Case Study

Developing a new digital infrastructure for Citizens UK

When it comes to community organising, a distributed infrastructure is critical. It's key not only to hyperlocal engagement around a larger cause, it allows for more interactive leadership and the ability to address specific issues effectively. Especially when faced with a challenge like the Syrian refugee crisis, community involvement at a macro and micro level requires top-notch coordination. 

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Citizens is the home of community organising in the UK. We were honoured to work with them to build a national website prior to 2015 General Election. Subsequently, the new NationBuilder-powered infrastructure has proved crucial in capturing support for their grassroots campaign to resettle Syrian refugees fleeing conflict.

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Personalised content for every supporter

Citizens UK needed to deliver relevant messaging to individual supporters and move them along predefined levels of engagement. This meant building the central homepage to display content based on a supporter's prior actions in the database.

By reminding supporters of their action items to be completed, we were able to both personalize their experience and outline an explicit path of involvement. This proved far more effective in continued support rather than a singular ask with no room for growing with the cause. 

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Mapping support

Showing ‘social proof’ and real-time on-the-ground impact happening across the UK was a key requirement of the project. We designed a bespoke action map and stream, highlighting live data from their mobile organizing app together with actions in their NationBuilder database.

Visualizing the geographic support allowed those new to the campaign to see how widespread the community was and better identify with other supporters in their region. 

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Distributing leadership

Citizens UK is made up of diverse civil society alliances in London, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Birmingham, Wales and Leeds. Their new website needed to reflect these local groups so we designed news streams for each grassroots area to manage.

Having a distributed leadership model provides opportunities for ardent supporters to represent their community with more intimacy. These personalized interactions between organizers and supporters was vital in promoting authenticity and understanding the narrative. A less-vertical approach is the cornerstone of digital facilitation. 

In-person training

We complimented our design and development work with custom in-person training. Working closely with their content managers and community organizers, the objective was to enable the team to be self-sufficient in using their new infrastructure.

With this digital infrastructure furthering their cause, Citizens is the epitome of what effective community organising looks like. 

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