they came from , how long they're staying. But reading the log file tea leaves is a neglected art in too many campaigns, leading to missed opportunities and misplaced emphasis in site content design. This session will demonstrate multiple traffic analysis tools, and look at actual online campaign data to tease out insights and inform strategy and messaging.

Campaign Calendaring to Win: You can't throw emails messages at a campaign audience and expect to win. You need to map out the arc of your strategy and messaging, respond to supporters while following a consistent narrative, and pace your blasting appropriately. This session will offer calendaring case studies for different types of campaigns, and invite participants to pose their own campaign calendar questions and challenges.

Distributed Days of Action Done Right: A fundamental power of internet organizing is the ability to mobilize supporters in different locations to take action in parallel. This session will look at the Step It Up 2007 National Campaign as a case study, were 1460 events were scheduled and executed across the U.S., all coordinated through a central web site that used a range of free internet technologies to enable report-back mashups with user-supplied content.

Email Signup Best Practices: It ain't sexy but it's essential: acquiring email addresses is the lifeblood of any online campaign. Essential tips on a range of issues, including ease of sign up, collection of geographical information, and confirmation of subscription will be considered in the context of cautionary tales. Etiquette essentials will be enumerated, including sending welcome email to new subscribers and being serious about privacy. “Opt-in” and “Double opt-in” signup methods will defined and contrasted.

Effective Email Messages: This session will cover how to write effective email campaign messages, both in terms of content and design. In addition, we'll discuss how to measure impact by tracking open rates and responses.

Maintaining Your Mailing Lists: This session will address how to establish appropriate content and frequency for mailing list postings. Avoiding “List Fatigue” is emphasized, along with privacy and security considerations. Good “netiquette” for attachments is explained, and appropriate tools for sending to large groups are explained

Best practices for “press rooms” and media outreach: Press increasingly use campaign web sites as sources for copy and perspectives on issues. But press are rarely considered as a primary audience in campaign site design, and online “press rooms” often make it harder than it should be for media to obtain and report essential campaign and issue information. This session will demonsrate a range of press rooms and enumerate essential press room features.

Developer Track

Open Source eAdvocacy Platforms: Where are we, what’s new, and how will it all interoperate? We’ll continue the dialog from past AdvocacyDev convergences and look for more opportunities to write tools that make life easier for campaigners and organizers. Latest releases of all relevant platforms will be demo’d and compared, and participants will be invited to drink from the fountain of cool technology Koolaid.

Developer Show and Tell on all the latest open source eAdvocacy platforms and tools, including the latest from DemocracyInAction, CiviCRM, Drupal, Radical Designs Activist Mobilization Platform (AMP), and others.

Drupal 5.0: Much is new and improved with Drupal 5.0, and this session will explain architectural advancements, new features and administration capabilities, and then open the floor for participant questions.

Asterisk VOIP: Ready for Prime Time Campaigning? The Asterisk platform is maturing rapidly, and as it does, powerful new online advocacy tactics have become more viable, from distributed phone banking to automated information centers to intelligent robodialing. Asterisk practitioners will discuss what they've been up to lately, and answer questions about how to take advantage of the wealth of features.

Using Ruby on Rails to Prototype eAdvocacy Tools: More developers are turning to Ruby on Rails as the development environment of choice. We'll offer introductory and advanced sessions on the RoR environment in the context of eAdvocacy development. We'll also discuss scaling and hosting challenges, and brainstorm about how new services like Amazon EC2 may play a role in future solutions.

Crabgrass: An Open Source Platform for Social Networking: A coalition of organizations are developing the Crabgrass platform to support a distributed layer of social networking functionality which can be integrated into existing campaign web sites. The platform will allow both organizations and individuals to make powerful use of their respective social networks, while maintaining an utmost focus on privacy. This session will describe the platform goals and preliminary architecture, and solicit input from developers and others with experience in developing such platforms.

Usability: Making Life Easier for Online Organizers: One of the greatest challenges in using online advocacy tools effectively is getting past usability barriers and into a workflow groove. This session will discuss methodologies for making online activist tools friendlier and more accessible for organizers and activists, using storytelling as a central component to illustrate points.

Open standards and open API’s (Application Programmer Interfaces) for eAdvocacy: what’s needed to allow better data sharing, pooling of legislative and other public data, and enable feature interoperability between platforms? What eAdvocacy “mashups” are useful and possible? We'll continue the dialog from previous eAdvocacy events, and see what's changing and what's possible.

Leveraging the Facebook APIs: has published an API set for use in integrating social network functionality into other web applications. Developers from will discuss what they're learning as they integrated Facebook services into their framework, and invite discussion about the potential and limitations of the facebook model.

Email Deliverability: It ain't exactly a developer passion, but email deliverability remains a central challenge for anyone working on eAdvocacy applications. While features and functionality of open source advocacy platforms continue to grow, the deliverability of associated email blasts continues to decrease as service providers raise spam barriers and network neutrality is threatened.

Business Development: In a session near and near to any eAdvocacy developer's heart, we'll discuss models for paying the bills while working on advocacy development projects. We'll compare notes on developer collectives, consulting models, and best business practices for a range of project types.

eAdvocacy Capacity Track

Addressing the eAdvocacy Capacity Challenge: The most consistently vexing problem in the eAdvocacy space is how to develop more practitioner capacity. Campaigns and causes go wanting for able staff and consultants who could help them craft and execute appropriate online campaigns and strategies. This track will map what’s already being done in terms of training and documentation, while opening up the floor for discussion on how better to scale eAdvocacy communities of practice and pool various documentation resources.

Mentoring Models for eCampaigners: Aspiration will discuss the eAdvocacy Mentoring program we're operating with support from Community Technology Foundation of California. We'll describe our engagement process for the cohort of organizations we're working with, the online tools we're using, and our long-term vision for showing nonprofits how to enable their own eAdvocacy endeavors.

Towards a Collaborate Process for Open eAdvocacy Curricula: Organizations like New Organizing Institute and Aspiration are working on material sets for training online organizers. Informed by collaborative knowledge sharing models like Wikipedia, eAdvocacy curriculum design has the potential to draw from the broad wealth of eCampaigning expertise extant on the net by inviting practitioners to contribute what they know while building a shared library of best practices, how-to's and other essential learning assets. We'll vision the perfect future world where such processes might exist, and work back to the present in order to tease out strategies for supporting open curriculum creation.

Mapping the Capacity Resources: There are a range of compelling training materials already online and available for eAdvocacy training, and a number of training offerings. This interactive session will name and characterize what's out there, and work toward two outcomes: A list of missing capacity-building resources, set against the landscape of what's available.

Training Fest

A full day of in-depth trainings will be offered on Tuesday the 17th, before the main Jamboree, on a range of topics including eAdvocacy 101, Web 2.0 Tools and Tactics, eAdvocacy Best Practices, Strategic Blogging, Intro and Advanced sessions on Democracy in Action, CiviCRM, Non-Profit Soapbox, Drupal, and Joomla.

eAdvocacy 101: This training will offer a point of entry to anyone interested in learning how to campaign and organize. online. We define core concepts

Web 2.0 Tools and Tactics: This session will offer practical guidance for integrating new and collaborative internet capabilities and technologies into campaign web sites. Participants will learn in a case-study oriented format, exploring how “edge” and “peer to peer” technologies fit into the campaign frame. Particular focus will be placed on the trade-offs of inviting user-driven content. Tagging strategies and best practices will be explained, and the process of adding “badge” and “widget” functionality to sites will be demonstrated.

eAdvocacy Best Practices: Once you're up and running with an online campaign, there's still plenty to focus on in terms of engagement, list management, consistent messaging, and managing data. This session, aka eAdvocacy 201, will survey a range of topics and focus on participant questions.

Strategic Blogging: Starting with a brief review of blogging essentials, this session will focus on best practices for weaving blog publishing into campaigns.

Introductory and Advanced Democracy in Action: DIA is a powerful and affordable platform for eAdvocacy and campaigning. These sessions, hosted by DIA staff, will cover a rich spectrum of DIA topics and tactics.

Introduction to Drupal: Long-time Drupal community members will explain all the basics necessary to get started with Drupal.

Drupal 5.0: Drupal team members will talk about what's new with Drupal 5.0.

Optimizing Drupal Performance: Serving a lot pages on your Drupal site? Then you're probably thinking about optimization. This session will cover a rich range of practical optimization topics.

Intro to Non-Profit Soapbox: PICnet will demonstrate how to deploy campaign web sites with their easy-to-use web platform for non-profit organizations

Intro and advanced CiviCRM: CiviCRM developers and managers will explain this emerging open source platform for managing constituent data.

"Amazing facilitation, inspiring participants and open sharing of knowledge. It's always the highlight of my year."

Courtney Miller, Floatleft
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