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What is digital organizing?

Guide for digital organizers
6 min read
Last update: Dec 20, 2023

In this guide, you will learn all about digital organizing. We will teach you how to use tech to make more impact with your activist group.


Welcome to this beginner's guide to digital organising for the activist of the new era. It's a world where mobile screens create stronger bonds than physical spaces, notably in rallying activists to drive real-world change. This guide shines a spotlight on practical, effective methods of digital organising, methods that will transform your online presence into real-life impact.

Digital organising is not just about accumulating follower counts on social backdrops. It's about facilitating collective action. It's about shaping virtual platforms into springboards for impactful activism. It's about weaving a web of change-makers who come alive through keyboard taps and mouse clicks, later congregating offline to rock the cradle of existing norms.

This guide will arm you with the know-how of digital organising - from using simple online tools, arranging virtual meetings, to amplifying your voice in the digital landscape. All while keeping sight of your ultimate goal: creating on-the-ground impacts that generate waves of change to reverberate across society.

Remember, our goal as activists is not just to exist in the digital sphere but to harness its vast potential to mobilise action in the physical world. This guide is your stepping stone to transform from an online activist to a change-maker with a tangible, far-reaching impact. Welcome aboard on this journey to redefining activism.

  1. Understanding Digital Organising: Understanding the difference between digital and traditional organising, and how combining the two can exponentially increase your reach.

  2. Online Tools for Activists: Navigating free and paid tools available online to support your cause. This includes communication platforms, fundraiser websites, and social media marketing techniques.

  3. Assembling Your Digital Community: Important tips on attracting, engaging and retaining fellow activists online. Strategies for community management and fostering meaningful relationships.

  4. Virtual Meetings and Webinars: Managing and hosting online events that engage activists. Tips for fostering interaction and building a solid team online.

  5. Amplifying Your Message: Successfully creating and sharing content that resonates with your digital audience and inspires them to act. Tactics on leveraging various online platforms as amplifiers.

  6. Bridging the Gap between Online and Offline Activism: Transitioning from online discussions and planning to offline action. Some tried-and-tested strategies for achieving real-world impact.

  7. Combating Digital Fatigue and Burnout: Tips for maintaining your digital well-being as an activist. How to stave off burnout and sustain your energy levels in the long run.

  8. Case Studies of Successful Digital Organising: A look into some of the breakthrough campaigns that successfully blended digital organising with real-world impact

Digital infrastructure

The digital infrastructure that your activist organisation needs depends on the size of your group.

Level 1: Getting started

If you are just getting started as an activist group, you will likely have very little capacity to invest in a high quality digital infrastructure. This is fine. You just need to make sure to determine your focus: what digital tools do we really need, and how can we use them most effectively?

Small activist groups should focus on:

  • Internal communication: What chat apps do you use to communicate internally (with your core team and with other volunteers)? For example, use a WhatsApp group for new people, and a Slack workspace for your most active volunteers.

  • Basic website: allow new people to learn more about your organisation, events you organize, and sign up as a volunteer or donate money. For example, set up a Wordpress website and embed an Action Network form.

  • Email marketing: Keep your supporters up-to-date by sending emails to large groups of people, or sending automatic welcome messages to new volunteers. For example, use Action Network.

  • Social media accounts: Create accounts on whatever social media platforms are popular among your target audience. You can level up by using a social media manager such as Meta Business Suite or Hootsuite.

Level 2: Connecting tools

As your organisation grows, you will start using more and more digital tools. For example, you might use an email marketing platform, a CRM to integrate new volunteers, and a fundraising tool for receiving donations. You might have information about individuals stored in different systems.

Using tools such as Zapier or N8N you can synchronise data between tools. For example, you can automatically ask supporters to donate if they have not done so already. Or you can adapt your email marketing based on people's involvement as volunteers.

You might also want to automatically export data from a certain tool to another, for example to make dashboards.

Level 3: Data warehouse

As you set up more and more data synchronisations and automations, you might notice your digital infrastructure becomes too difficult to manage effectively. You might also notice that only a small number of people have the know-how to manage and use these systems. This prevents other people in your organisation from effectively making use of all data.

A data warehouse can help you overcome these obstacles. For example, your data warehouse can look like this:

  • One central database: A database in which you store data coming from different many different tools.

  • Easy-to-use data apps: A data app such as Directus allows you to make dashboards, manage data and set permissions, without needing technical expertise. Directus allows you to work directly with data from your central database.

  • Custom app development platform: You might discover that you need a user-friendly interface for a specific audience. Using an app development platform such as Supabase you can develop such (web) apps with relative ease, while working with the same central database.

  • Extend your digital infrastructure using a synchronisation tool: With a tool such as or n8n, you can connect any tool. This allows you to fetch data from and send data to, for example, your:

    • CMS

    • CRM

    • Email marketing system

    • Analytics

    • Forms

    • Fundraising platform

    • Booking platform

    • Ticketing system

Skills digital organizers need

  • Tech Skills: Learn how to use digital tools, apps, websites.

  • Social Media Know-How: Understand how to post, tweet, share.

  • Writing Skills: Write clear, short messages. Get people's attention.

  • Storytelling: Share stories of change. Make people care.

  • Networking: Connect with people online. Build a team.

  • Research: Find information on the web. Know what's happening.

  • Strategy: Plan your moves. Target the right people.

  • Data Analysis: Look at numbers. See what's working.

  • Problem Solving: Fix issues fast. Keep things running.

  • Adaptability: Be ready for change. Keep learning.

Training & support

Contact the following organisations for one-on-one support:

There are many more training & support organisations you can reach out to for help. The organisations above put their focus on digital organizing.

Feel free to add other organisations, but please stick to those that strictly work together with activists.

External resources


The awesome authors of these resources published their work under a Creative Commons licence (or similar). This means we can reuse their work freely without worrying about copyright:

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Possible topics:

  • Intro to Digital Organizing

    • The difference between online communication, mobilizing and organizing (see resource Tectonica)
  • Engagement ladder (link to our other guide)

    • Outreach: Finding Our People Online

    • Integration

  • Tools for digital organizing

    • Communication platforms

      • Email Writing & Targeting

      • Text messaging

      • etc.

  • Building Online Communities: should you?

  • Mobile Campaigning

  • Online challenges

    • Digital Safety & Security

    • Etc. see our tools chapter


  • AI was used to generate parts of this article: We do this to start off stub articles with some content. This way, people contributing do not have to start with an empty page.

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