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it's been a while

Submitted by Jerimee on February 3, 2020 - 1:53pm

A new client reminded me that it has been a while since I posted anything to this blog. I did, however, publish something elsewhere. I've been tooling around with two Drupal modules: field validation and display suite. I wrote up some documentation for field validation here:

It's always hard writing help documentation to know where to start. How much do you assume the reader knows? If you get super thorough with every detail is takes forever to read, and if you don't include enough detail it's only useful for handful of folks.

I've used the display suite module before bundled with panels in the panopoly installation profile, but never on it's own. I had no idea how powerful it was all by itself! A lot of its features I had wrongly attributed to panels. Most of the clients I serve don't have the budget for custom code, so being able to adapt solutions via powerful UI tools like display suite is an attractive prospect.

Choosing the Right CRM: In 5 Steps

Submitted by Emerson on October 4, 2016 - 3:35pm

Step 1: What is your audience?

This is the first step to deciding anything about a CRM, or whether you even need one. Once you specifically know the universe of people you want to reach, then you can begin to think about how you will reach them, and finally how you can organize doing that.

Step 2: What will be your process?

Every organization has a different ladder (or path) that they want their prospects, and eventually supporters, to follow. More specifically, this question forces you to think realistically about how you will interact with your audience, and that allows you to get a better picture of what you need.

e.g. You know you will be doing a lot of offline organizing, and you need a CRM that supports that part of your operation. This type of information is critical when trying to find your solution.

What makes an effective email?

Submitted by Emerson on October 3, 2016 - 3:38pm

When sending out an email to your readers, it is important to engage them on a personal level. The average conversion rate (that is, how many people take action) for an advocacy email is about 10 percent. To maximize this number, you have to maximize your reader's willingness to take action. There are some simple techniques you can deploy to achieve this.

Make multiple personal references to your reader.

The reason why the average conversion rate for an advocacy email is so low is because readers usually don't feel personally obligated to take action. The connection between them and your cause is lost when this happens. Including personal references such as "my friend" or even "you" can make the reader feel as though they have a personal stake in your mission. You can also refer to your reader as a vital part of your group or organization by including colloquialisms such as "together, we can..." or "it is up to us". This is especially important to remember when your email includes demands that require your reader to take further action.

Setting up paths in NationBuilder

Submitted by Emerson on September 19, 2016 - 1:30pm

According to NationBuilder, "a path is a step-by-step workflow that describes how people taking action contribute toward achieving [a] larger goal". In simpler terms, think of the word 'path' in its most literal sense. One path leads to another which leads to another and so on. We use paths to get to where we need to go. Paths in NationBuilder are smaller goals that must be accomplished before moving on to the next. Once the required paths are completed, you'll find yourself at your destination where you've completed your larger, ultimate goal. Paths are also used as organizational and accountability tools. Paths can be assigned to certain people with deadlines so that your workflow can also have a timeline.

Email Outreach

Submitted by Emerson on July 11, 2016 - 6:35pm

When it comes to effective digital campaigning, the best place to start is email. Email allows your organization to directly engage people with your cause for little to no cost. At Richir Outreach, we specialize in increasing the email presence of organizations. Today, we'll explain how.

1. Strong list-building

The most essential part of email campaigning is to have a strong and reliable list. Growing your email list starts with identifying the right people. There are several ways of going about this. You might already have a list of contacts that you've worked with before. Even so, certain services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google ads can route interested people to your page or petition. Other services, such as EveryAction, use other methods such as voter databases to target certain people.

How to understand power

Submitted by Emerson on May 23, 2016 - 2:02pm

Power is a word with many different associations. Some people associate power with knowledge. Some associate power with popularity. Others associate power with force. They are all right. Power comes in all of those forms (and more). Eric Liu defines power as the ability to make others do what you would have them do. Power extends to all areas of life, especially the civic arena. Liu goes on to say that “power governs how any form of government works. It determines who gets to determine the rules of the game.”

Civic power comes from six main sources: physical force, wealth, state action, social norms, ideas, and strength in numbers. Police officers have the power to enforce laws through physical force. Lobbying groups are able to influence policy through wealth. Lawmakers exercise their power by creating laws. Our communities have the power to influence what we deem acceptable and unacceptable in society through social norms. Great ideas often spread like wildfire and gain power through the number of people that support them.

Roy Cooper attends, speaks at reception in Raleigh

Submitted by Emerson on May 23, 2016 - 2:06pm

On Wednesday, May 18th, a reception was held at the home of Christine and George Reddin in support of Roy Cooper's gubernatorial campaign. Cooper, North Carolina's current Attorney General, was in attendance and even gave a short speech to a room full of around 40-50 supporters, donors, legislators, and more.

The host, Christine Reddin, introduced Cooper. She referred to all of the leading voices in the room that came out in support of his campaign that evening. Names such as NC Senate Minority Whip Terry Van Duyn, who is up for reelection in the fall, and NC House Representative Tricia Cotham, who is running for US Congress this year, were in attendance. She also harkened back to a time when North Carolina was considered a progressive beacon of the South and how Cooper and his campaign are aimed at reversing the state's current regressive trend.

Social media strategies for non-profits

Submitted by Emerson on March 21, 2016 - 5:09pm

This morning I got the opportunity to learn about different ways of boosting a non-profit's visibility through social media from Laura Tierney and Gail Marie of the McKinney Ad Agency. As it becomes increasingly necessary to have an online presence, knowing what to share and how to share it can be the difference between successful and unsuccessful engagement. There are several great strategies for engaging the public with your non-profit via social media. These strategies are broken down into two categories: input and output.

Your Campaign's Tumblr Page

Submitted by Kady on August 13, 2015 - 10:41am

A Tumblr blog is fairly simple to use, which means you may be able to add a few functions to it to help it serve as a simple campaign page.

Getting Started

If you already have a tumblr account (with an appropriate email address) that you will use for this campaign, skip this step.

You need an email address to create a tumblr. Get an email address appropriate for your campaign. Visit and fill in the email address, a password, a username, and click Sign Up.

A good Domain Name

You probably do not want to call your campaign tumblr "" -- the .tumblr. in the middle is extra typing to no purpose. If you already own an appropriate domain name then skip to the next step to associate it with this tumblr -- but if not, buy one from an appropriate hosting service ( e.g. )

Below, we will call this hosting service your 'registrar' since it is where you have registered your domain name.

Using Git with Pantheon

Submitted by Kady on July 30, 2015 - 11:35am

Set up a Pantheon Account

First, make sure you have your own Pantheon Account.

If you don't, go get Pantheon and follow the instructions.

Once you do, make sure you're set up as a team member on a site.

Install Git

Install Git on your computer. Don't worry about setting up a repository just yet. Just make sure you have Git installed on your computer.

Set up your SSH Key

  1. Open Git GUI.
  2. Click on Help > Show SSH Key.
  3. Click "Copy To Clipboard".
  4. Go to your Pantheon dashboard and click on "Account".