December 2022: CTA Update

Community Tech Alliance
3 min readDec 14, 2022


Gratitude and data security

As we head into the holiday season, we want to take a moment to share our gratitude for each and every one of you who continues to fight for a more just and fair world. We are honored to do this work alongside you.

In the spirit of the season, we thought it would be fun to share one of CTA’s recent holiday traditions — our spin on Secret Elf!

Since our team is spread far and wide, our Secret Elf gift exchange happens a little differently. Instead of giving each other physical gifts, we’re tasked to create digital gifts for our secret elf. Gifts range from weird pet videos to custom-crafted memes. It’s our team’s way of showing everyone how much they’re appreciated — and the best part is no shipping and no waste!

Spotlight: The Gift of Security

In the spirit of holiday gifting, we wanted to highlight one CTA program that we’re extremely passionate about: free cybersecurity tools!

We care deeply about the safety of data — not just of our own systems, but across the progressive ecosystem. So to help bolster the security of our partner organizations, we provide two free tools to every CTA user:

  1. Yubikey USB-A or USB-C hardware 2FA key (the #1 way to prevent phishing)
  2. A free 1Password account for securely managing credentials with CTA (because no one should be sharing passwords over Slack)

In addition, when partners sign up for their CTA-provided 1Password account, they also receive an account for personal use! CTA doesn’t have any access to their personal account, and it is free for as long as they’re with CTA. The Yubikey can also be used across your other non-CTA Google, Facebook, and other important accounts.

We’re grateful to our partners at YubiCo and 1Password who help make this possible because of their shared commitment to securing vulnerable civic engagement, political, and advocacy organizations.

As always, we encourage everyone (and tell your friends and family too!) to leverage our security checklist to achieve the best possible security posture. CTA is always happy to talk with partners (and prospective partners) about how we secure data and can offer tips to help organizations shore up their own security posture, too!

Notes from BenDesk

Ben is our resident ZenDesk captain and manager of all help@ inquiries. We’re bringing you interesting inquiries from his inbox each month to help share learnings across our community.

This Month’s Question: Is there an easy way to access stored data for someone who doesn’t know SQL?

BenDesk Answer: While having your data in a warehouse and accessible using SQL provides powerful data capabilities for your program, we know that can be intimidating to organizers or strategists who may be new to SQL. PAD and BigQuery offer an option for interacting with your data right in Google Sheets and in real-time: Connected Sheets.

Connected Sheets is a feature that allows users to access, analyze, and visualize data from PAD through a spreadsheet. This is particularly useful when sharing data with people who are accustomed to producing pivot tables and roll-ups in spreadsheets but may not be able to or want to work in BigQuery. Connected Sheets (and any summary tabs built off of them) are fully dynamic and reflect exactly the data in the BigQuery warehouse. This means that organizers can work in spreadsheets that show the same reality as the tables the data team is querying. No need to run daily exports or worry about differing sources of truth.

For more information on how to set up a Connected Sheet, you can check out our knowledge base article here. Do you have a question for BenDesk and the team? Partners can submit their asks to

Favorite Holiday Movies

Taking a break from book recs to share our favorite rewatchable holiday movies:

  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation — you can’t go wrong with a classic!
  • Home Alone — those pranks are better than you remember.
  • Love Actually — minus the really, really sad parts.



Community Tech Alliance

Empowering the progressive community through smart data management.