Action Network


Action Network is a digital organizing toolset built by a progressive nonprofit based in Washington, DC. Starting with its first public campaign as the technology behind the Black Friday strikes against Walmart back in 2012, Action Network provides digital tools to a large swath of the progressive movement, including unions, community groups, advocacy campaigns, and nonprofits.


Functionality


Action Network subscribes to the belief that you should do one thing well, rather than trying to be all things to all people and as a result doing nothing particularly well. As a result, they focus on digital organizing -- various online actions like petitions and fundraising and managing of your email list -- and leave other types of functions like website building, SMS, or field to other tools, with data flowing between Action Network and other tools via its API and integrations.

Beyond that, Action Network focuses on ease of use -- you can get started with little to no training -- and ways of working together with allies, either in a federated structure such as a national organization and local affiliates or more ad-hoc collaborative campaigns. Their entire toolset is mobile responsive, both front-facing and admin areas, available in multiple languages, and fully secured via SSL/HTTPS and other industry-standard techniques.

Online Actions


Action Network offers a variety of online actions you can make, all of which are available both as customizable landing pages you can link to or as widgets, making embedding in your website simple. The actions available include:
  • petitions
  • events
  • ticketed events (where money is charged to purchase tickets)
  • forms
  • letter campaigns (where electronic messages are sent to targets such as Congress each time an activist writes a letter)
  • fundraising
  • event campaigns (distributed events where activists can host their own event on a shared map of events)

Email Management


Action Network also offers full management of your email list, including:
  • an easy, visual email writing editor
  • personalization options, including basics like first name and more advanced uses like conditional content
  • powerful targeting and segmenting including by geography, engagement, action, email, or donation history, tags, custom field values and regular expressions, and customized logic and queries
  • easy-to-use testing, including subject tests, content tests, and audience tests
  • customizable email wrappers
  • full statistics including opens, clicks (including statistics for clicks on each link), actions from email, unsubscribes, bounces, and spam complaints
  • industry-leading deliverability

Federated Organizing


And, Action Network offers advanced features for federated organizations, including:
  • the ability to set up nested federated groups and email lists, as many levels deep as necessary
  • the ability to have data flow from child groups to parent groups automatically
  • administrative control from parent groups to child groups, allowing national administrators to manage local affiliates
  • syndication of tags and custom fields from parent to child groups
  • syndication of content (emails and action pages) so child groups can publish actions under their brands easily, with statistics rolling up to the national level

A full overview of Action Network's features can be found here.

Cost - $


Action Network offers a free version of its tools to the progressive movement. Organizers can sign up on their website and get access instantly. For those who need access to special partnership features -- typically what a larger organization would need to run their digital program, like uploading existing lists or customized page and email wrappers -- monthly paid partnerships are available.

Because Action Network is a progressive nonprofit, pricing tends to be extremely low, often 50-90% less than comparable toolsets. Pricing starts at $10/month and is based on average monthly email volume. Contact them on their website for a quote.

Beyond that, because they are a nonprofit, they can often partner with organizations in more creative ways. For example, they partner with large movement organizations who get a vote on their technical roadmap, giving ownership to these institutions in a unique way, they are available to commission new features on request, and they offer access to their codebase for developers who'd like to build their own features. They're very open to new and innovative types of partnerships to help the movement get the most out of their infrastructure.

Who can use it?


Action Network is open to all progressives. They do not work with conservatives.

Alternatives