May 16, 2018

Resistbot’s Mission and Values

What we’re trying to do, and the values guiding us as an organization.

by Jason Putorti

Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash

To date, Resistbot has been online for over a year, served millions of users, and delivered tens of millions of letters to Congress on their behalf. I’ve written about major product updates as well as our early history but not about the values that have developed over the course of building this product with our amazing team of volunteers. I’d like to share those with you now.

Our Mission

Resistbot’s mission is to improve the voter participation rate in the United States by engaging citizens year-round. We aspire to create both a delightful, rewarding service that works on citizens’ own terms, and a smart personal assistant that can educate and inform on issues that they care about or that affect their lives.

The more our citizens engage in meaningful ways, educate themselves, and feel they’re being heard, the fewer votes can be bought through paid advertising. Then our democracy can work as it should: elected officials will pass policies that work for the many, not the few, while protecting the individual liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

Our Values

Impact, Not Profit

Our north-star is impact, not profit. This means we will only give users actions that are actually effective in swaying or building a relationship with their elected officials, unlike services driven instead by clicks or sales to customers that are neither users nor constituents. The goal of Resistbot is to put itself out of business.

Users First

We’re here to build a product that users love, otherwise we can’t achieve our mission of long-term civic engagement. We don’t put organizations first, or campaigns first, always the users, and they should be allowed and empowered to engage on their own terms.

We Work with Congress

There’s a difference between effective advocacy, where Congressional offices can be educated through the will of their constituents and have a chance to respond, and acts of protest meant to “be heard” by disrupting Congressional offices. As long as Congressional offices are willing to work with us, we choose effective advocacy, but will direct our users to protest if necessary.

“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.” –Thomas Jefferson

Responsibility to Our Users

We’re a donation-based product because we don’t want our users to be the product. Our users are our clients, and we work for them. Many social and technology products today consider their users a product to be sold and pursue business models that both degrade the user experience and ignore the consequences upon society. Users entrust us with their voices and we have a duty to act responsibly.

We Stand with the Resistance

Resistbot as an organization has a voice — the voice of the resistance. We’re pro-democracy, pro-constitution, pro-American values, pro-facts. It’s not a Republican vs. Democratic or a conservative vs. liberal issue. We believe in the universal values of liberty, equality, and compassion that have been the driving force behind American progress for almost 250 years. We work towards a more perfect union.

Freedom of Speech

The most fundamental of American values is the right to be heard. For people of any ideology and regardless of their political support, we will faithfully deliver their messages to their officials without favor or censorship. We believe the way to a more perfect union is through sharing stories and building empathy for others, both in Congress, and between our fellow citizens.

Who We Are

Resistbot was founded by people who are deeply opposed to a number of the current administration’s actions that run contrary to traditionally held American values. Sally Yates said it best in her USA Today editorial, that people need look no further for these values than the preamble of the U.S. Constitution:

“We the people of the United States” (we are a democratic republic, not a dictatorship) “in order to form a more perfect union” (we are a work in progress dedicated to a noble pursuit) “establish justice” (we revere justice as the cornerstone of our democracy) “insure domestic tranquility” (we prize unity and peace, not divisiveness and discord), “provide for the common defense” (we should never give any foreign adversary reason to question our solidarity) “promote the general welfare” (we care about one another; compassion and decency matter) “and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity” (we have a responsibility to protect not just our own generation, but future ones as well).

Conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans, agree with these principles. We’re resisting Trump’s attacks on these principles, and seek to support our buckling institutions.

If you believe in us, please support us by donating. Resistbot Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization, and it takes a lot of infrastucture to keep this all going. If you can’t donate, you can volunteer either as an engineer or by submitting users’ letters to the editor, or just tell your friends about us! Resistbot works on Facebook Messenger, Twitter Direct Messages, Telegram, and of course on SMS by texting resist to 50409.

Workerbot

Resistbot is a free service, but standard messaging and data rates may apply through your carrier. Text STOP to 50409 to stop all messages. Text HELP to 50409 for help. Here are our full terms and privacy policy.

Resistbot is a product of the Resistbot Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization.
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