A large number of startups that leverage advanced technology have erupted into the political scene of late. The innovation that seemed to abound everywhere else except in politics is now steadily enveloping political campaigning . From contacting supporters over the internet to analysing voter behaviour for targeted canvassing, these modern tools are making campaigns smarter than ever.
This list will focus on the startups that make up the modern face of election campaigning.
Brendan Finnucane came up with the idea for ECanvasser after realizing that campaign managers were assigning too much time managing canvassing with little return in terms of collected results to show for it. ECanvasser aimed to maximise returns from field operations by equipping agents with the means to collect and analyze relevant polling data. The Ecanvasser app makes it easier to manage field activities through intelligent maps to find voters and real-time tracking of canvassers. Its integration with NationBuilder allows campaigns that use the CRM for voter management to plug into Ecanvasser for outreach work and voter correspondence.
Polis App is a canvassing software for campaigning and door-to-door sales. The app can automatically create walking routes for door-to-door canvassers based on their location. The app also supports surveys and questionnaires to guide canvassers on the best way to speak with a prospective voter.
Organizer is a field outreach platform for Democratic and Progressive candidates making it easier for a campaign to manage face-to-face contacts with voters. Organizer allows campaigns to create dynamic scripts, divide neighborhoods into different zones, and to assign volunteers to canvass those zones through a drag-and-drop interface. Organizers can also see the data entered into the smartphone apps in real-time, visualize those results through different graphs, and export them to other systems.
Started in the November of 2009 by Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Jim Gilliam, NationBuilder combines the powers of a content management system and customer relationship management software into a single package. It comes fitted with a range of digital tools that help campaigns with website design, fundraising, organizing volunteers, and social media. Campaigns can easily add more functionality to the campaign through more than 50 app integrations available in the NationBuilder marketplace.
NGP VAN is the leading technology provider to Democratic and progressive campaigns offering products for fundraising, compliance, field, organizing, digital, and social networking. NGP VAN is used by thousands of campaigns and organizations, from labor unions, nonprofits, state and local campaigns, to political parties and presidential campaigns.
Blue State Digital is a full-service digital agency specializing in online fundraising, advocacy, social networking, constituency development, email marketing, and content management. BSD has helped clients like the Obama campaign, Labour Party, UNICEF, Sierra Club and Oxfam America grow communities, build platforms, and transform their campaigns for the digital age.
TrailBlazer is a campaign management software for political campaigns, nonprofits, and PAC’s. Trail Blazers campaign manager can be used to create, implement and track all voter touchpoints for targeted voter outreach. Features include Campaign Fundraising, Text to Give, FEC Compliance Reporting, Mobile canvassing, Grassroots advocacy, and Constituent management.
CallHub is a Voice and SMS software used by political campaigns, advocacy groups, and nonprofits to connect with voters, activists, members, and supporters. Depending on outreach requirements, campaigns can choose from three automated dialers or choose manual dialing, to call contacts. The software interface shows phone banking scripts, surveys, interaction history, and analytics on every call. Organizers can use patch-through calling to connect voters with their representatives and send pre-recorded GOTV messages with the robocall service. Its seamless integration with popular CRM’s such as NationBuilder and NGP VAN makes sure that all campaign data automatically syncs with the CRM of choice.
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CallHub provides text messaging software that makes it easy for campaigns to reach out and engage supporters through personalized texts. Peer to peer texting is used to prompt supporter action through one on one conversations (used for voter ID, events, fundraising, and GOTV) while broadcast SMS is used for reminders, rapid response, and alerts. Organizers can run opt-in SMS campaigns to gather details on voters and have CallHub automatically create voter profiles for new subscribers. Bi-directional integrations ensure that all data from text messaging campaigns are instantly synced with campaign CRM/s.
Civis Analytics has its origins in an analytics tool built for the Obama 2012 campaign known as “Optimizer” which paved the way for the campaigns big win that year. Founder, Dan Wagner took the idea and built it into an easy-to-use, end-to-end, extendable, data science platform in the cloud. The company introduced the fine targeting methods of corporate marketers into political campaigns. Google co-founder, Eric Schmidt is a primary investor in the startup.
L2 provides high-quality voter data to election campaigns, political consultants, and PACs. L2 voter files hold datasets on State and county level registered voters, U.S census data, election return data from every county in the U.S, telephone files, and lifestyles and issue data on individual voters. Campaigns use the voter data to micro-target voters with mailers, phone calls, and other campaign outreach tools.
Aristotle is a data management tool for political campaigns that specializes in data-mining voter data. The software is used by senatorial and congressional campaigns, Democratic and Republican state party initiatives, PAC’s and grassroots organizations. The Aristotle product line also includes fundraising, donor management, and compliance reporting software.
Target Smart is a data, technology, and consulting firm that helps campaigns, candidates, and organizations achieve their goals. Target Smart maintains voter data containing the demographic, financial, and lifestyle information of more than 200 million consumers in the United States. It also maintains data sets on mobile phone numbers, precinct-level election results, and political contributors. Along with their data and products, Target Smart offers professional services that include polling, predictive modeling, strategic consulting, and communications.
Accurate Append boasts of billions of data points on U.S voters and consumers. The tool makes sure that campaigns have the right contact information to rely upon through their email append, phone append, and lead validation features. It cleans up email and phone list by verifying which email addresses and phone numbers are valid and then fills the gap where the contacts are incomplete or out of date with relevant data.
Steve Hilton, a former aide to British Prime minister David Cameron started Crowdpac in 2014. The company allows for grassroots level political mobilization by helping ordinary voters find and donate to candidates who share their views. Crowdpac plans to break down the barriers that separate political insiders from ordinary citizens who want to carry out a change in governance.
ActBlue is a nonprofit organization that builds fundraising technology for the left. The platform has led the movement toward small online political donations, raising more than $1.8 billion for Democratic candidates and progressive causes as of October 2017. It holds strong appeal for groups and campaigns that are starting up or are seeking down-ballot offices, connecting them to new and existing grassroots donors.
Eventbrite is a ticketing and event registration platform that makes it easy to manage events and organize fundraisers. Political organizers from national organizations to local, grassroots movements use the Eventbrite platform to manage debates, fundraising dinners, conventions, town halls, and rallies.