There has been much debate over the past few weeks in progressive circles about the feasibility of companies who provide technology for social change and to help campaigns win elections to choose a side. Is it possible to build a sustainable, growing company and maintain your social values?
At Salsa Labs, we believe the answer is yes. We adhere to a triple bottom line philosophy: people and planet above profit. We believe in movement building over empire building and our principles become the driver in business decisions. (Much to the dismay of many of our consulting partners, we routinely reject clients who work in opposition to our shared values.)
Many opine that this is simply about code and code is inherently non-partisan. But, good technology providers do much more than produce technology. In fact, the truth is that technology is becoming more and more commoditized. Infrastructure costs are also declining. Therefore, the real value in technology is not necessarily inherent in the code itself.
At Salsa, we believe that building a community around the technology, offering top-notch tech support that inevitably comes with strategic advice on organizing, training thousands of like-minded individuals every year who share strategies and best practices, and using the massive network of 70M individuals that has amassed around the technology who care about progressive change in a way that benefits the broader movement. We believe that there is real power in the Network.
As progressives, we are idealistic enough to believe change is possible and practical enough to make it happen. We believe that organizing, building a base of support, and participating in the process will strengthen our democracy both at home and abroad. We believe an open and effective government can champion the common good over narrow self-interest and harness the strength of our diversity. We believe in practicing what we preach and supporting our community beyond the desktop.
We are proud to support so many organizations who fight for progressive ideals through our technology and services:
Fairness and equal rights for all through organizations like the Equality Federation, National Council of La Raza, Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and Protect our Defenders.
The right for health care of all through organizations like Protect Your Care, Save Health Care in WA, National Women's Health Network, Breast Cancer Action, American Parkinson Disease Association, Healthcare Education Project NY.
A healthy economy and jobs for all through organizations like the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, CWA, Jobs with Justice, We Are Wisconsin, AFT, Campaign for America's Future, Blue Green Alliance, Corporate Accountability International, and National Community Reinvestment Coalition.
A healthy environment and clean energy through organizations like the Environmental Working Group, Clean Water Action, Endangered Species Coalition, Forest Ethics, Green for All, Surfrider Foundation, RAN, and Friends of the Earth.
Promote peace, fair trade, human rights, sustainable development, fair elections, freedom of religion through organizations like Human Rights First, New Israel Fund, Public Citizen, CIVIC, KaBOOM!, Faith in Public Life, and Freedom House.
As a bit of history, Chris Lundberg and I founded DemocracyInAction in 2004 as a nonprofit with the assumption that building a technology platform that nonprofits of all sizes could benefit from would be something that foundations would support. That premise was a bit misguided. Furthermore, we were stymied by our nonprofit status and the kinds of organizations we could work with (i.e. political campaigns). So, we founded Salsa Labs to continue the mission.
Our overarching goals all these years later remain the same:
- Build a world-class technology platform to support groups who share our vision for a better world.
- Lower the barrier to entry for small groups with fees that everyone can afford while simultaneously building a sustainable business to continue building world-class technology and services for our sector.
- Build technology that allows for easy integrations so that every group can accomplish their unique goals while supporter data is centralized allowing for the most effective organizing.
- Build an ecology around the services we provide through a strong community of partners and users to help build a movement for change.
For me personally, it's been an easy choice to decide that I want to wake up in the morning, come to the office, and fight day in and day out for the issues I believe in and know that the technology we create will be a force to advance those strongly held values.