Relational Organizing at Scale: When to Run an Incentivized vs Volunteer Program

Relational Organizing at Scale: When to Run an Incentivized vs Volunteer Program

Session Type(s): Panel

Starts: Saturday, Jul. 15 3:45 PM (Central)

Ends: Saturday, Jul. 15 4:45 PM (Central)

Room: Salon C-3/4

In 2022, we saw the first-ever experiments demonstrating the persuasive impact of relational. This new research shows relational organizing can be more impactful and efficient than other modes of campaign communication such as TV, mail and door, and latest advancements have finally unlocked the ability of relational to scale. This panel will examine the new research around RO’s persuasive impact and the innovations in the space that have allowed groups to scale—from paid relational programs to volunteer ones that leverage growth over time. In this panel, experienced relational organizers will discuss their paid vs volunteer campaign strategies, outcomes and the lessons learned from the largest relational campaigns this last cycle.



Amanda Brink

Amanda Brink is a longtime Wisconsin political operative who brings over a decade of experience to Empower Project as Deputy Executive Director. Prior to joining Empower Project, Amanda served as campaign manager 2 statewide campaigns, including Tony Evers for State Superintendent where he doubled his fundraising from previous cycles and won with 70% of the vote. Amanda got her start in politics with OFA in 2007, was also the GOTV Director for Wisconsin in 2016, worked on the Democratic National Convention Committee, and served as the Operations Director for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin for 6 years.

Amanda has extensive experience in operations, grassroots organizing, voter mobilization, fundraising, digital engagement, campaign management, campaign advance, logistics and more. She enjoys vlookup and spending time with her husband and two maltese puppies→ Blue & Gizmo.

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Quinn Dunlea

Quinn is from a family of teachers who are very active in their union in South Jersey and was inspired to go into politics after watching Gov Chris Christie’s attacks on public education. They graduated from American University and became an organizer for Danica Roem’s historic 2017 campaign for House of Delegates. After that election they caught the organizing bug, and stayed in Virginia as a Regional Director for NextGen, helping register more than 25k students to vote in 2018. In 2019 they moved to Philadelphia to be NextGen’s Organizing Director, before hopping onto Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign as Out of State Director. They redeployed to Utah as GOTV Director before Senator Warren suspended her campaign. They moved to Alaska to finish out the cycle as Field Director for Alyse Galvin’s run for Congress, running a statewide relational program and distributed phones program to adapt to COVID restrictions. Following 2020 they took a little time off before coming on board as the National Organizing Director for the DLCC. The DLCC organizing program was incredibly successful with more than 18 million doors knocked, helping lead to the best midterm outcomes for the President’s party since at least 1934. Quinn then joined the NY WFP as Field Coordinator during the 2023 primary, which they just concluded. They are looking forward to their next opportunity to elect progressives and expand the electorate, and are excited to gather with the Netroots Community this year.

Amity Foster

Amity Foster is the Data Manager at ISAIAH, a multi-faith, multi-racial statewide coalition of leaders fighting for racial, economic and social justice, and for Faith in Minnesota; our sister c4 and a political home for people who want to create people-centered politics, grounded in abundance and not scarcity. She started out as an executive assistant at ISAIAH, then a leader in criminal justice organizing, and started to get clear that the institutions we all move in can either bring more people into democracy, or continue to keep people out. She believes that we build power and make systemic change when people claim their own agency and voice, and move together, with shared values and agendas. Grassroots data helps us tell the story of that power, through leadership development and basebuilding, and she is interested in tracking that growth, in a systemic way-of leaders in their own networks and bases and how that connects back to grassroots organizations and builds power for the organization AND individual.

Other sessions: How Data Engineering Can Make Organizers' Dreams Come True

Sri Kulkarni


Sri Preston Kulkarni is the founder of Relational Futures, a consulting firm specializing in relational organizing. Previously he was the Democratic nominee for US Congress (TX-22) twice, served Chief of External Affairs for AmeriCorps in the Biden Administration, was a Pearson Fellow in the US Senate, and served 14 years as a US Foreign Service Officer.

In 2017, following the Charlottesville Nazi rally, Sri resigned from the Foreign Service and returned home to Texas, where he ran for Congress in a district that had been won by the Republican incumbent by 34.9%. Sri built a 27-language relational voter turnout network that cut the margin to 4.9% and helped flip his county blue for the first time in his lifetime. After his own race, Sri helped the Ossoff campaign in Georgia build 160,000 voter relational voter turnout network for his successful 2021 Senate runoff. In August 2022, Sri returned home to launch 2 Million Texans, a relational network using the REACH platform, which currently has over 7,300 volunteers and over 500,000 voters in the network. Sri’s mission is to continue growing relational networks across the country in order to increase Democratic turnout (especially among hard-to-reach populations such as Gen Z, immigrants, and low-income communities of color) and flip districts and states that were previously considered unwinnable.

Sri earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School, speaks Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Hebrew, and Hindi, and is a native of Houston, Texas. He currently resides in Austin.

Sri can be contacted at