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Salsa Case Study: Young Democrats of America Empowers Young Leaders Across the Nation with Salsa
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Salsa Case Study: Young Democrats of America Empowers Young Leaders Across the Nation with Salsa

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Young Democrats of America’s (YDA) membership is driven at the state and local levels, but overseen by a national office with only one full-time staff member. Using Salsa's chapters and syndication …

Young Democrats of America’s (YDA) membership is driven at the state and local levels, but overseen by a national office with only one full-time staff member. Using Salsa's chapters and syndication features, they were able to unify and maximize their efforts across the country without overburdening staff and volunteers.

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  • 1. Empowering Youth Today to beTomorrow’s LeadersWith approximately 1,500 chapters and 200,000members, YDA is active in all 50 states and U.S.territories. YDA’s programs engage youngDemocrats through high school, college andcounty chapters, as well as state and regionalprogramming, and its national conferences andissue advocacy work.YDA became an organization independent of theDemocratic National Committee (DNC) in 2003.State-based and local organizing are thecornerstones of YDA’s efforts to build a solidgroup of young Democratic voters.“We made a decision that the youth arm of theparty could be more effective if we had a totallyseparate organization,” said Rod Snyder,president, Young Democrats of America. “It wasa very big step for us to branch out on our own.We have established a professional organizationand no small part of that has been ourinvolvement with Salsa.”The Young Democrats of America (YDA) is the largest youth-led, national,partisan political organization in the United States. YDA engages young peopleunder the age of 36 to participate in the electoral process, influence the idealsof the Democratic Party and take on leadership roles to develop the skillsnecessary for public service.http://www.yda.orgoffice@yda.orgfacebook.com/youngdems@youngdemsYDA
  • 2. SolutionThe Ability to Organize with One Integrated PlatformChallengeEffective Data Management with an All-Volunteer StaffYDA’s membership is driven at the state and locallevels. Chapters are given latitude to operatein the manner that best serves their area, withsupplemental services from YDA’s national officefor member recruitment and development. Withthe growing list of chapters and the volume ofpart-time volunteers, organizing and maintainingaccurate and current data was a challenge.YDA needed an effective way to manage all of itschapters, improve inter-chapter communicationand most importantly, expand local chapters intonew territories.With YDA’s numerous chapters and affiliates,Salsa’s scalable Chapter Management toolsetmakes it easy for them to establish onlinecampaigns. The robust solution provides localvolunteers with access to DEMopolis informationthat has been segmented for each chapter. YDAchapters can streamline record-keeping and avoidduplication of lists, create action and donationpages, and send their own email — while enabling“In 2005, we implemented Salsa’sorganizing platform and branded itDEMopolis,” said Rod. “It was areally important point in our evolution — amembership management platform thatwas capable, complex and sophisticatedenough to handle multiple layers ofmembership and chapters.”national-level managers to maintain controland oversight.Salsa helps YDA and its chapters to:• Improve communication with its members.• Recruit new members and build email lists.• Effectively collect, manage, organize and utilizemembership data.
  • 3. • Create petitions, write letters to the editor andreach legislators.• Create listserves for each chapter, committee orsubgroup.• Host events, accept RSVPs, and communicateto attendees.With a limited budget and multiple activitiesaround the country, YDA relies on Salsa toorganize back-end operations as well as generatevisibility. With only one full-time staff memberat the national office, it is critical to have a setof tools that enable all of the chapters and newmembership information to be inputted at thelocal level.“With Salsa, it doesn’t matter what our staffstructure looks like, said Rod “We have alwaysbeen able to effectively handle our membershipmanagement functions. It has really become thecenterpiece of the organization’s membershipinfrastructure.”Salsa enables the local chapters to syndicatecontent with its affiliates, who can thenmodify the content as needed. Its user structurealso handles the complex web of organizationsinvolved, allowing national and state-levelcampaign managers to quickly and seamlesslyshare campaigns.YDA engages its members in online advocacy andlegislative issues. With Salsa’s advocacy tools,members can participate in any issue, and onlyneed their address to send messages to theirspecific legislator or a custom target.Rod added, “It’s pretty simple for us to set upon the back end. We’ve seen thousands andthousands of our members respond to acall-to-action, and we believe it has helped onadvocacy campaigns like the repeal of ‘Don’t AskDon’t Tell’ as well as other issues important to ourgeneration. It allows young people to be moreinvolved and use their voice by contactingmembers of Congress. That’s very powerful.”Salsa’s email marketing and outreach andreporting tools are used by YDA in DEMopolisregularly. With Salsa’s custom query andreporting tools, YDA has complete control of itsown data in DEMopolis and can take advantage ofmore accurate campaign reports and statistics.YDA’s database links members, actions, eventsand donations, giving the organization access toan unlimited list of measurements.With Salsa, it doesn’t matter what our staff structure looks like, we havealways been able to effectively handle our membership managementfunctions. It has really become the centerpiece of the organization’smembership infrastructure- Rod Snyder, president, Young Democrats of America
  • 4. salsalabs.com 866-796-8345 facebook.com/salsalabs @salsalabsSuccessesSuccessful Campaigns Focus on What Interests Young People MostYDA has been very successful managing itsadvocacy and fundraising efforts on thenational level.“We try to take the temperature of our membershipto get a sense for the types of things they’d getenthusiastic about,” said Rod. “A couple of yearsago it became very clear that ‘Dont Ask, Don’t Tell’was something that resonated with young people.”Utilizing Salsa’s organizing platform, YDAmanaged a multifaceted campaign. Theydistributed press releases, blog posts, email blastsand calls to action to Congress. They hostedconference calls with constituency groups andthey worked with each chapter to make sure itsmembers were informed and involved.“I think that when young people get engaged,people pay attention,” said Rod. “When you havethousands of college students and people in their20s coming together to support a cause, it’sa big deal.”Salsa’s reporting functionality enables YDA tomeasure success through the response rates of itscampaigns, enabling them to learn what’s workingand where adjustments can be made - criticalelements of a successfulissue-advocacy campaign.“There were two times in the last Congress wherethe Senate switchboard shut down because theywere overwhelmed with calls — one was rightbefore the healthcare vote and the other was rightbefore the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ bill was votedon,” said Emily Tisch Sussman, executive director,Young Democrats of America. “The shut down wasa direct result of YDA’s action alert. That could onlybe done with a combination of groups pushing outour messages.”Youth to Take an Active Rolein DemocracyYDA wants to see youth involvement in the politicalprocess by playing an active role in democracy atevery level. With a limited staff, YDA relies on Salsato maintain a truly nationwide organization thatcan communicate effectively with its members.The technology enables the nonprofit to grow itsmembership and provide the visibility needed toget young people involved.“ The organization is almost 100%volunteer-based,” said Rod. “The beauty of Salsais you can have a really robust professionalorganization with minimal staff activity. We can’tfunction without a tool like this moving forward.”Salsa helps nonprofits and political campaigns ignite action and fuel changearound the world by growing and engaging a base of support online. Salsaprovides more than technology; it offers strategic best practices, training,highly rated support and a strong online community, so its clients can focustheir energy on their mission.

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