Preparing for major union campaigns online

The need for unions to mount and sustain large scale campaigns has grown in recent years. We’ve seen major national industrial disputes for many unions. Fundamental challenges such as government attempts to curtail the right to strike. And for those unions who are politically affiliated, an upcoming general election campaign.

Digital technologies increase our options in a major campaign. It’s more viable than ever before to reach out to members and potential supporters at scale, and to mobilise them in new ways.

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Understanding your union’s direct debit options


Direct Debit has been really important to unions. It helps safeguard union income against the threats to check-off dues collection. And it also helps us make more of the opportunities for a direct and personalised membership experience with our members. For most unions, running Direct Debits as efficiently as possible will be a real boon to the union’s administration its bottom line.

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Designing your union’s data dashboard

To launch our new analytics guide for unions, we held a webinar with its author, Sam Jeffers of Join Together.

Sam talked us through the rationale behind the report, and its suggested framework for helping unions define the data they want to monitor, the ways they will gather it together, and the lessons they can draw from observing it over time.

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Making great social media videos – four quick formats that work

We’ve been expanding our use of social video at the TUC, to make the most of networks like TikTok and YouTube. These networks give us the possibility of reaching beyond the more politically engaged people that we regularly get to on Twitter. But for a video to land well with different audiences, we’ve had to tailor our approach a lot.

Here are a couple of things we’ve learned, and four distinct formats that we come back to over and again when we’re trying to generate popular video content.

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 Building union CRM together – ACTU Union Innovation Hub case study

The ACTU’s Union Innovation Hub is a really ambitious program of group-buying and co-design for core membership software for Australian unions, used by around 30 unions across different states, Chris Walton and Stephen Gargano joined us for a Digital Lab webinar, to talk about what they’ve done, and how they went about it.

I’ve been really keen to hear more about this one because it’s one of the union movements most ambitious collective investments globally at the moment. And as we’ve got a bunch of unions currently putting their own CRM systems under the microscope here in the UK, there could be a lot of takeaways for us from how they’ve approached the same issues.

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Working with members on new content ideas around the cost of living

The cost-of-living crisis is having a huge impact on our members’ lives. Unions are working to help members win better increases to pay, but there could also be opportunities for us to offer members advice, community, news or practical help around other aspects of the situation.

The TUC Digital Lab worked with several trade unions and digital design agency Yalla Cooperative to run a user research project that could help union comms teams make choices around how they could develop this work in a useful way for members and the union.

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Data for industrial action balloting – PCS case study

At PCS, we took the decision a few years back to modernize our membership database with Salesforce – a modern platform CRM system. That’s been an important underpinning for this work as it allowed us to take on deeper and more responsive tech projects in many areas around member data.

Where it’s been particularly helpful has been in balloting. We know the Trade Union Act thresholds are a problem for us all. So understanding turnout and where we should best focus our resources is a need for our union.

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#StrikeTech – Unions using digital tools to build and win disputes

There are a whole bunch of challenges for union members in exercising their right to strike, and being able to raise sufficient pressure to win their disputes. Some of those are newer trends that have been born out of the pandemic. Some have been growing for a long time.

Firstly there are the hurdles in our way. We’ve got to contend with the some of the harshest regulations and thresholds on balloting and conducting strikes in industrialised economies. And many within the Conservative government are currently threatening to make this even worse.

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