Dear MoveOn member,
I'm headed to MoveOn's once-a-year in-person staff retreat, where I'll share a report on the state of MoveOn. I wanted to share it with you, too.
Here's the summary, Eddie: MoveOn is in the fight of our lives to stop Donald Trump and the GOP's attacks—and to turn our democracy toward the positive vision of equality, justice, and love that we hold in our hearts. Between now and November, as a staff team and member community, we need to be significantly bigger—and organize even smarter—than ever before. The course of history depends on all of us rising to the challenge.
Here's my request: If every MoveOn member chipped in $3 right now, we'd have enough resources to stop fundraising for the rest of the year—and we'd be able to focus exclusively on building and executing our essential campaigns and get-out-the-vote drive.
When I stepped into this job in 2013, we had 22 staff members. We've been growing since then. To meet the huge challenges we face this year, we'll surge to 90 people strong by November. The total of MoveOn Civic Action and MoveOn Political Action's budgets was $7.5 million when I began; this year, it's nearing $30 million. We had 5 internal teams in 2013; now, we have 16, including teams that focus on entirely new areas like video, mobile, down-ballot endorsements, and more.
Our work together has never been more needed. I really believe that MoveOn was built for this moment—as MoveOn staff and millions of MoveOn members take action together for the good of the country, to stop the corrupt, chaotic, and hateful regime that's doing so much damage every day.
Here's what I see when I scan the organization today—and why I need to know if I can count on your support as we work our hearts out to meet the extremely high-stake demands of our time.
MoveOn's campaigns and election plan
There are no shortcuts to ending our current crisis; we have to RESIST, and we have to WIN.
We're campaigning right now to block Trump's toxic agenda: rallying, melting the phones in Congress with thousands of calls, marching, and bringing together tens of thousands of people at a time on national "Ready to Resist" planning calls. By organizing with close partners, we've had huge successes—for example, we have repeatedly stopped Trump and the GOP from repealing the Affordable Care Act. We are continuing to work across partisan lines to defend the rule of law and protect the independent investigation into Trump's team. We are standing fiercely with Dreamers and other communities on the frontlines of hateful attacks. And more.
And at the same time, we're preparing our general election mobilization program—and we're doing so much earlier than we ever have before. Fighting to end GOP control of the House is our top election priority—and that includes being all-in to support over 100 congressional candidates. We're also, for the first time in our history, going big into down-ballot elections—because so much vital policy-making happens at the state and local levels, and because we have to build the pipeline of future national leaders who can help take our country forward with a bold, progressive vision for the future.
This means that we are walking and chewing gum (and juggling, and riding a bicycle 😉) at the same time. We are resisting the current attacks on our communities, values, and democracy. We are already working to help end GOP control of Congress this November. And we'll be supporting local candidates who can lead us into the future.
Our members and staff team
MoveOn members are everywhere. There are MoveOn members in every one of the 3,000 counties in the U.S., in major cities and rural communities. We are teachers, social workers, retirees, students, and more. We are young and old, gay and straight, of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, parents and grandparents, and more. Some of us just read the emails and share a video now and then; others spend our days, nights, and weekends organizing. One thousand of us are on the MoveOn Text Team, sending messages to fellow members. Over 1,000 of us were trained in summer 2017 through the "Resistance Summer" program and are now equipped with essential community organizing skills. We all do what we can.
MoveOn members are united by our passion for building a country where everyone can thrive, where there's a place of dignity and honor for everyone—AND by our passion for fighting to stop the horror show that is the Trump administration.
Our hard-working staff team has always been small, relative to MoveOn's overall reach and impact. Given the increased demands of the Trump era, and the crucial upcoming midterm elections, we've expanded substantially in the past year. We hail from all corners of the country—from Maine, from Kentucky, from California. We have no fancy national headquarters; our staff nearly all work remotely, out of modest home offices or co-working spaces.
Getting our message out
We are in the public eye. When Ted Cruz wants to decry progressives on the floor of the Senate, he attacks MoveOn. If you've turned on PBS, CNN, or MSNBC lately, you've probably spotted MoveOn's senior adviser Karine Jean-Pierre making a powerful case for MoveOn members' shared values—she's on the air nearly every day of the week representing millions of us just beautifully. Nearly 500,000 people receive SMS messages from MoveOn every week, and millions receive MoveOn emails. Our Video Lab team produces hundreds of videos each year featuring MoveOn members' stories and voices, and fact-based arguments to rebut right-wing talking points—videos which have been seen nearly 400 million times since the team was launched in June 2016.
Our staff team and MoveOn members are clear and proud about our independent, progressive values. We can't be bullied into silence—not online, not on TV, not anywhere. But now's the moment when this incredible reach is so vital: We need to use our huge megaphone to cut through the chatter and ensure that every voter understands the stakes of this November's elections.
In 2017, MoveOn members made over 1 million phone calls to Congress to defend health care access—thanks in part to a clever phone bank tool that MoveOn's data scientists built. We built and have experimented with a video persuasion program, featuring MoveOn members' personal stories about why they're voting that was wildly successful in special elections in Virginia, Alabama, Pennsylvania, and Illinois—a program which we'll use again in the general election. Our new peer-to-peer texting program Spoke is an open-source toolset that we took over from some volunteer coders from the Bernie Sanders campaign, and it's now generating over a million volunteer texts each month.
We can no longer be just an email organization, though many people still say to me when they learn that I work for MoveOn, "Oh yeah, I get emails from you." Given the way that people now live their lives, we need to be a campaigning and organizing community that uses SMS, video, social media, and person-to-person organizing, and other tools and techniques to make change in the country. Our staff team is working around the clock to surface innovations in tech and organizing and apply them to the vital work of mobilizing volunteers and voters in this election.
Where our resources come from
MoveOn is really unique among nonprofit organizations in how we're funded: Over 90% of our budget comes from individual contributions from members like you, chipping in when you can. We received nearly 1 million unique contributions in 2017. Nearly 80,000 people have made the commitment to be monthly donors—giving a fixed amount each month—which helps us plan our budget for the coming year with much more confidence about what we'll have to work with. We take in no government grants or corporate contributions.
This is the crux of it, Eddie: We've become a pillar of the organized Resistance to Trump and Trumpism, and we need to run the biggest, smartest get-out-the-vote operation we've ever run—but whether we can depends on you.
Can you help us rise to the opportunities and challenges of this year?
Thanks for reading—and for all you do.
Want to support our work? The MoveOn community will work every moment, day by day and year by year, to resist Trump's agenda, contain the damage, defeat hate with love, and begin the process of swinging the nation's pendulum back toward sanity, decency, and the kind of future that we must never give up on. And to do it we need your support, now more than ever. Will you stand with us?
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