Your Instructor

Hi, I'm Randall Smith. I help people design and build people-powered campaigns.

I'll be honest, I'm a little conflicted about teaching this course to help people recruit new donors.

1. I don't know if we can trust Facebook with the data we are feeding it to create ad audiences. Facebook's custom audience terms of service state:

Facebook will not share the Hashed Data with third parties or other advertisers and will delete the Hashed Data promptly after the match process is complete.

That's a definitive statement, but each new revelation about Facebook's data practices makes me question how they use custom audience data. That's why one of the course prerequisites is that your organization is already using lookalike or custom audiences. I don't want to convince you to use custom audiences if you aren't already.

I also agree with the "Time Well Spent" critique and know Facebook and digital technology has had a negative effect on my mental health at times. That's a whole other issue.

2. I don't want this tactic to be used to mislead supporters into donating to an organization. I'm not going to call anyone out, but we know that some of our peers are using dubious and unethical practices to turn email addresses into dollars.

I've been lucky to spend the past five years working with several organizations where our primary goal is to recruit people online and move them to offline action. Fundraising has been a secondary consideration.

Our primary metrics for success are how many people we can get on a campaign call (our bridge to offline action) and the number of people who commit to organize their own action.

After discovering that lead ads are very effective at recruiting people for offline action, I realized that they could be combined with a powerful new targeting option introduced in 2017 -- lifetime value lookalike audiences -- to raise a bunch of money.

If you also want to recruit people for offline action, there are pieces of this course that will help you do that. I'm creating a course that will go deeper into what I've learned recruiting thousands of people from online to offline action. Get in touch at if you would like to be a beta tester or be notified when the course goes live.

If your primary goal is fundraising -- that's great! I made this course for you. Please don't do anything icky with this information. Sign up below to be the first to know when the course opens again for enrollment.

About me

In 2013, I founded PowerLabs, a consulting firm that supports organizations to design and run people-powered campaigns.

I spend most of my time training, coaching and providing strategic planning support to clients.

Groups I've worked with include Courage Campaign, Free Press, IfNotNow, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Movimiento Cosecha, Sunrise Movement and Voces de la Frontera.

Previously, I provided strategic support to user-generated campaigns on's platform. My work at helped people win life-changing (and life-saving) victories including freeing loved ones from prison and changing the policies that govern lung transplants for kids.

Before, I led the digital program at Corporate Accountability, a global NGO that protects people and the environment from corporate abuses.

I've also worked as a direct action trainer during the alter-globalization movement, a tenant organizer, and the operations director of an immigrant-led human rights organization.

I live in Guadalajara, Mexico with my wife and seven-year-old kid.

Join me for the next course.

Enrollment only opens twice per year to ensure you learn about the latest Facebook updates and newest methods to recruit donors.

Sign up to be notified when enrollment opens again in June 2019.


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