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BREAKING: MoveOn Makes A Bet That A Million Progressive Leaders Are Yet To Be Sparked

And we’re going all in to encourage as many of them to step up as possible. WATCH:

Tell me more — what exactly is your Million Leaders strategy?

“Million Leaders” is our strategy to unleash a surge of previously untapped people power by encouraging and supporting MoveOn members and other progressives to step up as the leaders of their own campaigns for social change.

This means MoveOn will double down on the approach it pioneered with its SignOn.org petition tool, making more aspects of its online toolset available to members who lead their own campaigns and organizing efforts — and helping those leaders tap into the collective people power of MoveOn members. MoveOn’s staff of expert campaigners will support and turbocharge the most promising campaigns. The strategy is intended to strengthen our impact on prominent national debates, while also leading to a surge of progressive activism at the local and state levels.

This means that if you’re a MoveOn member or a progressive, you have an important role to play. Our strategy only works if people like you step up as leaders and work with MoveOn to engage others in campaigns for progressive change.

I want to step up as a leader. How do I do it?

There are several ways you can step up and engage MoveOn members as you lead your own campaign for social change, whether at the local, state, or national level. You can use our petition tool, SignOn.org, to create an online petition calling for the change you’re campaigning for. If you gather at least 20 signatures, we’ll email your petition to a random sample of MoveOn members — and if they find it compelling, we’ll send it to more, helping you activate our collective people power. You can also join the local MoveOn volunteer Council if there’s one in your area, contributing your ideas and energy as a leader in the fight for progress.

Do I have to step up and lead, or can I remain a MoveOn member like I’ve always been?

Thousands of MoveOn members across the country are stepping up as leaders in fights to improve their communities and the country, and we hope that you’ll consider doing the same. If you do so, we’ll provide you with tools and training, and other MoveOn members will have your back.

But we also realize that not every MoveOn member wants to run a campaign, at least not right now, and that’s just fine. You can remain a MoveOn member like you’ve always been, and we’ll connect you with excellent campaigns led by other MoveOn members that are likely to be of interest to you.

I love this strategy — can I chip in some money to support it?

Thanks for asking. :-) It’ll take a lot of resources to build the tools that MoveOn members will need for this strategy to succeed, and many MoveOn members are already pitching in. You can make a contribution to MoveOn here.

Your SignOn.org petition tool is great — but I’ve heard you’re also developing other tools I can use in my campaigns. What are they and when will they be available?

We’ve already begun adding new features to the SignOn.org petition platform. You can now use SignOn.org to email people who join your campaign by signing your petition, and to mobilize activists to make phone calls to your petition target. As part of our Million Leaders strategy, we’ll continue to add new functionality to the SignOn.org platform and may develop other tools as well. Our vision is that eventually, as a campaign leader, you’ll have the power to use MoveOn tools to organize and host events such as rallies, petition deliveries, and house parties, to empower your supporters to mobilize each other with phone calls, and to raise funds with which you can support your campaign.

Does this new strategy mean you’re shifting away from national campaigning, or from focusing on a few key campaign priorities?

Actually, we expect that this new strategy will make us more powerful in national campaigns. And you should expect to see MoveOn remain as a progressive leader in the most prominent national debates of the day. This strategy will give more MoveOn members the tools, encouragement, and resources they need to step up as leaders in prominent national fights, and our staff will have their backs and help them turbocharge those campaigns.

And at the same time, MoveOn members who want to create progressive change at the state and local levels will have the tools they need to step up and win campaigns there too. So in addition to increased national power, we expect this strategy to unleash a surge of campaigning at the state and local levels.

What does this mean about the role MoveOn plays in elections?

MoveOn.org Political Action will remain a potent electoral force. But some of the way we approach elections will be different, with our members more directly in the driver’s seat. We’ve got a lot of ideas about how this Million Leaders strategy can increase our electoral muscle, and we’re excited to experiment and see which of these new ideas prove most effective.

If you’re building an open platform, what’s to keep folks on the right wing or big corporations from using SignOn.org and your other tools to pursue policies that are anything but progressive?

MoveOn is and always will be proudly, unabashedly progressive. Our more than 7 million members wouldn’t have it any other way. What this means in practice is that MoveOn staff won’t promote or offer support to any efforts by the right to use our tools, and given that MoveOn members aren’t likely to support those efforts either, it’s hard to see how conservative efforts to co-opt them could prove successful

What will make MoveOn different than other companies and organizations that provide online organizing tools?

MoveOn members’ collective progressive people power is unparalleled — we’re more than 7 million strong and growing rapidly. And only our tools allow progressive leaders to tap into that people power. Other things you should know: we’re unabashedly progressive, we’re not beholden to any political party, and we’re non-profit. We’ll never allow others to pay us to promote petitions, and we do not accept corporate contributions.

Why do this now?

Progressives just won a resounding electoral victory — and yet in many ways, the Washington establishment is still refusing to deliver the change Americans voted for. Politicians are still focused on austerity, when the people want a focus on job creation. On gun violence, on climate change, on immigration, the status quo isn’t enough. Corporate lobbyists still have too much corrupting influence. Progressives need a bold stroke to dramatically increase our grassroots power. We think this strategy is it.

A MoveOn.org original.