On the one hand, the gains of the 2018 midterms, which saw the first-ever Native women elected to Congress, had held steady. The stresses of a pandemic, the lies of Donald Trump, and 500 years of disenfranchisement had not silenced Native voters — in fact, their voices were stronger than ever.
The question was now this: how would ANPL make sure this momentum did not wane? How would they build on the successes of 2020, helping Native communities take advantage of a newly sympathetic administration, develop an even more powerful collective voice capable of swaying public policy, and clear a path for Native leaders at the highest levels?
That’s where Do Big Things came in. ANPL needed a partner that would marry cultural competency to a shrewd approach to conventional digital goals like fundraising and organizing, as well as sensitive handling of fraught dates like Thanksgiving and the 4th of July — all while preserving ANPL’s distinctive voice and ensuring critical gains for Native peoples under the Biden administration.
In our work, our seasoned multicultural team took into account the special dynamics of Native communities to craft an email program that prioritized relationships, storytelling, and a sense of collective uplift over a conventional fundraising drumbeat. Fleshing out the program, we also assisted with the recruitment of potential Native candidates and education around the importance of local positions.
Our biggest win was helping mobilize the ANPL community to back the confirmation of Secretary Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo), the first-ever Indigenous Secretary of the Interior. We also used this special moment to drive extensive list acquisition (doubling the number of active list members), as well as to buoy fundraising. Overall, between the momentum of Secretary Haaland and a fundraising program that prioritized humanity and creativity over “churn and burn,” by the end of our engagement, DBT’s efforts accounted for:
As Sec. Haaland said, “If an Indigenous woman from humble beginnings can be confirmed as secretary of the Interior, our country holds promise for everyone.” We’re proud to have played a part in this historic victory and in helping such an important organization develop its wings.