#GetCivic — get smart and learn how to exercise your democratic rights March 29 – 31 at Music City Center in Nashville! 3 days. 2 nights. Top speakers, trainers and leaders united to unrig the system. An event unlike any other: we’re convening the brightest minds from the right and left to fix American politics. We the People. Make it Happen.

Register for Unrig March 29 – 31


Skillsbuilding Program Highlights

Up your game through hands-on learning from experienced trainers and practitioners.

Citizen Lobbying Training

Don’t let special interests be the only groups politicians hear from. Lobbying is a valuable skill that can be used by grassroots campaigns to build relationships with lawmakers and pressure them to act. In this session you’ll learn how to work with and influence elected officials to achieve your policy outcomes – and what to do when politicians don’t listen to you.

Facilitated by:

  • Michael Pollack, Executive Director, March on Harrisburg
  • Nora Utech, Organizer, March on Harrisburg

How to Get Media Coverage

Getting media attention is a powerful tool to rally support and influence decision makers. Find out what reporters look for when they’re choosing their next story, how to build relationships with them, and how to develop media plan that lands you in the news.

Facilitated by:

Jennifer Pae, Vice President of Trainings & Leadership Development, re:power

How to Develop a Message That Sticks

You can’t win unless you deliver a message that sticks with people days, weeks and months after they hear it. But what facts should you share and how can you connect with your audience – especially someone who disagrees with you? In this interactive training, you’ll learn the recipe for creating persuasive messages that will help you win over skeptics, pitch to funders, motivate volunteers, and more.

Facilitated by:

Cathy McNally, Founder of Women Speak Up!

How to Create a Social Media Strategy from Scratch

Social media channels are increasingly where voters, volunteers, and donors hear about campaigns – or even start them. But how can you use each channel to bring in and engage supporters? In this session, you’ll learn the different advantages of each social media platform and how to create your social media strategy from scratch.

Facilitated by:

  • Grace Harvey, Digital Content and Design Associate of the Democracy Collaborative at ReThink Media
  • Manuela Ekowo, Media Associate of the Democracy Collaborative at ReThink Media
  • Spencer Olson, Associate Director of the Democracy Collaborative at ReThink Media

Grassroots Fundraising 101

To win any campaign, you need the funds to make it happen. Not sure where to start? Come learn the best practices for launching a fundraising campaign – from goal-setting to identifying prospective donors to making your pitch. You’ll leave empowered to take grassroots fundraising head on.

Facilitated by:

Irene Shin, Political Director, Crowdpac

Making the Case for Reform With Data

Everyone knows money in politics is a problem – but how exactly does it work, and what data can you use to make the case for reform in your community? In this session you’ll learn where to find campaign finance data, how to pick out relevant information, and how to present data to make an evidence-based, compelling case for reform.

Facilitated by:

  • Hamsini Sridharan, Program Director, MapLight
  • Laura Curlin, Data Director, MapLight

Set the Internet on Fire: How to Make Online Content that Goes Viral

Why do some videos and social media posts go viral, while others reach only a few people? It’s not just luck — some campaigns truly are designed and released in a way that makes them more shareable. Join two creative and marketing experts who drove the success of multi-million view political videos like Unbreaking America and Honest Gil to find out how you can create content that goes viral. In this session, you’ll learn what makes things shareable and why, and advanced promotion tricks that will give your content the best chance at reaching a larger audience.

Facilitated by:

  • Ryan Kleier, Director/Producer, RepresentUs
  • Jamie Bronczyk, Online Community Manager, RepresentUs

Stepping Up to Lead: How to Build Volunteer Power for Your Cause

Whether you’re working on a campaign or growing a grassroots organization, your volunteer program can make or break your success. In this interactive workshop, you’ll learn the conversational secrets to enroll new volunteers, methods for unlocking the leadership of your existing supporters, and tips for building grassroots people power both online and in-person.

Facilitated by:

  • Pavitra Abraham, Director of Live Training & Political Partnerships, National Democratic Training Committee
  • Collyn Warner, Deputy Live Training Director, National Democratic Training Committee

Democracy Tech Showcase

The internet hasn’t yet ushered in the golden age of democracy we were promised – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be useful! Come see the cutting edge of democracy technology showcased by voting, disclosure, and political tech experts. Through a series of short, accessible presentations, you’ll be introduced to innovative tools and organizations that are powering cutting‐edge campaigns and arming voters with information to Unrig the System.

Facilitated by:

  • Wesley Panek, Investor, New Media Ventures
  • Brandi Collins-Dexter, Media Justice Director, Color of Change

Unrig Unconference

It’s time for you to set the agenda! Sunday morning, you’re in charge. The Unrig Unconference will feature more than a dozen trainings and talks that are 100% proposed, designed and led by you or your fellow attendees. Vote for your favorite proposals on Saturday afternoon before the schedule is announced that night. Then, on Sunday, come ready to learn, build and connect.

Unconference proposals are now open – learn more and submit an application!

Hosted by RepresentUs

Facilitated by You, and the Unrig Summit community!

Ballot Initiatives: A Powerful Tool to Unrig Your State

In the 22 states that allow them, ballot initiatives are a powerful form of direct democracy and one of the most promising strategies for passing meaningful reforms. In this training, you’ll learn from experts at Ballot Initiative Strategy Center the role ballot measures can play in building power, the process you need to follow to succeed, and real-life examples of regular people taking on the establishment… and winning.

Facilitated by:

  • Kellie Dupree, Director of Partnerships & Training, Ballot Initiative Strategy Center
  • Dana Laurent, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Ballot Initiative Strategy Center

One Conversation at a Time: Using Canvassing to Win Campaigns

From signature collection drives to Get Out the Vote efforts, canvassing is an essential tool for launching and winning campaigns. In this interactive training, you’ll learn the fundamentals of canvassing and petition circulation that Voters Not Politicians used to collect 425,000 signatures and knock on 465,000 doors – resulting in a historic victory against gerrymandering in Michigan.

Facilitated by:

Jamie Lyons-Eddy, State Field Director, Voters Not Politicians Michigan

How to Use Compelling Visuals to Galvanize the Movement

Powerful imagery can inspire change, galvanize movements, and shift the balance of power. This session will teach you what makes compelling visual imagery and how you can create photos and designs for the democracy movement that reach a broad and diverse audience. You’ll leave this session with the tools and inspiration you need to make movement-changing visual imagery.

Facilitated by:

  • Colin Mutchler, Entrepreneur & Product Manager, Change.org
  • Emmie DiCicco, Co-founder, March on Harrisburg
  • Xelba Gutierrez, Outreach Coordinator, March on Harrisburg
  • Rachel Anne Murphy, Organizer, March on Harrisburg

How to Run for Office (Because You Should)

The national conversation about who a candidate can and should be is changing, prompted by a wave of citizen participation, demands for increased representation and the growing power of small dollar donors. Whether you’re planning to run for office already or you’re just secretly curious, this training will introduce you to the key considerations, supports and skills you’ll need to be successful.

Facilitated by:

Sarah Horvitz, National Political Director, Run for Something

How Telling Your Story Can Help Your Campaign Win

From gaining new recruits to getting press coverage, so much of what we do relies on our ability to tell a compelling story about our work and ourselves. In this session, you’ll develop and workshop your own personal narrative and learn how to leverage your connection to the campaigns you’re working on to help drive them forward.

Facilitated by:

  • Elizabeth Lindquist, Litesa Wallace, Sameena Mustafa, Anthony Clark, and Stuart Abram from Illinois for All

Persuasive Storytelling Workshop

Storytelling is a powerful vehicle for social change – but we’re not all born storytellers. What sets apart an impactful story from a dud? In this interactive workshop you’ll learn the key theories behind persuasive communication, and how to build a meaningful connection with your audience. Then we’ll apply this model to building a compelling personal narrative you can use to tell your story.

Facilitated by:

Kaveh Sadeghian, Creative Director, University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Social Impact Strategy

Non-Violent Direct Action & Civil Disobedience

From the founding revolution to abolition, women’s suffrage, and civil rights, no major struggle in American history has been won without nonviolent direct action. The fight to unrig our democracy will be no different. Join leaders from Democracy Spring, organizers of the largest single American civil disobedience action of the 21st century, and leaders from March on Harrisburg for an introduction to nonviolent direct action. You’ll learn the basics of this strategic field, including core theory, historic examples, essential skills, and actual practice that will empower you to start bringing this tool to bear in your campaigns.

Facilitated by:

Renaldo Pearson, Interim Mission Director-Elect, Democracy Spring

Michael Pollack, Executive Director, March on Harrisburg

Xelba Gutierrez, Organizer, March on Harrisburg

How to Start a Local Group

In order to make big change, you’ve got start locally. In 2018, local organizing fueled a landslide of anti-corruption victories across the country. But how do you recruit and sustain a local group? Come learn what it takes to launch a local group and build power in your community.

Facilitated by:

  • Helen Humphreys, Organizer, RepresentUs
  • Gemeem Davis, Chapter Leader, Bridgeport United Against Corruption

Translating Vision to Action

A strong vision is an integral part of successfully driving systemic change — but most visioning exercises stop short of creating an actionable plan that connects your vision to the present. In this interactive session you’ll learn how to make your vision a reality using evidence-based strategies to develop actionable milestones.

Facilitated by:

Kaveh Sadeghian, Creative Director, University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Social Impact Strategy

Birddogging: The Art and Science of Extracting Public Commitments from Politicians

If you’re ready to get real policy commitments from politicians and candidates, it’s time to learn how to birddog. Birddogging is more than asking a question of a candidate in a public forum – it’s asking the right question, in the right way, to get an enforceable promise. In this practical training, Paul Davis, National Advocacy Coordinator at Housing Works, will share how he and a couple dozen activists were able to use birddogging to lower the cost of AIDS medicine around the world, and how you can apply these tactics to your own campaigns.

Facilitated by: 

Paul Davis, National Advocacy Coordinator, Housing Works

Pitching 101: How to Win Funds and Influence People

Whether you’re launching a new campaign, applying for funding, or securing a new partner, at some point you’ll need to convince funders or potential supporters to get involved. In other words, you’re going to need to pitch. In this interactive workshop with an experienced civic investor, you’ll get first-hand guidance on how to build a strong pitch presentation, and then will practice your pitch and share feedback with other participants in an open and collaborative environment. No preparation is required, but you should come with a project or something else in mind that you’d like to workshop.

Facilitated by:

Wesley Panek, New Media Ventures

Design Thinking for the Republic: How to Put People at the Center of Your Campaign

From volunteers to voters, every campaign seeks to engage diverse audiences in order to succeed. Too often, however, we make decisions without truly considering the perspectives of potential supporters. In this training, you’ll learn how design thinking – a repeatable problem-solving methodology that engages multiple stakeholders – can be leveraged for electoral and advocacy campaigns. Whether you’re starting a new public-facing campaign or project, reimagining an existing program, or are simply curious about innovation methods used in both the public and private sectors, join CivicMakers for this interactive, hands-on training.

Facilitated by:

Judi Brown, Co-founder & Chief Impact Officer

Campaign Planning 101: How to Get Started With a New Campaign

To jump-start any campaign, you’re going to need a strong plan — but it can be hard to know how to get started. Join this interactive training to learn from a lobbyist and non-profit executive what ingredients you need to kick off a viable campaign. For new and experienced campaigners alike, this session will provide a framework for developing core messages, identifying likely supporters, and other critical questions to answer every time you start a new initiative. Come with a cause, and leave with actionable steps to turn your vision into a winnable campaign.

Facilitated by:

Terri Broussard Williams, Founder, Movement Makers Tribe