Creating a Facebook Page for Your Campaign or Cause

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This post from the blog of my consulting firm was written for a business audience but applies just as much to political campaigns and organizations:

How to Create a Facebook Page: The Simple Steps Are The Most Important

Creating a Facebook page, also known as a Facebook business page or Facebook fan page, is probably one of the best things you can do right now to boost your brand, small business, non-profit, or political campaign. Some marketing experts believe capturing your Facebook page name (along with your Twitter URL) is proving almost as important as capturing your Internet domain name. And best of all, it’s free to get started. (Read the rest at carrcommunications.com)

Update Your BlueBroward Profile

I invite you to update your BlueBroward.org volunteer profile to share details on the issues you care about and the skills you can bring to a campaign. Some candidates like to make their profile public and share some additional details, besides what they put in their campaign profile. But mostly this is meant to be a way for volunteers to connect with each other and with worthy campaigns.

The link to update your profile is displayed at the top of the screen when you log in. It shows the date your profile was last updated — several years ago for some of you who signed up early, when this site got its start after the Kerry vs. Bush election.

Update Your Profile Prompt

Make your profile public if you want it to appear on the Members page, or just fill in the details so I can try to match you up with campaigns that could use your skills.

You can upload a photo to appear with your profile, or you can register on the Gravitar service, which works with multiple blogs and social networking services. Gravitar has some nicer features for uploading, resizing, and cropping the photo or cartoon avatar image you upload.

Members Page
Members Page

How to Post a Campaign On BlueBroward.org

Just as any BlueBroward.org member can post events or blog entries, any BlueBroward member can post a campaign listing.

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When you log in, you should see Campaigns as one of the first options on the welcome screen or “Dashboard.” Click “Add New” to create a new campaign listing. The editor is similar to the one for blog posts and events, except for a couple of options at the bottom of the screen asking you to categorize the campaign by type, level, and election year.

How To Post to the BlueBroward Blog

Every BlueBroward member is invited to share opinions, criticisms, candidate endorsements, and tips for more effective organizing on the BlueBroward Community Blog, either regularly or occasionally. I reserve the right to edit or delete postings at my own discretion, but my goal is to encourage discussion, not to be a censor.

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Posting a blog is really no more complicated than writing an email, but there are still a few things to learn if you have never done it before. So here are a few tips to get you oriented.

When you first log in, the welcome screen or “Dashboard” shows links to the screens for common tasks, including posting a blog. The “Posts” menu on the left hand side of the screen also gives options for adding new entries or editing existing blog entries. (You will only be able to edit ones that you have posted, although you can respond to other members’ blog entries in the comments section).

Continue reading “How To Post to the BlueBroward Blog”

How to Post and Maintain Club Listings

This is an update for Democratic club presidents and other people who hold official or unofficial meetings in support of the Democratic cause on a regular basis.

When an organization registers with BlueBroward, I create an event template that includes the name of the organization and boilerplate details like the regular meeting schedule and meeting place. This doesn’t stop you from posting events on a different schedule, or a different place, but my intention is to make it easy to confirm a regularly scheduled meeting and add details as necessary. (If you need me to create a template or update a club template, please contact me at david@bluebroward.org as right now I don’t have it set up so you can do that yourself.)

In this example, I’m logged in as Larry Wanderman, one of the leaders of the Wyndmoor Democratic Club. The “Dashboard” of options that welcomes me is displaying options that are available to all BlueBroward members (such as the ability to post blog entries). But it also includes a section specific to the Wyndmoor club.

Club Officer's Dashboard

Continue reading “How to Post and Maintain Club Listings”

Invitation to Candidates

Update June 6, 2010: New instructions available here.

BlueBroward.org essentially offers free advertising to candidates to help them promote themselves and their events, and recruit volunteers. So I’m puzzled that more candidates don’t take advantage of it. Part of it may be that some candidates don’t know about it, or their campaign staffs don’t. Maybe some are leery of aligning themselves with some political faction represented on this website. But really the only institutional bias here is toward greater grassroots involvement and energy in Democratic politics.

Frankly, although I would like to have more campaigns represented here, I don’t have time to go chasing them down for the sake of this volunteer venture. But I encourage you to talk to your favorite candidates about BlueBroward as a resource.

Any BlueBroward.org member can register a campaign on the website. I just ask that you do it with the permission and knowledge of the campaign. If you get my emails but don’t remember your password, there is an “Email My Password” function on the login page to let you recover it.

Campaigns and their supporters are also entitled to post any and all events to the BlueBroward Calendar and to post entries in the community blog. I reserve editorial control, but I have rarely even been tempted to delete something a member has posted.

Just today, I made a couple of changes to the campaign registration form to try to make it easier for members to complete. Essentially, I’m looking for the name of the campaign, the office you’re seeking, a brief blurb about the campaign, a link to your own website if you have one, and contact info so volunteers know how to reach you.

The link to the campaign registration form is at the top of the campaign listings page.

The register campaign form itself looks like this:

register_campaign2

Once you have created an event, you can return to this page at any time to update the listing.

Also, at the very bottom of the page, there is an option to “Delegate/Share Responsibility” that you can use to allow another campaign representative to edit the campaign profile or post events on behalf of the campaign.

If you try it, and it’s not as easy as I say it is, feel free to contact me with questions or complaints.

– David F. Carr, david@bluebroward.org, 954-757-5827

Organizing for America’s Idea of “Change”

Real change in health care comes from changes in the law, not a patchwork of temporary fixes.

The Obama campaign changed its name after the election… from Obama for America to “Organizing for America.” Its intent was to continue the momentum of the campaign by getting Americans involved, but Organizing for America does not, in fact, state a specific agenda that we should be involved in.

Organizing for America is a project of the Democratic National Committee. OFA is promoting National Health Care Day of Service, and I recently attended two health care reform meetings promoted through OFA. One was hosted by Dianne Zeller, who named her group Organizing for America, Hollywood Chapter. That meeting was held on June 13th, a week after OFA had suggested that meetings be held to discuss health care reform across the country. The first such meeting I attended had been the week prior on June 6th, which was when health care reform meetings were suggested by OFA. That meeting was hosted by Sandy Davies, a chapter head in North Miami for Progressive Democrats of America. The two health care reform meetings discussed the same agenda, but both took different approaches to reforming health care.

OFA has provided an agenda for those meetings in order to plan for National Health Care Day of Service on June 27th. It suggested community service efforts like contributing to a food bank, organizing a blood drive or starting a “victory garden.” Such efforts were discussed at the Hollywood meeting, and it was suggested that a food drive could be organized in Hollywood that could also promote what the North Miami meeting had proposed: a march and rally to support single payer health care and House Bill 676- enhancing Medicare for all Americans.

Since that meeting, however, Dianne Zeller has communicated her intent to either hold her own rally on the 27th, which she then said was not feasible, or hold food and blood drives before and after the 27th. While the North Miami meeting has planned on a National Health Care Day of Service effort that specifically promotes legislation that will reform health care and is supported by Progressive Democrats of America, the Hollywood meeting’s plan is specifically along the lines of what is suggested by Organizing for America in regards to a local charity effort.

I also attended an Organizing for America Listening Tour event in Plantation last night. The agenda there was very non-specific, and did not target any specific legislation that has been proposed in Congress. Their intent was to ensure that members of the community “support the President.” While the dialogue from the two employees of OFA was akin to corporate-speak, the dialogue from much of the audience in attendance was unsurprisingly angry and more determined to see legislative change that would benefit individual Americans rather than just huge corporations. Not only was that dichotomy evident, but the OFA representatives voiced their belief that food and blood drives and similar community efforts across the country on the 27th would get huge national attention for health care reform.

Patching the immediate problems in regards to lack of food or the need for stockpiles of blood, let alone feel-good efforts like starting a garden are vital ways of building a sense of community and helping others, but they are continuous efforts that Americans can always get involved in every day. Targeting specific legislation that is on the table in Congress right now is what really leads to reforming health care for all Americans. Progressive Democrats of America’s intent to promote legislation rather than do something like a local food drive is evidenced by the North Miami’s choice to march and rally for single payer health care.

Some of us who attended the Hollywood meeting had expected that we would hold a food drive during the day on the 27th in Hollywood that could promote the march and rally for single payer health care that evening in North Miami, but Dianne Zeller is apparently resistant to that effort. I think that Dianne’s approach is emblematic of what Organizing for America is lacking in really effecting change in America.

Change doesn’t come from promoting the continuation of a patchwork of community efforts to feed the hungry and bank pints of blood and start neighborhood gardens. Change comes from legislation that involves the heft and financing of the government to solve social problems, not a patchwork of community volunteers constantly trying to fix small and immediate problems that never end.

I was extremely disappointed in last night’s OFA Listening Tour meeting. OFA has thus far organized volunteers to ask other Americans to “sign a pledge” to support the President. Pledging support does not achieve what the last Presidential campaign was able to accomplish: getting needed votes.

Until the next election, we need votes not of “support” from Americans for an ethereal agenda of “affordable insurance premiums” and “quality health care” and “expanding coverage” as promised by OFA employees last night, but votes for legislation from our Congressional representatives. Small neighborhood food and blood drives will not promote specific legislation in Congress, and real change in health care comes from changes in the law, not a patchwork of temporary fixes.

Like many people I spoke to at the Listening Tour meeting last night, Organizing for American completely failed to inspire me to do anything that will effect change in America. I’ll stick with the very specific agenda of Progressive Democrats of America. On National Health Care Day of Service, I’ll be marching and rallying with members of North Miami’s Progressive Democrats of America to show my support and encourage the support of other Americans in the community for HR-676 or similar legislation that will effect real and tangible health care reform in the United States of America.

I expect that as time goes on, we’ll have a nearby PDA chapter in Broward County, too, and members will be coordinating efforts with PDA across the country to effect real, tangible legislative change and get more progressives elected in Washington and throughout the country. Right now, in these next few weeks and on National Health Care Day of Service, we need health care reform across America, not just temporary patches in our neighborhoods.

New Meeting / Events Editor, RSVP Function

I have just updated the form for posting events to the BlueBroward Calendar to feature a more user friendly “rich text editor,” which means it should be easier for folks to add links, as well as bold and italic text and other effects to their calendar entries. Like anything technical that’s new, it may have some bugs to be worked out, so just yell if you run into problems. (I did test it first, honest, but it may turn out I’ve missed something).

The main thing that’s new is this rich text editor, which is courtesy of a user interface library developed by Yahoo. The button you use to add a link looks like a link in a chain, and most of the other buttons should be fairly self-explanatory.

The new editor provides rich text editing options
The new editor provides rich text editing options

If you are going to be posting meetings regularly for a Democratic Club or campaign, I ask you to set up an event template for that organization and associate all events for that club or campaign with that template. For a club, the template is the boilerplate information about your club, where it meets, and what its regular schedule is. When you post a new event, that information will be filled in by default. You can add other details, and you can always post an event for a different date or location, but associating all events with the record for your organization in the database helps keep things organized. Your organization can also designate multiple people with rights to post and edit events, so that you can back each other up.

The function for editing the club/organization template used to be down at the bottom of the screen. Now, you click on the button on the right hand sign of the screen that says “Switch to Template Editor” and the options will change from asking you to pick a specific date to picking a schedule such as “First Tuesday” (can also be “Varies Month to Month” if you don’t have a regular schedule).

For campaigns, the campaign profile functions as the event template. Again, multiple people can be designated with rights to edit the campaign profile and post / edit events on behalf of the campaign.

If you want to collect RSVPs through BlueBroward, you can now do so. Note that this is an option: if you use some other service such as Meetup to help you organize events, I’m not going to force you to use my RSVP setup. Instead, you can just link to the page for your event on Meetup.

On the other hand, I know some of you have gotten away from using Meetup because of the fees they charge, and for some of you it may be simpler to handle RSVPs for a Democratic event through BlueBroward. To turn on that feature, you must supply an email address where notifications can be sent as RSVPs come in.

You can also add some instructions for how you want the form filled out by attendees. By default, the RSVP form asks for name, phone number, and email address, but there’s also a space for people to provide other information. For example, you might want to ask people to tell you what they will be bringing for a pot luck dinner. Or you might have specific information you have to supply for the security detail at a presidential visit.

Along with the instructions, you can add a confirmation message to be displayed after the RSVP is entered. This information will also be included in an email confirmation that goes to the attendee. For example, if there is a charge for event, you might want to include reminders about the pricing and where checks should be mailed.

The RSVP fields aren’t displayed when you first open the web page that includes the form. They will appear when you click the link “Click to Set RSVP options”

How to display the RSVP options
How to display the RSVP options

I wouldn’t suggest asking for RSVPs for every monthly meeting of a Democratic Club, but rather for special events for which it would be helpful to get a good headcount.

When you set a request for RSVPs, a link to the RSVP page for your event will be displayed as part of your event listing on the BlueBroward Calendar. Users who click on that link will be taken to a page like the one below.

Entering an RSVP
Entering an RSVP

When someone completes the form, an email will be sent to the email address you supplied (by default, the one associated with your account, although you can provide a different email if you prefer). A list of the people who have responded will also be displayed on your MyPage Menu page.

None of this is carved in stone, so let me know if you run into something that doesn’t work the way it ought to.

March & Rally for Single Payer Healthcare in North Miami June 27th

Organizing for America asked Americans to gather together on June 6th to discuss health care reform.

Progressive Democrats of North Miami Dade had a productive meeting that evening in North Miami Beach, which included attendees from Broward because there is not yet a PDA chapter here.

A march and rally supporting single payer health care was planned for a couple of weeks from now. Here is the summary of the meeting and that plan:

We had a great meeting with a lot of personal stories about the inequities, absurdities and tragedies of the U.S. for-profit medical industry, and some good analysis of the underlying political and economic culture of exploitation, corruption and inhumanity that has produced this terrible mess.

More importantly, we developed a plan of action to build support in our local community for a national, not-for profit, publicly-funded healthcare system.

Our work will climax in a March and Rally for Single Payer Healthcare on Saturday June 27th in North Miami. Here is the tentative plan. Please let me know asap if you have suggestions for changes to this plan:

– We will gather in Griffing Park in North Miami at 5 p.m. (West Dixie and NE 122nd Street).
– We will march up West Dixie Highway to NE 125th Street, and then along NE 125th Street to MOCA Plaza (before NE 8th Avenue).
– At the major intersection at NE 6th Avenue, we can pause for a honk-and-wave and to distribute flyers.
– We will hold a rally in MOCA Plaza at 6 p.m. with several speakers.

Between now and then:

* We will each write to and call our elected representatives in Congress to tell them that we support HR676 and S703. We will ask Representative Meek, who has co-sponsored HR676, to take a real leadership role on this issue. We will ask Representative Wasserman Schultz and Senator Nelson to reject plans to expand the corporate for-profit medical industry and instead sign on to HR676 and S703.

* We will each spread the word through our own contact networks, by phone, e-mail and text-messaging. Our goal is to activate others to join the single payer movement and do all the things20that we are doing. We recognize that this is a “viral” movement that is taking over the country via word-of-mouth and the internet, so we will maximize these strategies.

* And we will stay in touch with each other to organize door-to-door canvassing, leafleting in public places20and other activities. If you want to do some canvassing or leafletting at a particular place and time, let the rest of us know and hopefully you won’t be out there alone – this sort of work is easier and more fun that way. We will work as a democratic group and share initiatives and ideas with each other.

Here are some online resources that should be helpful:

PDA web site: www.pdamerica.org

To order FREE Healthcare not Warfare flyers (you only pay for the postage):
www.pdamerica.org/pdastore/index.php?act=viewProd&product Id=139

Physicians for a National Health Program web site (lots of good resources and info): www.pnhp.org

The Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Healthcare (National Nurses Organizing Committee and California Nurses Association): www.guaranteedhealthcare.org

PDA board member David Swanson sends out concise and informative action alerts on healthcare and warfare issues. You can sign up at: www.afterdowningstreet.org

David’s web site currently has a link to the House Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee hearing on Single Payer Healthcare at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, hopefully with a video feed when the time comes.

For further information about the Progressive Democrats of America North Miami-Dade Chapter and the July 27th March & Rally, contact:

Sandy Davies
Progressive Democrats of North Miami Dade
peacetopower@aol.com

How to Post a Blog Entry

Come on, help me out here, folks. I’m looking for a few other people to post occasional blog entries here on whatever thoughts they would like to share. It would add variety and generally be more fun than me doing this all myself.

Just log in, click on the “Post a Blog” button on the right side of the screen, and you should ent up at a screen like the one shown below.

You will see that there’s a nice little “rich text editor,” which means you don’t have to deal with HTML coding, you just highlight a world or phrase and click the B button to mark it bold or the I to mark it italic. You do the same thing with the button that looks like a link in a chain to add a link to another website or web page. You’re working in WordPress, one of the most popular blogging tools, so it’s pretty slick.

WordPress editing screen
WordPress editing screen

When it looks pretty good to you, you can click Publish. Or save it as a draft and come back to it later.

If you want to get a little fancier, you can also assign your entry to a category like “Volunteers Needed” or add free-form tags (a tag might be the name of a candidate or a topic not included in the categories list).

Give it a try and tell me what you think.

This is intended as a resource for the occasional blogger, who has opinions to share but doesn’t want to go to the trouble of setting up an independent blog, as well as for the more established bloggers who would like to post here occasionally, if only to link back to material on their own blogs or websites.

This is an experiment for me, too, but all I really ask is that your posts reflect the mission of building the Broward Democratic Party and the grassroots volunteer community. It’s OK to be provocative and stir up a good argument with your fellow Dems. If I have to remove offensive or inappropriate posts, I will, but in general I would rather foster a climate of healthy debate.