Published: June 29, 2020
A round-up of data, texting, and digital content sharing services
This is not your father’s campaign season. Nor is it the campaign of 2018, when GOTV was still by the books and everyone drank matcha and judged social media influencers while sorting Saturday morning canvassing assignments.
Obviously the days of paper lists are dead. Data aggregation is already lightyears beyond what it was two years ago. There are new P2P texting companies, tried-and-true data processors, a slick new buffet of video-sharing apps, and multiple social media management tools.
The digital campaign landscape is vast. What follows is a comprehensive list of data companies to consider for voter organization, outreach and GOTV efforts.
There are four main categories in this list of companies for digital campaigning in Covid-19:
TEXTING/PHONE BANKING PLATFORMS
DIGITAL CONTENT SHARING
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT TOOLS
There are dozens of data and digital companies that will aggregate your phone lists and help you organize potential voters. Several serve as a one-stop-shop for creating a campaign, from website templates to fundraising scripts. Others even create apps. Below is a list of companies that can help you move from zero organization to hero organization:
Partners with progressive candidates to facilitate mass emails, organizing, messaging
Digital company making ads and creating content
Non-partisan DC firm advising campaigns and giving support with data and CRM tools, as well as compliance and filing in all fifty states
Non-partisan digital one-stop-shop based in Canada with advising, list building, canvassing organization
Fundraising website for basic operations
One-stop-shop for data management, website building, list organization
Democratic organization maintaining the master of all Dem voter lists across the country
App-based social advocacy program connecting organizations (unions, companies, members) to their local elected leaders to educate and inspire
Cloud-based data management replacing clipboards and paper lists
Run for Office
Partnered with NationBuilder, resource partner with directory of all elected offices in country, trainings, guidance for campaign planning
Run for Something
Organization devoted to helping first-time candidates with consulting and resources
Data/volunteer/advocates organization, better suited for issue advocacy than candidates
Consultants for progressive candidates and issues, very international, tied to NationBuilder
Creates candidate apps, yes—an actual app for your candidacy, including local customized voter info, news, voter engagement, fundraising, etc. Who doesn’t want their own app?
Traditional GOTV efforts like canvassing and phone banking provide a human connection, bringing faces and voices together. But door-knocking usually only results in a 20% answer-rate, which translates into roughly five voter conversations in one hour of work.
Phone banking is equally hampered by the decreasing amount of landlines in the country, blocking thanks to caller ID, and disconnected phone numbers.
Enter: texting. Peer-to-peer (P2P) and friend-to-friend (F2F) texting have changed grassroots politics, making volunteering and voter-connection infinitely more efficient.
P2P is for large campaigns usually with massive text lists (starting at 100k) and providing a rented “central” number from which all calls emanate. While P2P is good for the masses and the state and national races, it might not be cost-effective or necessary for local and down-ballot races.
F2F, which is often a better fit for those local and down-ballot races, allows you to upload your own contact lists, and ideally the contacts of your friends and supporters as well. This is the universe in which you communicate with voters and eventual supporters. It’s personalized and meant to have even more direct, meaningful contact with targeted voters in your district.
Political texts have an open rate of 98% within 3 minutes of receipt. As long as it’s not over-used and has a succinct call-to-action, texting can achieve tremendous results in campaign efforts.
Here are average prices:
$.11/mms (links, photos, videos)
$.0025 per vetted number (since half of lists are often not textable, you need to weed out land-lines and disconnects)
Here’s a sample price guide, for a list of 100,000 contacts:
Validate the numbers at $.0025/number = $250 (validating weeds out 50% of numbers)
$.08/text x 50k = $4,000
Total cost = $4,250
Below is a list of texting platforms to consider, with some thoughts on the distinctive features of each. Most of these companies are competitive on price.
- DCCC used for 2018 house races
- Harness volunteers’ personal networks and contacts via text, phone and Facebook
- Tuesday Company keeps data with the aim of long-term community building
- Used by several US Senate and down-ballot races
- Pricing by month with no limit on texting
- Pricing plans catering to tiny campaigns and able to scale to massive
- No party affiliation, requires a central admin
- An entire call center hub – has been around for years as online phone-banking.
- Client rents phone numbers from CallHub
- Pricing: $.034/text, $.12 cents for MMS
- Founded by Bernie Sanders staff in 2016
- Works with AOC, Missouri Dems, SwingLeft, ACLU & others
- “ThruTalk” and “ThruText”
- .08 outgoing, unlimited incoming
- Founded in 2014 and became exclusively Dem in 2016
- Used heavily by Democratic heavyweights
- A very big dog in the field of P2P texting
- Pricing available upon request, averages out as mentioned above
- Massive P2P platform used by Donald Trump reelection campaign
- Contact for pricing
- Very shopify kind of website
- New and slick website
- At $.014/text, Peerly highlights its low pricing
- Founded in 2019
- Provides graphic designers for MMS
- No contracts
- Pricing: $.035/text, .08/mms
- Founded in 2014
- Bi-partisan in approach to services
- Specializes in messaging beyond texting including social media
- Robust GOP-oriented texting platform used by NRCC among others
- Price comparison: Monthly ranging from $19 – $499/month plus $.10cents/sms or $.13/mms
- Open source platform
- Used by Bernie Sanders who sent 260 million texts
- Scripted messages pop-up, responses pop-up in to-do list
- Admin dashboard manages workload, syncs updates, etc
- Manages/assigns numbers for LOCAL engagement
- Helpdesk to file tickets with coders
- Unique pricing: .01 cent to send/receive SMS, .02 cents to send and 2 cents to receive MMS
- New kid on the block focused on business more than politics
- .07/text, reduced pricing at capacity
- New guy on the block based in Texas with an extensive and hilarious blog
- Helped Mayoral race in Connecticut
- Pricing $.10 – $.12/text; $.025 per phone number for validation
Digital content sharing
Posting and sharing videos to TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook is individualized, and the right video just might go viral and win your election. But the process is not easily focused or organized for a community point of view. Enter a new wave of sharing apps:
Gather your supporters, team, staff and volunteers in one place. Together, you can make videos and upload them to a central hub. In that hub, an organizer tags, sorts, organizes and shares user-generated videos. Then the videos can be distributed for much broader sharing. The central administrator can create calls to action to the community members, such as “share with us why resolution 16 is good for kids.” Folks record their videos, upload to you and you’ve just amplified your message and distributed this new video content.
Countable is a news source and app that aggregates all bills considered by Congress and makes visually appealing articles that are easily shared. Their purpose is to inform the electorate. They’ve taken a new step by creating an app in which a central admin (you) inspire followers to upload their own testimonials and videos that you can eventually share far and wide. Similar to Greenfly, but founded with civic duty and issue advocacy in mind.
Social media management tools
Managing a multitude of social media accounts is demanding work. In order to cut down on the massive amount of time and energy it can take up, campaigns can benefit from using a scheduling application. Here’s a list, with some info on some of their offerings:
User-friendly dashboard for most social platforms
Specializes in visual and multimedia content
Share content across Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest & Tumblr
The original go-to for managing multiple social media accounts
Originally for businesses, but excellent user experience and low cost
Predictive analytics and broad-based social posting
Meant for large organizations with ample engagement
Free management of Twitter (plus Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr for pay)
Automatically queues posts for re-posting
Massive platform for comparing/contrasting data across social platforms
Meant for large organizations with ample engagement – requires tutorial to set up
App for serious social marketers
Post across multiple social media platforms and provides strategic posting insights
Thorough Twitter organization, especially for multiple accounts