Andrew Yang Hires Zach Fang

Rolling Stone reported last month that unlikely presidential candidate Andrew Yang has hired veteran digital & field organizer Zach Fang. That’s big news, and worth watching.

One of those people was Zach Fang. In 2016, Fang had helped run field organizing for Sanders in Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Maryland; he left a job on Congressman Tim Ryan’s presidential run to work for Yang.

As field director, Fang tells me his job is to channel Yang’s online following into the kinds of actions that will increase Yang’s name ID with potential voters, grow the number of campaign volunteers, and start to build real support for Yang at the ground level. There’s no shortage of volunteers: At a recent all-staff meeting, the senior staff announced that the campaign’s Slack channel for active volunteers had surpassed its 10,000th member. There’s a saying inside the campaign, Fang says: “We need to move from URL to IRL.”

There’s a ton to unpack there.

First off, you’ll notice that Fang’s job (essentially) is to do all of the things that NationBuilder is designed to facilitate: help build name ID, grow the campaign’s volunteer base, and identify & earn offline supporters. And that line — “We need to move from URL to IRL.” — is one I’m definitely going to use in the future.

Secondly, I’d love to learn more about how the Yang campaign is using a Slack channel to organize volunteers. I remember reading a similar anecdote about volunteer organizing in the 2016 Sanders campaign (where Fang also worked), so now I’d called it an established pattern/best practice worth learning.

Third, it’s not mentioned here but Yang’s campaign is a NationBuilder customer since the early stages of his campaign. I wonder how (or whether) leveraging the platform factors into their plans going forward.