Salsa 101

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Facilitated by Jeanette Russell and Geoff Harcourt, of DemocracyInAction/WiredForChange

Come learn all about how DemocracyInAction's Salsa toolset can turn your website into a powerful online organizing tool. Salsa helps you build an online database of supporters, send targeted email blasts, build online advocacy campaigns, accept credit card donations online, and much, much more. And we're a mission-based non-profit ourselves, so we back up our tools with outstanding support, training, and an online forum where our hundreds of member organizations and thousands of users share best practices with one another.

Session Notes

Salsa 101

salsa community > 1000 groups 80% has list size < 25,000 supporters bigger groups up to 1,000,000

CRM + online organizing + comms solution for our space

Salsa Commons: documentation site, docs, videos, almost daily webinars re: both usage and strategy

try to stay connected to the community re: driving new features; fairly transparent dev process. is a helpline for developers interested in or actually using salsa and salsascript

salsa commons has forums, unscreened so venting and complaints are visible and stay up, a very active community that involves salsa users and developers

Coming soon: tying the ticketing system into salsa commons

salsascript is server side javascript.

robust CRM is central. supporter management, action history, donation history, reporting, etc. optimized for organizing advocacy groups, but there are a lot of orgs using it that don't do any advocacy at all. is a good case study, have grown their community very quickly and say they couldn't have done it w/o Salsa.

Tools are useless w/o a good strategy, MomsRising has done a great job w/ strategy.

Emails can go out to generate engagement, containing links back to the Salsa system. Salsa generates a lot of info re: who opened the email, who's responding, click-throughs, etc.

They have a few high profile clients that help when working w/ email providers to make sure Salsa stays on email whitelists. Also, lots of best practices re: opt-out links, etc. They spend a lot of time working w/ downstream providers to make sure that the messages do in fact get through. It's Salsa's problem.

Built in support for getting your supporters to send messages to Congress. Data warehouse that has every single governor, us senate, congress, nearly all state legislators, etc. Also can do custom action targets (someone wanted to hammer Ford CEO, for example).

Going int'l, working w/ groups in Australia re: government agencies, etc.

Once someone responds to a call to action, the fact that they did so will show up on their record in the Salsa system. Can attach an unlimited number of custom fields to your contacts. Can define "groups", metacategories for your contacts. There are standard groups, which you add people too, and "smart groups" which pick people up re: query results, which can be greedy (i.e. they never are removed unless by hand) or non-greedy (i.e. they're removed from the group when they no longer match the query).

Will be adding "click to call" at the beginning of the year... clicking a URL will trigger twillio, which will call you, then connect you to the specified number so you can harass your legislator, complete with "did you get through", etc. follow-up stuff.

GUI-based query builder. New UI coming out soon, but it's pretty robust and allows for pretty sophisticated queries. Also supports batching for very lengthy queries, so you can run it and let it run overnight, will get the results when it finishes.

CodePink raised enough money through their "White Rose" campaign to send a task force of 3 women to Gaza. Donation page is generated by DIA, but it can be branded look and feel and URL-wise however you want.

Can also generate nice looking donation pages based on Salsa's templates w/ lots of look-n-feel settings, WYSIWYG content editing.

Out of box "tell-a-friend" feature.

Email templates support Salsascript, so you can (for instance) have an email that recommends a donation amount based on how much they've donated in the past. Lots of fine-grained control re: your email blasts in the email control panel. Also supports "A/B" testing, where you have test A going to 5% of the list, test B going to a different 5%, the main one going to the other 90%. Then you check metrics to see how the responses varied according to the changes.

Currently campaign managers add "packages" to their setups to add add'l features, but in about 2 months this will go away and will be replaced by packages available through Salsa Commons. There will also be a Salsa Marketplace where people can upload (and even charge money for) Salsa add-ons that will be available to every other Salsa user.

Going int'l, can handle int'l currencies for donations as long as your credit card provider can.

Built in store-front, product by product shopping cart style. Also setting up back end stuff so you can use your SalsaHQ (the admin UI) to order Cafe-Press style branded merchandise and then offer that for sale on your site.

SalesForce & Salsa is apples and oranges. SalesForce is good for sales and high-touch management, but the advocacy / fund-raising / mobilization stuff is better suited to Salsa. There is SalesForce integration underway, though, b/c there are a lot of clients that also use SalesForce, no date yet but it is under active development.

Also supports events and house parties, supporters creating their own events and parties that are then broadcastable to people, findable by ZIP codes.

New forum and new documentation stuff is going up soon w/ re-vamp of the Salsa Commons currently underway. More social networking re: thumbs-up / thumbs-down to help answers percolate to the top, etc.