By Indivisible FM Organizer Nicole Mattson
I started our group right before Inauguration Day. The first day I let people know about it was at the Women’s March in downtown Fargo on January 21. I carried this sweet sign in the march.
Afterward, I posted on the march’s event page inviting people to join. We went from three people on January 20 to over 3,000 today. How did we do it? I think mostly it’s because people are looking for ways to participate in our government, and we make it as easy as we can for them to do that.
We are Indivisible FM because most of us live in the Fargo metropolitan area, which includes Moorhead, Minnesota (where I live).
The population of the metro area is about 220,000. If you ever visit us, you can take your photo with the woodchipper from the movie.
Since we’re a border city, we have to keep up with what is going on it two separate states and congressional districts. North Dakota is represented in Congress by two Republicans (Sen. John Hoeven and Rep. Kevin Cramer) and a Democrat up for reelection in 2018 (Sen. Heidi Heitkamp). On the Minnesota side, our representatives are all Democrats: Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Rep. Collin Peterson. (I would show you an adorable photo of Al Franken kissing my baby, but that baby is 10 now and he would be mortified. Imagine a cute photo here.)
About our team
Indivisible FM is a group effort. It’s more work than one person can do. We have an organizational team of a dozen people, which includes people on both sides of the state line. Some of our team members are experienced organizers, while others are new to organizing and political action.
We have a rough breakdown of who is in charge of what. A couple of people on our team keep an eye on what’s happening in the North Dakota legislature, while others watch what is happening in Minnesota. A couple of people have an event planning background, so they will take the lead on organizing our future meetings. I am a marketing writer, so I write our posts. Almost everyone on the team has contributed research on different topics.
How we put together daily actions
1. The organizational team confers.
We have a Facebook group for organizational planning. We try to plan our action topics a day or more in advance, but given that a 4 AM tweet or a sudden resignation can change everything we had planned, we often don’t pick a topic until the morning it goes out.
We take some cues from the national Indivisible organization, and we also include actions on state and local issues, because we know that those are important to our group members as well.
2. Nicole writes a draft post.
When we have selected a topic, I might need someone to help me research it. I will ask the org team to send me relevant links. Other times, I take research from IndivisibleGuide.com, or I do it myself. I write the post in a Google Doc that is available to the org team.
Our goal is to make every action as easy as possible to do. That’s why we add our representatives’ phone numbers every time we ask someone to make a call. If an action asks our members to go somewhere, we embed a map in our post. The easier we can make it, the more people will participate.
We also try to give people as much background information as we can about the topic of the action, within the time constraints we are under.
Today’s Action: Ask for an independent Russia investigation
As you’re almost certainly aware, on Monday, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigned after multiple reports that he lied about contacts he had with the Russian ambassador in December. The White House has apparently been aware for weeks that the FBI believed that Flynn was vulnerable to Russian blackmail.
Isn’t this over now that Flynn has resigned?
No. Many questions remain, including:
What can we do about it?
We can call our representatives and ask them to support an independent investigation of the Trump administration’s relationship with Russia. If anyone in the Trump administration has been compromised by Russia, we need to know. And if not, shouldn’t they want an investigation to prove it?
If you called yesterday, call again today!
“Hi, my name is [ ] and I’m a constituent. I live in [ ]. I am calling to ask [ ] to support an independent investigation of the Trump administration’s relationship with Russia. I am really concerned about what Gen. Flynn did and whether he is the only one who may have been involved in this.”
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp
Sen. John Hoeven
Rep. Kevin Cramer
Sen. Al Franken
Sen. Amy Klobuchar
Rep. Collin Peterson
3. The org team reviews the draft post.
The post is open for commentary for a set period of time. We try to have all of our actions rolled out at 8:30 in the morning if possible, so sometimes we are reviewing a post anywhere from 6:00 in the morning to the minute it gets send out.
4. We roll the post out.
We offer our group members a number of platforms to follow us on. The post gets sent out to all of them as follows.
WordPress (42 followers as of 2/19/17)
We have a hosted WordPress website. I used to be a web developer, and I quit doing that because I really hate doing website software maintenance. So I chose to host the site on WordPress rather than setting up my own site from scratch.
Every post appears first on our WordPress site. Anyone who is subscribed to the site gets an email containing the day’s post.
Email list (298 subscribers as of 2/19/17)
Next, I send the post out via our email list, which people can subscribe to on our website. If we were using a different website software, we could probably do this an easier way, but since we are on hosted WordPress what I do is copy the post from there and paste it into Mailchimp.
Facebook page (627 followers as of 2/19/17)
We have a public Facebook page. I use Hootsuite to schedule the day’s action blog post to be posted on our Facebook page at least twice a day. I also try to remember to pin the day’s post to the top of the page.
Twitter (383 followers as of 2/19/17)
We are not big Twitter users in this part of the country, but it’s easy enough to have Hootsuite send the post there, too.
Facebook closed group (2,213 followers as of 2/19/17)
We wanted to give people a community space to hang out in, so we chose to start a closed group in addition to our public Facebook page. We have a lot of conversations there. Many times people will post information about other possible actions or local events.
We started out posting a link to the WordPress post in the group, but we noticed that traffic to the website was dropping even as our membership was rising. Because our goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to take action, we have stopped directing people from the closed group to the website to see our action posts. Instead, we use Hootsuite to post each action directly in the group, two to four times a day. That way people have a better chance of seeing the actions in their news feeds, and they don’t have to click out of Facebook to find out what they need to do.
Our advice to you
Get help. Other people have different skills and perspectives. You will need them.
Make your actions easy to do. The easier you make them, the more people will do them. And isn’t that the point of all of this?
Want to talk more?
We’re really busy, as you can imagine, but we’ll do what we can to help. The easiest way to reach us is at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay strong, Indivisibles!