Allison Fine Featured in The New Yorker

One of the many exciting things happening for Philanthropy Women’s community is Allison Fine’s bid for New York’s 17th Congressional District. Allison is a contributor here at Philanthropy Women and she brings immense potential for real progressive leadership to our government in the U.S., leadership we need now more than ever.

But don’t take it from me. Head on over to The New Yorker where Eric Lach interviews Allison in-depth and provides a fascinating portrait of how her leadership has been both fierce and nimble in the age of COVID.

allison fine
Allison Fine, activist, writer, and candidate for New York’s 17th congressional district. (Image Credit: Allison Fine)

From The New Yorker:

Last November, Allison Fine resigned from the board of the prominent pro-choice group Naral to enter the Democratic primary in New York’s Seventeenth Congressional District. Fine, a self-described futurist and activist, has written three books about online organizing, including “Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age.” She came into her campaign already thinking about the tensions between new and old ways of connecting with people, and of building support. Then covid-19 arrived. For those campaigning in the Seventeenth, which was hit by the virus as hard as anywhere else in the country, this meant that the very mechanics of the election were thrown into question. In-person campaigning was suspended. Local news attention turned elsewhere. Potential voters were out of work, stuck at home, and, in some cases, dying. Fine called her friend Seth Godin, a digital-marketing pioneer, who lives a few towns over. “I said, ‘All right, this will not be traditional in any sense of the word. What do I do?’ ” Fine told me. “And he laughed and said, ‘You know exactly what to do.’ ”

Fine announced that her campaign would go fully digital and embrace relational organizing, a buzzy term among political operatives for decentralizing campaigns and empowering volunteers. “The whole idea is to focus on identifying individual supporters,” she said, “and then providing them with tools to share information—about issues, or about me, or about the election—with their network.” In mid-March, Fine let her field team go, paused her fund-raising (“I just couldn’t, at that moment in time, as a human being, ask people for money”), and adjusted her plans for paid media, devoting more resources to online ads. She made the centerpiece of her campaign a daily newsletter, which goes out to a list of five thousand subscribers. It’s an intentionally stripped-down product: a chatty subject line followed by a short list of informational and diverting links, which Fine puts together every morning, after she’s had her breakfast and read through a hard copy of the Times. “We spend the rest of the day in conversation online on different platforms, whether it’s Facebook Live, Instagram, Twitter—wherever it is,” she said. “We’ve gone all-in with building and strengthening a social network to connect with voters.”

Read the whole piece at The New Yorker.

Read Allison’s pieces here at Philanthropy Women

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Kiersten Marek

Author: Kiersten Marek

Kiersten Marek, LICSW, is the founder of Philanthropy Women. She practices clinical social work in Cranston, Rhode Island, and writes about how women donors and their allies are advancing social change.

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