Impact Stories

Celebrating Risk-Taking in Progressive Organizing

Matt Stempeck is the Communications Manager at the New Organizing Institute. He has experience helping a wide range of organizations use technology to create social change. Most recently, Matt served as New Media Director at Americans for Campaign Reform, a grassroots organization advocating for citizen-funded elections.

Real breakthroughs usually start with big gambles.

When an experiment doesn’t turn out as planned, though, it can lead to embarrassment. Fear of embarrassment can lead to long-term risk-averse behavior — but fundamental change doesn’t happen unless organizers bet big now and then.

Web of Change: A Video Snapshot

What is Web of Change?

Find out from some of the leaders in this growing community of innovators working at the intersection of technology and social change.

Be a part of it. Learn more at

Pecha Kucha: Ian Rhett's Stay in the Game

Last week during Web of Change, several folks entertained and engaged the crowd with short "pecha kucha" presentations -- 20 slides running non stop for 20 seconds each.

People shared personal stories and perspectives about what is most compelling in their world -- topics like art, politics, online organizing, immigration, environmental education, and yes -- why the hell any of us are in this field in the first place.

How to Succeed at #Fail

Why failing frequently and openly in online campaigns will lead to greater social impact

Michael Silberman is a senior online campaigns strategist. He is a partner and co-founder of EchoDitto, a leading digital strategy and technology team supporting the social change sector. More via @silbatron



Jonathan Warnow works to harness new media and social technology to catalyze large-scale change. He is a co-founder of, an innovative global climate campaign that has used a model of open-source activism to coordinate 10,000 offline events in 181 countries.


Ever get a sinking feeling after you’ve launched a great email, set up a great online action, built a thriving online community or implemented a perfect graphic? You know the one: a nagging sense that you’ve failed to truly move the needle forward on your issue--that maybe you’re just re-arranging the deck chairs?

Your New Promotion: Fearless Champion of Member Experience

Tim Walker is co-founder of Biro Creative, a pioneering provider of marketing advice exclusively for movement-building organizations. Biro's small tribe of long-term clients includes Avaaz, 350, Greenpeace UK, 100-Mile Diet and Global Zero. Tim is co-author of the Web Thinking Manifesto. He once ran the marketing department at Adbusters. And he believes that the best organizations build their movements by word-of-mouth, which they earn by creating a remarkable member experience.

Give yourself a promotion today. I mean it. Don't ask your boss. Don't make an announcement. Just decide that tomorrow is going to be different. It doesn't matter if you're an Executive Director, CTO, Field Organizer, or PHP/Drupal/Apache code ninja. This new job will be perfect. Oh, and it comes with a very cool title, ready? Fearless Champion of Member Experience.

Mobile Organizing, Your Organization…And The Future

Cheryl Contee, Partner at Fission Strategy, specializes in helping non-profit organizations and foundations use social media to create social good. She is also the co-founder of Jack and Jill Politics writing as “Jill Tubman” on one of the top 10 black blogs online. Cheryl is included in The Root 100 list of established and emerging African-American leaders. Fast Company has named her one of their 2010 Most Influential Women in Tech. She has over 13 years of award-winning interactive expertise and previously served as Vice President and lead digital strategist for Fleishman-Hillard’s West Coast region in San Francisco.

 In just under 10 years, the world has experienced a massive leap forward in our ability to communicate with each other and connect around the issues that matter most to us. Social networking has revolutionized how people dialogue with each other. The ways in which institutions and individuals negotiate power & influence has shifted dramatically. It’s hard to believe that it was only in 2002 that we saw the first blogs as we know them today. Yet there’s an even more powerful set of innovations on the horizon and too few nonprofit organizations are prepared for the next quantum leap.

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