SMS Outreach: What Works, What Doesn’t, and What’s a Waste of Your Time and Money

SMS Outreach: What Works, What Doesn’t, and What’s a Waste of Your Time and Money

Session Type(s): Training

Training Tag(s): Advanced Digital Organizing

Starts: Thursday, Aug. 10 10:30 AM (Eastern)

Ends: Thursday, Aug. 10 11:15 AM (Eastern)

The hottest new tactic of the 2016 election cycle was peer-to-peer texting. It’s a powerful, scalable, and cost-effective organizing tactic that can complement both field and digital programs. But do you know how to run a program, what worked, what’s hype, and what’s possible? If you answered “no” to even one of those questions, you should attend this training. In 2016, sent 6.3 million messages via peer-to-peer SMS, including just under 1 million on Election Day alone, making our program one of the largest in the country. We promise a lively session packed with the information you need to get your own program up and running.

This training is best suited for organizers and consultants who have a background in either digital or field organizing and are looking for opportunities to grow their audience, more deeply engage, and be more nimble and efficient.


Debra Cleaver


Debra Cleaver has been working at the intersection of technology and democracy since 2004. She is the founder of VoteAmerica,,, Long Distance Voter,, and Ready Set Vote. She’s an alum of both Y Combinator and Pomona College, and a former DRK distinguished entrepreneur. Debra’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, C-SPAN, WIRED, SOCAP, Bloomberg, BBC, Buzzfeed News, Forbes, and more. When she’s not working or sleeping, Debra can be found hanging out in San Francisco with her her 19 year old cat, Ramona Quimby Cleaver (aka Mona).

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Hillary Lehr

Hillary Lehr

Hillary specializes in rapid scale at civic tech startups, political tech investment firms, nonprofits and top campaigns.

At Higher Ground Labs, Hillary manages the firm’s portfolio and accelerator programs: coaching startup founders, convening high profile strategic roundtables, and co-launching innovative first-time programs including AllHands, a technical talent recruitment partnership, and Uptime 2020, an important security, bug bounty, & technology reliability program.

Prior to Higher Ground Labs, Hillary led Client Success at Hustle from 2016-2018. Previously, Hillary managed client partnerships and user research initiatives at Brigade and Hillary’s career began in environmental and human rights organizations where she got her start digitalizing nonprofit campaign work during the rise of CRMs, viral petitions, and early social media platforms at Global Exchange and Rainforest Action Network.

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