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RS VOTE

T CONS

TS ITUEN

CONSTITUENT RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT:

THE NEW

OR SUPP

TERS

LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS

RS DONO

T h e G r a d u at e S c h o o l o f P o l i t i c a l M a n a g e m e n t

INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS, DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Constituent Relationship Management: The New Little Black Book of Politics is a publication of GW’s Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet. Julie Barko Germany, deputy director of the Institute, is the principal editor of this publication. Peter Churchill (Center for American Progress) is the assistant editor. Ed Trelinski (event manager), John Neurohr (research assistant), Riki Parikh, Ryan Sullivan, Zach Morgan (researchers), and Chris Brooks (financial manager) assisted with the research, editing and writing. The staff of Adfero Group provided invaluable assistance and helped with the research. Carol Darr, director of the Institute, provided additional editing. Ian Koski of On Deck Communication Studio designed and paginated the publication. This project benefited greatly from the advice and assistance of many individuals. We especially thank all of our authors: Their opinions, however, as interesting and provocative as they are, do not necessarily reflect those of the Institute. IPDI is the premier research and advocacy center for the study and promotion of online politics in a manner that encourages citizen participation and is consistent with democratic principles. IPDI is non-partisan and non-profit and is a part of the Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University. F. Christopher Arterton is dean of the school. For more information about the Graduate School of Political Management, visit www. gwu.edu/~gspm. For more information about the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet, visit http://www.ipdi.org. © GW’s Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet. The editor is Julie Barko Germany. This book may not be reproduced without the expressed written permission of IPDI or the Graduate School of Political Management. The date of publication is March 15, 2007.

CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS

INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS, DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET

CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS

INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS, DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET

Table of Contents
Introduction By Julie Barko Germany ..................3 Part I – An Introduction to Constituent Relationship Management Chapter 1 – Constituent Relationship Management: How Smart Business Equals Winning Politics By Peter Churchill ...............................................8 Chapter 2 – Putting Ideas into Action: Principles and Applications of Constituent Relationship Management By Jeff Mascott, Ken Ward, and Julie Barko Germany ...........................................................14 Part II – The Data-Powered Campaign Chapter 3 – It’s the Data, Stupid! By Peter Churchill ............................................21 Chapter 4 – Understanding Constituent Motivation: The Benefits of Effective CRM By Jocelyn Bowman ..........................................27 Chapter 5 – Get a Clue! The Dawn of CRM in Politics By Bobby Clark .................................................28 Chapter 6 – How Web 2.0 Electrifies Data in the Political World By Benjamin A. Katz ........................................32 Chapter 7 – Software as a Service: A Strategic Imperative for Political Campaigns By Daniel Burton ..............................................35 Chapter 8 – Making Your CRM Volunteer-Friendly By Ian Koski .....................................................38 Case Study: Ragtag Armies and Online Donkeys: Volunteer Management and CRM in the 2006 Senate Campaign of Jim Webb By Dave Hannigan and Dave Leichtman.........41 Chapter 9 – Data, Data Everywhere. Now What Do I Do with it? By Christopher Massicotte ................................44 Chapter 10 – Retail Politics? Not So Fast. By Jonathan Karush ..........................................49 Flashback to 2002: Notes from a Field Campaign: How I used data and door-to-door canvassing to pinpoint likely voters By Kendra Ann Crowley ....................................51 Chapter 11 – People Come Before Programs By Clay Johnson ................................................52 Chapter 12 - The End of the Campaign and the Beginning of Elected Office: Correspondence Management and CRM By Daniel Bennett ............................................53 Part III – CRM for Advocacy and Nonprofits Chapter 13 – Finding the Lifeblood of Your Nonprofit By Jason Zanon.................................................58 Chapter 14 – Not Just for Political Candidates: Voter Files and Constituent Relationship Management By Catherine Geanuracos .................................60 Chapter 15 – Integrating Constituent Data: Three Approaches By Laura S. Quinn ............................................64 Chapter 16 – Driving Advocacy and Action with CRM By Jon Thorsen ..................................................70 Chapter 17 – Finding the Political Influentials Hiding in Plain Sight in Your Database By Carol Darr ....................................................77 Chapter 18 – If the Shoe Fits: Finding an Open Source CRM Solution for Political Nonprofits By Dave Greenberg ...........................................81 Chapter 19 – Your Website is an Interaction Tool By Aaron Welch ................................................85 Chapter 20 – Small Nonprofits Have a Seat at the CRM Table By David Geilhufe .............................................89 Chapter 21 – The Email Factor: Tailoring Your Communications Program By Sheeraz Haji ................................................91 Part IV – Managing Constituent Communications in Elected Office Chapter 22 – Turning Problems into Opportunities: Why CRM Makes Congressional Offices Proactive By Jeff Mascott .................................................96 Chapter 23 – Interactive Democracy By Stuart S. Shapiro .......................................101 Chapter 24 – The Ideal CRM for Members of Congress By Ken Ward and Nick Schaper ......................105 Appendix I – Author Biographies .................... 109 CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS

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INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS, DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET

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CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS

INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS, DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET

INTRODUCTION

Got Data?
JULIE BARKO GERMANY
INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS, DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET

I admit it: the title of this chapter is deceptive. It’s not about the data. It’s actually about how you use it. Sure, data is nice to have around. It’s valuable. It lends an element of credibility inside the Beltway to be able boast about the size of your email list. Certainly, the political world has been abuzz the past few years about the size of the databases at the DNC and RNC and exactly what they contain. You can also make a tidy sum selling that information – if you’re brave enough. And, the more you have, the more people gossip about it. In other words, data is hot. Those of us working on this publication have certainly talked about how data is the sexy new topic in politics: everyone wants it, no one seems to get enough of it, and we’re all dying to see what people do with it. But stockpiling enough servers to fill a discount department store with information about voters, donors, and activists won’t get you anywhere unless, of course, you know how to use it. Or, to quote jazz great Ella Fitzgerald, “T’aint what you do. It’s the way that you do it.” Instead, this publication is all about developing relationships with your constituents. It’s no secret that people are more responsive when they feel like they are in a relationship with another party – a spouse, neighbor, or even a political party or nonprofit. We want people to know who we are. We want to be heard. We want to be treated like unique individuals. We want someone to meet our needs. Would you ask a complete stranger to do you a favor? Probably not. Would you ask a complete stranger for money? What about a vote? Most of us in the political or nonprofit worlds do it every day through a variety of mediums: email, phone calls, direct mail, face-to-face meetings. But what if there were a way to treat each constituent, donor, volunteer or voter like an individual? What if you could build relationships with them? It’s possible and feasible if you have the right tools. Relationship management wasn’t designed to waste your time. Rather, it was developed to make

business – or, for the sake of this publication, the business of politics – more efficient and more effective. In layman’s terms, it has the potential to save you money and make you more friends. This is where data comes in. The idea is to use integrative, interactive tools to manage your relationships with supporters – from details like name and address to online and offline correspondence. The corporate world calls it customer relationship management (CRM). More than a decade after the corporate world began to use CRM to develop a one-to-one marketing relationship with consumers, the political world is finally starting to catch on. Customer relationship management becomes constituent relationship management. (It also goes by the name of voter relationship management in other publications.) The chapters contained in this publication are not designed to offer a complete worldview of CRM. Instead, we consider them to be unique tiles that, when combined, form a large mosaic about how to use relationship management in politics. By politics, we don’t just refer to campaigns. We mean politics broadly defined, including trade associations, advocacy groups, nonprofits, civic groups, elected office, and yes, even the federal, state and local governments. We divided this publication into sections, depending upon the type of organization you run – political campaigns, nonprofit and advocacy groups, and elected office. But we don’t want you to limit yourself to just the section that pertains to what you do. We think many of the chapters in this publication offer lessons that can be absorbed into everything you do in the political and nonprofit communities. We won’t tell you all the secrets now. We’ll let our authors to tell you.

Top Take-Aways
1. Change your philosophy. It’s not all about your candidate, your organization’s mission, or you. It’s about putting your constituents at the center of everything you do. As Peter Churchill writes in Chapter 1, “every action a campaign makes must be in support of its relationship with the voter.” Substitute “campaign” with congressional office, nonprofit, trade association or advocacy group. Have a data plan. Before you begin a CRM strategy, determine where your data is going to come from, where you plan to store it, and how you are going to use it. In other words,

2.

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8. If you want someone to listen. 5. and then walk away from. This helps you develop what the corporate world calls “a single view” of the constituent. Instead. office visits.” But don’t stop there. Integrate everything. then talk about him or her. This is particularly true when it comes to using your CRM system to generate email. Listen.” It’s about responding to your constituents’ needs. Keep your database up to date. and don’t forget that integration doesn’t end on the website. or across the country. Oh. Chris Massicotte writes that “good data requires constant activity.” Listen to what your constituents say and. blog. a.and offline CRM efforts to move people up the ladder of engagement and activism. All the tools you use – your website.” 10. donors.” so your campaign should integrate on. a data plan is “critical for ensuring the database you build will support your CRM activities. instead of people in three different departments sending out emails to people requesting information. Old thinking puts the data you collect about your volunteers in one spot and the data you collect about your donors in another. fundraisers. According to Stuart Shapiro in Chapter 22. office. change the way you talk back to them.” Improving and refining your database is something that occurs every day. or non-profit. dinners.” Customize and automate it. when they volunteered. such as recruiting and managing volunteers. Quinn in Chapter 14. Political messages that are broadcasted to one general “American” audience are giving way to micro-targeted communications. “Good service isn’t just about selling a candidate. issues. You want your database to include everything you do to interact with your constituents. you probably want your constituents to do something. Divided data falls apart. Guard your data with all your heart and soul. As Jeff Mascott writes in Chapter 2 and Chapter 22. donation program. As Jonathan Karush writes in Chapter 10. b. Get data. Good CRM doesn’t end on Election Day.” according to Laura S. 9. then you can avoid wasting money on pointless communication. or phone calls. Many congressional offices already use CRM to manage constituent communications. c.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. store your data in one. you are selling a candidate or an elected official. You’ll then know who they are. Use your relationship management program to cultivate them and ask them to take an action. not the other way around. Get it all on paper. when someone donates on your website. It should make your life easier. Building relationships isn’t just about talking. 4. Remember what you’re selling. That’s why every interaction you have with constituents counts: Jeff writes that good PAGE 4 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . It’s also about listening. or campaign can do this in a timely way by automating some of your communications. Remember data. and how much they donate at the click of a button. Build a fish ladder. “Personal information has become a real commodity in the Internet age. It’s not something that you do for a month. 7. and follow through. then treat your data carefully. If you want to run an ethical campaign. You are selling ideas. secure. Your database should fit your needs as an organization. You aren’t even selling the name of your nonprofit organization or political party. Personalize your interactions with constituents. Designate the right person (or people) for the job. and make sure that the information is secure. Stuart gives it a name: “Interactive Democracy. expecting your CRM system to work its magic without you. not more difficult. listening to your constituents is what democracy is all about. if necessary. As Benjamin Katz writes in Chapter 5. Aaron Welch compares this process to building a fish latter: just as salmon swim up human-made dams “one step at a time. Jason Zanon writes in Chapter 12 that “It’s still all about the people. For example. online place. As Ian Koski writes in Chapter 8. campaign. in field. The interactions you have with your constituents in real-life situations. In Chapter 18. Your organization. etc – should be integrated into your CRM system. such as events. are just as important and should be included in your database. As a political organization. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET 3. your CRM program should immediately generate a thank you email. and then stick by your plan. Include it in your data plan. Integration keeps your data “clean and updated.” He sees it as a dynamic way to reengage the American public in the legislative process. text campaign. 11. Make reporting data a priority. where you and your staff can access it from down the hall. In Chapter 10. As Jeff Mascott writes in Chapter 2. and services. “if you have more direct communication. Use data. A database is just a database until you customize it with tools and applications. email. Old thinking stores your data on your PC. and supporters. 6.

13. Don’t know where to start? Ask one of our authors. They probably don’t work as effectively as you think they do. mass solicitations may backfire. When in doubt. deciphering his or her needs. as well as information about each of their organizations in each chapter.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET service “is about identifying each customer or constituent. just contact the Institute.org. will feel that their time is being wasted by something they don’t care about.” Jon recommends conducting multiple targeted campaigns simultaneously. Ask the experts. In fact.” 12. “some recipients. We’ve included their biographies in the back. As Jon Thorsen comments in Chapter 16. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 5 . Don’t over estimate the value of mass solicitations. no matter how considerate they are. They’re the experts. You can reach us at Ipdi@ipdi. and serving him or her in as many ways as possible.

INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET PAGE 6 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS .

your constituents. and you probably already use it to help you generate communications with your constituents – things like email or direct mail. what difference it has made. the way you think about the entries in your database.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. This section isn’t designed to tell you that databases are important. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET PART I An Introduction to Constituent Relationship Management You probably already have a database. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 7 . where relationship management developed in the 1990s. or a nonprofit organization. a congressional office. the authors in this section want to challenge the way you think about your database – and for that matter. and how you can adopt some their practices for your political activities – whether you run a campaign. Our authors don’t want to preach to you: they want to show why the business world changed. Rather. This section draws heavily upon lessons from the corporate world.

people were no longer limited to their local mall or the magazines they received to research and purchase new products. Up until the recession of 1990-92. began to take shape. would bring a new set of opportunities and challenges to existing companies. Suddenly. its brand and pric3 4 Tom Siebel. Finally. 1. The One to One Future. i.”4 This quote should sound eerily familiar to the political audience of this book. with new skills. publications. 1993) Preface. PAGE 8 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . But just as new technologies redefined the business environment ten years ago. Anyone with access to the Internet could get the information enabling them to compare two or more companies’ products.org) is a progressive think-tank that uses policy papers. and make a purchase the way they wanted and on their own time. In recent times. and the ability of ‘people-powered’ campaigns to match and even outspend their wellfinanced rivals. consultancies such as Andersen Consulting3 viewed outperforming competitors as little more than business as usual. the release of Netscape Navigator in October 1994 as the first modern Web browser able to graphically represent information on the World Wide Web meant that a new means of communicating. to satisfy ever changing customer demands. If their businesses were to continue to achieve the results expected of them in the future. not only recognized a kindred spirit. For many businesses. Although this was before the Internet as we know it had emerged. @ The Center for American Progress (www. and one of the most influ1 2 Don Peppers and Martha Rogers Ph.. the economic environment became much more challenging. organizations will need to better understand what customers want. The One to One Future (New York: Doubelday. and events to shape the national debate.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS.americanprogress.”1 By the end of the speech. Martha Rogers. To succeed in the future. talking points. who was to become one of the leading authorities on customer-focused marketing.D.. so the world of politicking is entering a new era of declining national media. it has been all too easy for well-financed incumbents to stroll to an easy win. Peppers had already come to the conclusion that the new communications and information technologies being developed in Silicon Valley would “eliminate the underlying basis for mass marketing. a development that would require companies to engage in two-way dialogues and employ totally individualized marketing. where the power of incumbency and redistricting have often severely reduced the number of competitive races. author of Constituent Relationship Management History of CRM In early 1990. the Internet. xiv. but also concluded that what Peppers was describing was something she had recently been predicting: the emergence of totally individualized media. and find the best deal regardless of where they were physically located. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 1 Constituent Relationship Management: How Smart Business Equals Winning Politics PETER CHURCHILL CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS ential books about commercial marketing of the past century. To counter the decline of mass media as a vehicle for effective advertising. a professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Don Peppers. Consequently. Ibid. Something else changed in the early ‘90s.Lawrence Handen. 1996). customers would have a “greater influence over a company. gave a speech to the Advertising Club of Toledo about the future of marketing. communications organizations are moving quickly to embrace CRM . a rapid increase in the use of new technology. Virtual Selling (New York: The Free Press. they would need to “compete in new ways. Ibid. enabling people to receive customized news and entertainment.2 The concept of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) had arrived. But the changes predicted by Peppers and Roger meant that the traditional businesses were about to face such intense competition that the traditional formulas for success would be rendered obsolete. The book made Peppers and Rogers two of the most well-known CRM gurus in the country.

They are: • • • • Intangible Variable. the ultimate aim of any election is to persuade the voter to choose your “product” and not your opponent’s “product. the idea that choosing a candidate can be compared to choosing a bar of soap is nothing more than a “myth” made popular by a press corps that “minimizes the uniqueness of the marketing application to politics. The Marketing of the President (California: Sage Publications Inc. In political terms. Instead. rather than a choice between their positions on the issues considered important by the voters.6 But to achieve this paradigm shift requires a company to alter its business strategy to become an organization that understands. Bush and John Kerry as personalities. i.” But what is the product we are trying to persuade our voter to choose? When I have asked people the question. assess his or her needs as a consumer and aim to sell him or her as much of the company’s products as possible. this is perhaps not surprising. companies would need to focus their efforts on “share of customer. replace the word the “customer” with the words “voter” or “constituent.1994). you can't separate service from the provider • But Is CRM a Political Strategy? Can the principles of moving from a product-centric to a customer-centric world be made applicable to political campaigns? To answer that question we need to first determine who exactly the “customer” is in the political world.e. July 2002). Peppers and Rogers. depending on the service provider Perishable. Peppers and Rogers reasoned that these companies would have to radically change the way they marketed their products. not the product. in the political sphere. Make it easier to track effectiveness of a given campaign. the 2004 Presidential Election seemed for the most part to be a popularity contest between George W.” For a company to succeed. this translates into “focus on the constituent (or voter).. In particular.”8 Instead. For many. The Marketing of the President. 5 6 7 Institute of Direct Marketing. seeks to make a different analogy.”9 The service in question is the campaign platform. 8 9 Bruce I Newman. “the candidate. the candidate should be seen as a “service provider [who] offers a service to his consumers.”5 The Theory of Customer Relationship Management If companies were to adapt to the changes in mass advertising and the emergence of personalized media. 35. for example. xix.” The principle of CRM is simply this: the focus on the customer.” Considering the media coverage. The IDM Guide to CRM Mastery (London: Institute of Direct Marketing. and what is the “product” they are buying. since each response can be individually tracked and recorded. Customer Relationship Management. Newman makes a more complex argument about the application of marketing techniques to presidential races. what is the product they are buying?” many people respond without hesitation. one that is worth revisiting here. The One to One Future. Replace the word “customer” with the words “voter” or “constituent. it needs to identify each individual customer. and manages the needs of its current and potential customers. 9. anticipates. In Newman’s opinion.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. the voters. But is this really an accurate comparison? Bruce Newman’s 1992 book. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET ing. In this celebrity-obsessed era.” thus making the most of each contact with the customer. “If a voter is a customer. It would no longer be sufficient to create a new product and then try to create the largest possible market share possible. Prevent overspending on low-value clients or under-spending on high value ones. Newman argues that comparing the marketing of services with politics is more applicable because services have unique characteristics that products do not possess. than at any time in the past. Brown.” Fundamentally.” In the world of campaigning. an organization that is able to target specific customers by aligning what each customer needs with the products the company has to offer should be able to: • • • Reduce the cost of wasted advertising to uninterested individuals. looking at the 1992 presidential campaign. since they only exists for a finite time and cannot be stored Inseparable. In his view. Improve the use of the “customer channel. 7. much in the same way that an insurance agent offers a service to his consumers. candidates are viewed as just another commodity that uses constant television advertising to reinforce its brand.7 The organization that successfully adopts such a strategy leapfrogs ahead of an organization that continues to use traditional mass-media marketing techniques. not the candidate. Ibid. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 9 .

And after all. those financial in10 Joe Trippi. The relationship with the voters that his campaign fostered greatly enhanced the amount of time and money that was donated to the campaign compared with those who chose to pursue the more traditional approach to campaigns. CRM at the Speed of Light (Berkley: McGraw-Hill/Osborne. he or she is not choosing a particular politician but rather making a choice about which candidate's positions on certain issues most reflect his or her own. then it is surely true that a campaign needs to work out which issues are important to each individual voter. 82. Consumers – and thus voters – are used to marketers approaching them in a way that echoes that Peppers and Rogers’ vision of what has come to be called “1:1 marketing” in everyday life.” people are increasingly likely to vote based on their position on a few issues. unquestioning followers. Although necessity may have dictated this approach (the campaign lacked the resources to build an infrastructure to rival anything that candidates like John Kerry had in place). So when a person votes. Some might argue that this is not a healthy model for defining the issues of government. A basic campaign strategy often dictates that you must first determine which voters are most likely to vote for you. separate from the other products in the system.”10 Although Dean’s campaign ultimately failed. In an age of special interest groups and the so-called “Culture Wars. In retail finance. In an age of special interest groups and the socalled “Culture Wars. many companies wanted to demonstrate they were ready to embrace a customer-centric world. outdated methods. But instead of acknowledging that far reaching changes would be required to take advantage of this new business paradigm. If the campaign platform is the product. you do not first listen. rather than their loyalty to a particular party. and then construct your campaign’s platform around those voters. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET Thus. as noted earlier. experience and record in office to reinforce the overall impression created in the mind of the voter. As one CRM strategist put it. they used technologies such as blogs and the social networking abilities of websites like MeetUp. from Newman's perspective of the campaign platform as the product.com to attempt to build a genuine two way relationship with the voters. any new CRM system ended up replicating their current. have already been taking this approach to some degree. 85. not faceless. Defining the Customer-Centric Organization As interest about CRM increased in the late 1990s. Newman argues. when people are buying a service – any service – the Internet has made it easier than ever to compare the features they consider important about a product and determine which best satisfies their needs. Any data stored on your transactions with the organization were kept in that product area’s silo of data. a mortgage. “There is a very strong tendency in the world of senior management to let CRM sexiness get in the way of clear corporate business processes and methodology. More than any other campaign before. he demonstrated that if people to feel part of a campaign and have a stake in that campaign. preferring candidates to follow a more traditional model of defining their positions and then seeking to persuade enough people of the merits of those positions to win the election. And. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (New York: ReganBooks. or advice about savings and investments. If you went into the bank. you were often seen by different people depending on whether you wanted a checking account. it will yield results. for instance. If a new product was launched.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS.”11 But companies soon found out that unless they were willing to alter their core business processes. the marketing team was tasked with selling that one product to as many people as possible. of course. the campaign's role is to ensure that research and polling shape the platform to the voters’ preferences and use the candidate's physical presence. 11 Paul Greenberg. isn’t being heard exactly what we as voters want in the first place? The most notable example of a campaign that sought to create a two-way conversation with the voters was Howard Dean’s campaign for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination. it owed more to Joe Trippi’s belief in the power of the Internet to create a new kind of political community. It was a deliberate strategy to “decentralize the campaign…and let the momentum and decision making come from the people. Campaigns. life insurance. they sought out CRM software vendors who promised fast results. one that expect to be treated like individuals. identify their concerns and then seek to persuade them to “buy” as much of the campaign’s platform as possible. rather than their loyalty to a particular party. 2004).” people are increasingly likely to vote based on their position on a few issues. 2002). But it seems to me that political campaigns take this approach because they are having to adapt to a new type of electorate. most banks at the start of the 1990s were still organized along product lines. But in the new world of 1:1 marketing. You cannot market 1:1 if PAGE 10 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS .

DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET stitutions required customer focused managers who would aim to sell each individual as many products as possible. Creating the Constituent-Centric Political Organization Political campaigns are no different. Most campaigns lack the time. a properly designed CRM platform. If they the customer leaves that experience with a positive view of the company and its products. Given that. so must every action a campaign takes be in support of its relationship with the voter. and be able to recommend suitable products that will compliment it. with all of the supporter information in once place should be able to ensure that the campaign staff can quickly find the correct address information for that supporter from the canvass or 13 Michael Gentle. 2. Take.e. customers now expect them to know what other kinds of business they currently do with that institution. At best. Siebel Systems. 237. as an attendee at an event. fulfilling a request for a sign may not be considered the highest priority for a campaign. When you deal with a mortgage advisor. 2003). If that model seems normal now. the campaign could be losing valuable support and money. The request can come from many places . money and continuity to implement a corporate-style assessment of how they operate. Most people who vote for a candidate will never actually meet that candidate. the accountant querying a donation or a volunteer handing out signs. 39-40. then the customer is the ultimate arbiter of the company’s success. Just as Tom Siebel said that every action a company takes must be in support of its relationship with the customer. a yard sign. they may attend a rally where the candidate appears for a short time to speak. it is because the competitive pressures described by Peppers and Rogers led to customers’ having greatly increased expectations about what the banks and financial institutions could offer them. Finally. Each of these interactions with the potential voter tells us more about their intentions with regard voting (they seem to be a strong supporter) and could also lead to us recruiting them as a volunteer. the customer might be more willing to read a marketing brochure about other products. the accountant querying a donation or a volunteer handing out signs. regardless of whether it is the campaign manager dealing with a press inquiry. a repeat donor or at least a strong supporter in their area. Tom Siebel. CRM Project Management Handbook (London: Kogan Page Ltd. Virtual Selling. The reverse is also true . especially if we compare the time taken to fulfill it with the value of the staff’s time to make persuasion phone calls or to go out canvassing. who created one of the largest CRM software companies.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. not staff dedicated to selling only one product. a good campaign manager should still be able to take a look at any processes used by the campaign – such as how the campaign interacts with a new volunteer or how it fulfills a request for a sign – and evaluate them based on three criteria: 1. Every action a campaign takes must be in support of its relationship with the voter. is the process being done properly in terms of speed. output or throughput?13 3. regardless of whether it is the campaign manager dealing with a press inquiry. However. or perhaps as a response to an acknowledgement email for a donation.”12 Notice the emphasis on relationships – not ad buys or television appearances or direct mail pieces. In itself.e. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 11 . it follows that every action the company takes and every decision it makes must be in support of the relationship with that customer. we can make a more considered judgment.by failing to fulfill their request.a page on the website. does it make sense to do it that way and does it add to the likelihood of getting more money/volunteers/votes? Is it efficient – i. or when a volunteer comes to their door to canvass them. whether as a donor. had no doubt that a company must change the way it interacted with customers before it could reap any benefits from his software: “If the fundamental task of the corporation is to sell. But many more people will come into contact with the campaign itself. How important is that process to the campaign? Is it effective – i. for example. But if we also consider the effectiveness of the process. from someone who is canvassed. 12 Siebel.

often only ten percent of the electorate is persuadable and will actually vote come for your candidate on Election Day. even if the political campaign does put in place all three elements he describes. Malchow’s advice on targeting is valuable. from targeting an advertising campaign to a certain audience.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. As Ron Faucheux succinctly puts it. office. Of these. As further advances in technology made accurate telephone polling cheaper. The New Political Targeting (Washington. DC: Campaigns and Elections Magazine. nonprofit. In his view. to isolating those who are the least valuable. to segmenting the most valuable customers who are worthy of greater attention. and • Be accountable. Even in the past when voter history data was only available from the party as a paper report. and his solution is simple: • Collect more data. mainly because the political establishment now relies too heavily on data gathered by pollsters for performing accurate contact targeting. With limited resources and time. effective targeting is vital to ensuring that a campaign uses its resources efficiently and disseminates its message effectively. while polling data is extremely important in shaping the campaign’s message. determining that someone is not persuadable is a good way to conserve resources – especially for a national organization or campaign. or advocacy group is only doing the first task – collecting data – then you may be wasting your most valuable resource. they do a poor job of finding those voters. is of limited value without the other two developments. it is poorly suited to contact targeting. without which a campaign will not be victorious. PAGE 12 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . check out: Hal Malchow. it is difficult to incorporate into the survey results crucial targeting information such as voter history. it is not enough. But coming full circle around to the topic of CRM. In his view. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET Take-Away: What about Targeting? “Targeting: the process of determining which voters you need for victory and identifying them as efficiently as possible. This need to target is one area of the CRM process that political campaigns have generally already absorbed. For more information. Moreover. author of The New Political Targeting” Targeting can take many forms. radio and television advertising. it doesn’t necessarily make them voter-centric. “The idea is to use your resources where they will do the most good… use those precious resources on voters who need to be convinced. While this sounds harsh. Malchow lists three developments that he considers fixtures of modern commercial targeting solutions. The New Political Targeting. campaigns were able to identify segments of voters who were open or hostile to a candidate’s message. Hal Malchow. But by itself. which while necessary. If your campaign. 2003). But Malchow argues that most modern campaigns have failed to adopt recent developments in targeting techniques used by commercial marketing firms. • Conduct better analysis and measurement.” For Faucheux. As a result. it has always been imperative that campaigns know how to focus their resources on the right voters. he feels the political world has only progressed in the area of data collection. since the small sample size and time constraints of a 500 person poll mean it is not possible to gain an accurate picture of the sub-groups. and target them accordingly with direct mail. or swing areas or strongly supportive of their opponent. Hal Malchow makes this same argument about the need to focus resources in his book. which can then be compared with voter list files and updated as necessary. campaign managers and their field staff sought to identify which precincts and wards were strongly for their party.

Everyone in the organization must be able to access the data when they need it.g. Customer Relationship Management. e. Ability to contain all kinds of interactions – not just online interactions. Every communication channel must be integrated with the central database. segmented and targeted. email.if possible. including donation systems and volunteer sign ups on the website. and as such. Website. improving the campaign’s knowledge about the electorate. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 13 . Ability to be studied. thus radically altering the evaluation of the process of fulfilling a sign. By thinking in these terms. Just as in business. Not lots of separate lists. campaigns are often fighting the current campaign just as they fought their previous campaigns. at an event. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET donation record. either in terms of involving the voters.” rather than because that is the most effective or efficient way to use the new techniques or technology that have become available. a campaign should be able continually to ask itself whether the way it is operating operates is really as a voter-focused campaign. All communications must be attached to the correct contact record. phone. such as handheld Personal Data Appliances (PDAs). Correct information. All these interactions should be tracked in the CRM system.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. get stuck in the practice of doing things because “that is the way they have always been done. this will include being able to easily synchronize your data with portable data devices. This data will be stored to enable voters to be profiled. whether they are in the office. The voter should be able to communicate with the campaign using their preferred method.14 • • • • • 14 Brown. Access for all who need it. As a starting point. xii. identify a campaign person who lives nearby and dispatch the sign with the minimum of effort. or delivering votes on Election Day. any good technology solution in political campaigns should have a few core features: • There will only be ONE repository of customer and product data. or at the voter’s front door . mail.

we’re not limiting ourselves to elected office or political campaigns. Principle 1: Make Customer Interaction Accessible. colors.” then you’re thinking in old forms. Not the salesman and certainly not a sales pitch. members. After all. and fabrics. doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to be. You aren’t just a politico. Like us.” It’s constituent relationship management. we think that making five small changes in the way you manage your customers can make a big difference. the title of this publication isn’t “data management. Something that offers real benefits – perhaps a clean bathtub or glossy hair. It is not about selling something: it is about identifying each constituent. and attempting to communicate with each individual in as many appropriate ways as possible. Sounds expensive. voters. What do you and I want as customers? Something easy to use. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET Stop. Small changes in the way you think about your “customers” may in fact have a tremendous impact on your organization. donors. It’s not like a CD or a spreadsheet printout. Issue advocacy groups. Think. like picking out a tomato that will be just-ripe-enough for a salad you plan to make tomorrow evening or a new car with just the right features. the media. relationship management is intangible. you probably have dozens of ideas about how to improve the products and services that you already buy. In fact. And by politics.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Relationship management (or CRM – constituent relationship management – as we call it in this publication) is about how you mange interactions. Something personalized to your needs. It is a philosophy and a way of doing business – especially the business of politics. We don’t want the idea of relationship management to scare you away from using it.” then you’re halfway there. The business of politics is the business of people and building relationships. Those interactions can be with your supporters. it’s about relationships. bloggers. What does make a difference? Cultivating relationships with your supporters as if they were individual customers and managing your interactions with those individual customers. Rather. Sure. In fact. assessing needs. relationship management is a way of doing things. We want you to change your thinking. It does not occur when you buy a software program in your local office supply store and load it onto one or two office computers. This chapter is not about persuading you to buy something. lobbyists all have much to gain from adapting the principles of corporate relationship management. We don’t have to tell you what customers like you want – you probably already know it. Relationships matter. or donors as customers? Or do you see them as an ATM – something you use to raise a few dollars or earn a few votes. non profits. trade associations. You are a customer. It treats the customer like an individual and attempts to meet his or her needs in an individual way. In other words. Constituent Relationship Management is not software. Collecting all the data in the world about your supporters won’t make a single difference if they are nothing more to you than automatic cash (or vote) machines. Maybe it is time to change the way you look at your base of support. or your own staff. But how are companies supposed to know what kind of tomatoes I like or how to build my dream car if they don’t ask? How is your organization. Hill staffers. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 2 Putting Ideas into Action: Principles and Applications of Constituent Relationship Management JEFF MASCOTT AND KEN WARD ADFERO GROUP JULIE BARKO GERMANY INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. you probably buy at least one thing a day – whether it’s office supplies or groceries or a newspaper or a Metro ticket. but you’re still thinking in old terms. office. how PAGE 14 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . If you answered “the amount of data I have about each person. or campaign supposed to know what your constituents want if you don’t ask them? Once you ask them. Relationship management puts the customer in the center. You can’t build it and forget about it. Do you look at your supporters. but it’s not something that you can’t get your hands around. and a CRM program becomes valuable because of what you put into it – information about people and the many ways you communicate with them. What makes a relationship management system valuable? If you answered “my candidate” or “my elected official” or “my issue.

You didn’t think your campaign or office offered services. Do you get a better response by calling them personally on their cell phones at work or in the evening on their home phones? Or perhaps they respond best by seeking you out. One of your campaign staffers was manning the registration table and typed George’s information immediately into your database on a wired laptop computer. The next day. Principle 2 – Know Your Customers. Your customers are no different. email. your account. What do you do? Before CRM. and the system immediately sends him a thank you message with further instructions and sends a reminder for you to send him a snail mail package including a DVD. That’s integration at work. with very little follow-up and a month after the initial thrill of hearing your candidate speak has worn off. George signed up to receive more information about your campaign at the registration table. which he hasn’t yet received. sign-up forms on your Website) – not just those that occur online. etc.” What are the chances that George will donate to your campaign one month later. and donation forms for his house party. or non-profit and better develop your services. whether it is voting for a bill or CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 15 . and it helps you respond to their needs – and incorporate their needs – into what you do. CRM has allowed you to slowly develop a relationship with George. A month later. you can’t reach the person who normally handles your portfolio. and you want to move some of your investments around in order to help pay for her trip. anticipate. A good CRM system helps you learn what makes your supporters tick.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. asking them to consider hosting a house party for your candidate. the scenario changes. She noticed that George was already in the database. for example. elected official. managing constituent requests for a tour of the Capitol or a quick passport renewal. you follow-up with all your event attendees again. How does this work in the political space? If you’ve ever held a fundraising event. it keeps track of the best way to communicate with customers. CRM helps you recognize what your customers are looking for in a political candidate. and you’re probably willing to talk about what you want – if only someone would ask you. He’s on family leave for an extended period of time. or in person. through updates on your Website. With CRM. Maybe they even respond best to instant messages or text messages. or your needs? That doesn’t sound too helpful. All the many separate “islands” of information merge into one. He signed up two months ago to receive a yard sign. We like to be understood and have our needs met. Your CRM system should be automated so that it helps you respond when your customers contact you and it should be integrated to include all interactions (phone calls. George probably signed up on a clipboard or a card. Pre-CRM. lobbying for issues your members care about. But what happens when that person is unavailable? Leave a message and wait for him or her to return your call in a few days? Talk to someone who knows nothing about you. Last week. email. and respond to your customers needs in an efficient and consistent way. then you know how important it is to follow-up with your attendees. Other salespeople are able to access your client information to help you. For example. Your staffer immediately thanks him for coming and tells him that she will have a yard sign waiting for him to pick up after the dinner. Being able to answer “why” your customers ask you for something. paper materials. your CRM system sends a thank you email to everyone who attended the event. George volunteers. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET do you store that knowledge for later use? How much is all this going to cost? CRM helps you understand. Your daughter has big plans for a study abroad program at college next semester. It sounds great doesn’t it? It’s nice to have a relationship with the person handling your money. Let’s imagine that you want to call the person who handles your investments. Unfortunately. A CRM system takes all those notes about you scribbled on sheets of paper or on personal computers and stores them in one place. including George – an email you actually wrote and approved a week and a half ago – directing them to check out the Web video of the event on your Website. The two keywords are automation and integration. She also checks off a box on the database to note that George received his sign. CRM can help integrate your online and offline interactions with event attendees and automate some of your response. face-to-face meetings. You probably feel the same way. trade association. did you? Chances are good that you offer some kind of service – sending bumper stickers to people who sign up to receive them. It might have taken days or even weeks for your campaign volunteers to add his information into your database and even longer to send a thank you message. One month later you get around to sending George a communication – an email asking him to “donate now. whether by phone. investment banking firms like yours relied on various salespeople to develop relationships with clients. integrating online and offline communication without wasting a lot of time. George Russell attended your $200 a plate fundraising dinner as a guest of one of your big donors. It makes customer interaction accessible by using the best communication method for each customer. It is also incredibly time consuming.

DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET sending them an American flag flown over the Capitol. but the principle is the same. let’s focus on what the corporate world calls “developing a single view of the customer.” So when the big issues hit – and the calls keep coming in – you don’t have to struggle to find information. French. His grades haven’t improved. Maybe you tried a few places when you first moved in until you found the right dry cleaner. The staffer checks one box. “Today I want to talk to you about earth sciences. Right now. Good service isn’t just about selling a candidate. Collecting this type of data has become incredibly popular in politics over the course of the past few years. CRM allows you to measure every interaction you have with people. but no algebra. as well as “what” they ask you for allows you to react to your customers more effectively. “Hello.15 If someone like the Dow Jones Newswires thinks it is important to develop a single view of its customers. Principle 3 – Deliver Good Service. gives her a quick update on the last issue – the bill passed – and asks if she would like to sign up to receive an email about the results of the vote tomorrow. Luckily. Seuss on its own. now of all times is when the voters back home call to voice their opinions. the staffer answering the phones today has access to your CRM program. Gail Simmons – one of sev15 Salesforce. over the telephone. Surveys can help you track preferences and learn about people. the Dow Jones Newswires. and GRE preparation. isn’t good service the reason why you keep returning to that same dry cleaner! When it comes to the political space. This made preparing for client meetings or answering questions easier. Everybody is juggling at least a half dozen different issues or tasks – especially when an important vote nears. your system generates an email to Gail. You’re multitasking. the tutor addresses all of them as a group. she told you that she was very proud of the progress the group made this month and that the group had read Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. You feel like you don’t have time to address every caller like you live down the street from them back home. design tutoring cur- PAGE 16 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . What do you do? A CRM system helps you handle the “clutter. It is about identifying each customer or constituent. and it needed to store that information in one central hub. How does a political group deliver good service? Let’s start with what good service in the political space actually is. If you’re like us. in person. so that you can personalize communications. is the second step. You’re tired. Your staffer thanks Gail for calling. This example seems a little over-simplified. This works on both a macro and a micro level.com eral hundreds others – calls your office to express her opinion. Collecting this information is the first step. You want your son’s tutor to address him (and you) by name. You never seem to have enough staff. And. It’s all there. for example. you probably go to the same dry cleaner every week. earth sciences. Imagine if after school tutoring programs worked the same way your campaign or office does. Using it to personalize communications with your customers and shape the way you serve them is the third step.” she says. good service has to be efficient.” What if your child doesn’t need help with earth sciences? What if he really needs help with algebra? What if he isn’t even studying earth sciences this year? At then end of the month. wanted its sales team to have realtime access to account information. your boss is voting on relief for orange farmers after this winter’s big freeze in California. by fax – you need a time-conserving process that will improve “customer” relations and reduce support costs.” or in this case. Every point of contact can be tagged. They thought being able to access clients and track their needs would lead to a more effective sales team. and serving him or her in as many ways (and through as many mediums) as possible. your staffer enters her name into the system and notices that Gail called the last time a farm issue arose. the constituent. and you haven’t received any feedback about your son. group. deciphering his or her needs. and it allowed customer service professionals to sound more authoritative. amidst all the hurry and deadlines and work. even if they are on the road or in the field. telling her that the bill she supported passed. What keeps you coming back? Is it the fact that the owner greets you by name? Or that the shop always seems to get your stains out – even when they seem impossible? Do they send you thank you cards during the holiday season? Delivering good quality service helps retain customers. minutes after the bill passes. Tomorrow. where staff can access the bits of information they need. and tomorrow. which provide real-time financial news. To use an example from the corporate world. Storing that information in one central hub. For example. The Newswires continuously received a variety of information from dozens of different directions. so they implemented a CRM system that allowed them to store client information in one place and access all aspects of an account simultaneously. We talk about this third step later on. Last time you talked to your son’s tutor. an elected official. how important is it to develop a single view of your customers – your constituents? Let’s look at the average congressional office.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. your son has spent hours completing tutoring assignments in reading. Despite the medium of communication – online. Instead of greeting each student by name. After all. or an issue. Most of us in the political space know that a database or a member list is a valuable commodity. When Gail calls.

What do car dealerships and trade associations have in common? A lot – especially when it comes to gaining members and customers. In addition to receiving the passport. It can also make preparing for meetings with you a lot easier. CRM can identify new “selling” opportunities by helping you understand what people value and how they interact with you. she asks him if his trip went well. you can assign tasks between offices and schedule follow-up. allowing the tutor to spend more time with your child. It also prompts its volunteers with talking points and printable materials geared toward the type and size of business they are about it visit. received a passport – and the passport office has no information whatsoever about it. the follow-up call and inquiry about his trip months later shows that Bernard is important. It simplifies the reporting process. They often rely on in-bound calls or queries on their Websites to generate leads. or likely voters improves the quality of your communications with them. so if she is sick or cannot make a meeting. Lucy. such as which aspects of membership CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 17 . The applications to politics are apparent: you want to reach people by appealing to their interests through the medium that best suits them. type. by email. after Bernard called the office. For example. an organization needs to attract new clients – or in the political world. she calls him on his cell phone at work to let him know that Lucy’s passport is on the way. when Bernard calls to voice his opinion about an important piece of legislation. so he made sure that his entire family applied for passports. and information about constituent relations is not available to both sides. The same type of thinking can be duplicated in elected office. the staffer who answers the phone pulls up his constituent record and notices that Bernard called months ago to ask for a passport for his family trip to Ireland. making sure that there was no problem. new supporters. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET ricula that meets his needs. Two weeks before the trip. Car dealerships do this all the time. potential members. In three months. The idea is to use the data you collect to build new relationships with people. Bernard plans on taking his whole family. regardless of the size. the CRM program queues an email to be sent that day to Bernard. and you call the local dealership inquiring about an ad you saw in the local paper. the volunteer logs back into the relationship management system and updates it with details about the conversation.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Delivering good service does not begin and end in Washington. Are you male or female? What are you looking for in a car? What is a good time for you to visit the dealership? Do you know how to get to the dealership? What is your phone number? Do you have a second number? What is the best way to reach you? If the dealership is smart. We could take this metaphor one step further. Maintaining customers is important to any organization. Often. update you on his progress. The Association of Small Business Owners (ASBO) runs an annual membership drive. the salesperson you talk to is probably collecting information about.C. likely donors. This can negatively affect the overall wellness of an elected official’s relationship with his or her constituents. the ASBO sent volunteers and staff into the field with a stack of brochures and a few talking points. Bernard calls his congressman’s office. The staffer answers the phone and asks Bernard how he wants to receive the information release form for an expedited passport – by fax. Later that day. it will have the salesperson enter all of this information about you in its database.C. the staffer calls – just to make sure that Lucy’s passport arrived. the dealership manager will look at data from all the incoming calls to determine trends – such as which models or which deals are generating the most attention and adjust its marketing program if necessary. or simply by logging on to the Congressman’s Website. The office’s CRM system has been set up so that after passport casework request is finished. but in order to grow. all from the ease of their home or office computers. After the staffer works to fulfill Bernard’s request. D. The ASBO uses its core base of members and staff to visit small businesses across the country and share information with the owners about the ASBO. Because most CRM programs are hosted online. After Bernard tells her why he supports the legislation. and – most importantly – improve his grades in class. Principle 4 – Build Your Business. With a CRM system. and their district staff. At the end of each visit. opening new paths for “customer development” and retention. the ASBO is using a relationship management system that allows its volunteer force to access information about each lead before they visit. another tutor can fill in for her and know exactly what to do with your son. your child’s tutor would file reports every evening in one central hub. The constituent – Bernard – is at the center. if you are in the market for a new car. or needs or the organization – or the personality of the business owner! Today. But it doesn’t stop there. the salesperson you meet will use this information to help sell you a new car. Viewing the constituent as a customer is overlooked. Every small business they visited received the same message. the system is prompted to schedule a follow-up call to confirm by phone that the passport has arrived. There is a disconnect in the political world between congressional offices in Washington. D. Enclosed was an additional list of services that the office provides. even if they don’t call it CRM. Bernard Smith is planning a trip to Ireland for his 30th anniversary. everyone except Bernard’s youngest daughter. Five years ago. Three days later. Knowing more about people in your district. Later.

Data without action is useless. Changes in the way incoming communications are handled can cut the response time in half. she immediately receives a thank you response from the associations. Principle 5 – Plan Ahead. That is. as well as a quick note from the volunteer who recruited her.500 people who email in support of roads. then you’re probably too late to do any good. Each of those bills can generate hundreds of constituent communications – email. Of course. at the end of the day. CRM doesn’t end with the act of collecting information. Time Warner condensed the work of every two full-time employees into one. Each Legislative Assistant (LA) looks ahead to the rapid push of bills that pass every year immediately preceding the August recess. With a good CRM system. The system then generates a response with more information. the system immediately generates a pre-written. – responding to all of those communications seems impossible. as well as YouTube tactics on and off the web to attract new customers. in Web videos. donate. during shopping trips. at the end of the day. faxes. using all the data collected about constituents. This is a lesson that the business world has known for years. which issues she cared about. and it’s what they are doing on blogs. a long-term political strategy is identifying your voters. For many of us. Compare the world of Time Warner Media to the world of the Congressional office. along with a link to the membership page of the Website. Take a good look at your campaign. Before you purchase a CRM system. The ASBO uses the information it gathers each year about small business owners want to shape its activities and future membership drives. After the vote. step back. How do you want your organization to run in an ideal world? How would you change your current way of doing things? How are you organized? What is the culture of your group? How can you build an “ideal” you? Time Warner Cable. with the volunteer’s signature. or join you. With fewer resources in play on a regular basis. it’s about constructing meaningful interactions with your supporters. and employees evolved from working harder to working smarter. a giant in the media industry. Conclusion We’ve used many examples draw from the corporate world in this chapter. office. That’s 18. like politics. realized a few years ago that even a company as big as Time Warner needed a long-term strategy to improve the quality of its product. CRM is a long-term philosophy about the process of doing politics that has the ability to affect your bottom line. If you’re using CRM as a quick fix strategy. The purpose of all the data collected in a CRM system is to reach out proactively. PAGE 18 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . etc. the type of conversations in which you both learn a little more about each other. with another twenty percent increase expected for the year.” In other words. makes a difference between whether you stay in office or return home. and an invitation to the next event. think again. or members and giving them a way to vote. campaign. and the best way to reach her with more information. The Legislative Assistant can use a CRM system to set up “rules.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. revolves around strategy. Rather. pre-approved email to all 18. if you view it as a flexible tool that helps you create room for your organization. Perhaps it is time for the political world to be more about the voter – the only individual who. It’s no secret that the corporate world has been evolving over the course of the past decade to become more focused on one person: the consumer. Congressional offices are designed to respond to constituent communications in a pre-email world.com. When the small business owner signs up as a member. perhaps the political world needs to adjust to a new way of doing business in America. and through their media consumption habits. The average time period to complete a survey shrunk from seven days to two. In an era when “You” is Time Magazine’s person of the year. If you think that good customer service is just a gimmick. “More about me” is what people have come to expect. Or it prompts association staff to follow-up with a phone call or piece of snail mail. the office can focus more time on proactive outreach. It’s not just what you know that matters: it’s how you use it. it tells the system to immediately generate an email thanking a voter for her opinion on the issue of roads and telling her that the office will update her as soon as the vote occurs. the CRM solution they turned to. what used to be an annoying phone call from a constituent about the vote on tomorrow’s farm bill or the state of the roads in his town becomes an opportunity to learn about and reach out to others. Business development. Time Warner’s productivity increased five to ten percent within the first year of using a CRM system. Salesforce. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET the small business owner liked the most. phone calls. or office to grow.500 emails on the busiest day of they year. reported that after it implemented a CRM system with its services. Time Warner took time to evaluate what the company need and where it was going. It’s not about a series of quick fixes to conceal the fact that. donors. Both the systems they have in place to respond to email and the technology they use is from another era. But it doesn’t have to cost you an office building packed with full-time staff. we’re all too busy to care about what our constituents think. or trade association. using a fewer number of resources. if you use it well. and companies are spending fortunes on surveys to find out what consumers really want.

and more effective. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 19 . It’s how you use it. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET thousands of hours a week. or a billion-dollar budget. It’s not about the data. CRM makes the business of building and maintaining relationships with your supporters more efficient.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS.

INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET PAGE 20 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS .

where every element must have a practical purpose. This chapter gives data and constituent relationship management a definite context: the world of political campaigns. However. tools. and case studies for putting all that data your field team collects on its door-to-door canvassing excursions into practice. they’ve stockpiled that information in a way that would make an unreformed Ebenezer Scrooge proud. like Scrooge’s moneybags. Until recently. The authors in this chapter write about some of their best ideas.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 21 . all the data in the world can’t help you if it just lies around collecting dust. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET PART II The Data-Powered Campaign Political operatives have always been interested in any tool that helps them track voters and donors.

and people quickly lose faith in the CRM solution because they don’t trust the data they are looking at. but if those rules are determined early on. to target its resources in the most effective and efficient way. However. Finally. tangible results is always more compelling. many organizations still fail to understand the value of accurate data. The CRM Project Management Handbook”. reducing returned mailings and producing more successful first time mail deliveries. donation systems. so the campaign can immediately identify that person. Bad data won’t get you very far. How well you can target depends upon the quality of your data and your skills at analyzing it. or volunteer sign-up forms.” The principle of a data dictionary is to define what each field in the database is for and what format it will be stored and captured in:17 What is the voter file? The term “voter file” refers to a list of all the registered voters in a geographical area. several commercial companies exist that will clean the data.Hal Malchow.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS.” This needs to be agreed on as early as possible in the process of capturing. All too often you hear the argument that people will clean it up once it is in the new system. Although this can seem expensive at first sight (60 cents an address is typical).” Cleaning. it will save considerable time and money in ensuring that any mailings will have the correct addresses. worthy of its own publication. if ultimately misguided.fec.gov/hava/hava. Hal Malchow offers a useful check- 16 Gentle. since any issues with the initial data will be amplified as the campaign seeks to use the data for more complex purposes. several tables may hold telephone numbers.org/wiki/Data_dictionary PAGE 22 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . A key example of this is when data is being captured by third party systems e. It is critical that the data is captured in such a way that it matches what is already in the voter database.data that is usually referred to as “legacy data.16 All too often the implementation a CRM system is considered to be a failure because the successful implementation of the software exposes the poor quality of the data being stored in the organization’s existing system(s) .g. visit http://www.wikipedia. such as mailings and targeting. Stupid! PETER CHURCHILL CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS “One benefit of a well-prepared data dictionary is a consistency between data items across different tables. htm. In summary. The CRM solution being used may enforce some of these rules. The voter file typically includes the following information on each voter: • Name • Address • Birthday • Political Party • Date of voter registration • Voter history. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 3 It’s the Data. States are required to compile this information according to the 2002 Help America Vote Act. using a data dictionary the format of this telephone number field will be consistent…Data dictionaries are more precise than glossaries (terms and definitions) because they frequently have one or more representations of how data is structured. despite an endless supply of studies that identifies the failure to properly manage the data acquisition and migration as the primary reason for project failures in the corporate sector. For example. The issues around data are crucial for the successful ongoing operations of a political campaign. It is often hard to convince an organization that has just spent millions on software that they first need to put it back on the shelf and clean up their existing data. it will ensure that any data received or captured can be analyzed and processed to fit the need of the database without creating errors further down the road. matching and de-duplicating data is a painstaking task. For more information on the Help America Vote Act. collating and then importing the data. ultimately. One way of addressing this problem is to define a basic “data dictionary. At the heart of targeting is a database of voters. The desire for more immediate. author of The New Political Targeting Data sits at the core of all customer relationship management systems. 13. 17 http://en. But they rarely ever do. It is the data that makes it possible for an organization not only to build better relations with an individual customer. . but to identify relationships between different customers and.

20 The higher the percentage of targeted voters on the mailing lists that are being used to raise donations or persuade undecided voters. Ibid. the techniques described above ensure those identified as most important are focused on by the field team. Ron Faucheux (New York: M Evans and Company Inc. 235.43. Statistical models are then used to determine which attributes in the database are most effective for identifying the groups the campaign needs to win. volunteer. etc. the efficiency of direct mail is best described as how economically a candidate is able to reach those groups of voters that make up the winning coalition. Determine which data will be most valuable for this campaign – race. using pre-determined database rules based on geography and available volunteers and skills. 449. religion. speedier processes). vote in a primary and actually vote on Election Day.. This data is then appended back into an existing database. since fewer pieces of mail are need to reach those voters. When campaigns become door-to-door salesmen This leads to a second example where techniques in the corporate world have been replicated successfully by political campaigns. but only 25 percent of the undecided voters are reached.22 If the campaign has a sophisticated CRM system in place that can be segmented using data captured in a CHAID analysis. Although Malchow discusses the use of CHAID to enhance mailing lists.e. Unlike normal polling.2003). and the more efficient the mailing will be. The only way to be sure that the campaign reaches all undecided voters is to mail every voter in the voting area. education.21 If a persuasion piece of mail costs 50 cents. Enhance the list with commercially available data. it is clear that this methodology could be expanded to give every voter in the CRM system a score based on the CHAID analysis. If the same mailing now reaches 43 percent of undecided voters. as Malchow explains. Chi Square Automatic Interaction Detector (CHAID) uses surveys that query large samples of voters but only asks them one or two profile questions. would allocate the voter addresses to individual field workers and volunteers. there are clearly drawbacks to this approach. No mailing will be one hundred percent accurate. the effective cost of the mailing is now only $1. Educate your users as to what data is available so they know how to use it in the most effective way. it can begin to identify those voters who would be most persuaded by canvassing from the candidate and/or a regular field canvasser. right) and more efficient – two characteristics that have very direct political implications (i. as an example. So the more accurately the campaign determines which voters in it database are undecided voters. Just as a sales person’s time is best served by focusing on their most valuable customers.e. The New Political Targeting. Let’s say. Lorene Durgin argues that because each candidate has a limited amount of time to maximize their exposure to the electorate. The system. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET list to any campaign when considering its data strategy:18 1. such as census figures and so-called lifestyle data like magazine subscriptions that will build on point #1.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. The CRM system produces the information. but could also save them money as well: “[I]t is often overlooked that CRM can also generate very significant cost savings in the form of the most effective (i. either in paper format or electronically if the staff has access to Personal Digital 22 Lorene Hanley Duquin. he advocates CHAID – a tool that is used widely in the commercial sector to identify which demographics will respond best to a mailing or phone call. Gentle. so techniques such as these will assist a campaign in identifying similarly “profitable” voters. Malchow. Just as corporations seek to focus on their most profitable customers and avoid wasting money on the least profitable. 2. 3. According to Democratic direct marketer Hal Malchow. 4. Making the Data Work for You Early on. 41. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 23 . Malchow offers various suggestions on how to improve the quality of the targeting. the effective cost to reach each undecided voter is $2.. CRM Project Management Handbook. Winning Elections ed. However. In particular. some of the best organizations in the corporate world recognized that CRM should not only lead to an increase in sales. that a campaign decides that the most effective way to persuade undecided voters is via a direct mail piece. In Winning Elections. 12. Using data profiling the list can be segmented more effectively to reduce the amount of mail needed to reach that same group of people. 13. so if the profiling is incorrect. the less mail it has to send to reach that ten percent of the electorate. Those scores could include propensity to donate. 18 19 20 21 Malchow. Determine how clean the list is. the more efficient the mailing is said to be. But this clearly entails a huge waste of resources to reach perhaps only ten percent of the electorate.”19 Let’s use direct mail as our first example of how this process works. The New Political Targeting. so in the political world. The savings to a campaign can be considerable. there is a risk of never reaching the voters needed to win. a campaign must try to target the most appropriate voters when doing any form of door-to-door canvassing.

capture missing information such as email and cell phone numbers. Most people are not aware of how much data about them is publicly available. a for-profit broker could offer an advocacy group a subset of its data at a discount in return for extra information the group in question gathers as part of its ongoing operation. As an example. PAGE 24 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . for legal and practical reasons. Many private sector companies have the ability to enhance the data used by campaigns in ways that the political parties. sophisticated data profiling is still rarely used. The broker could then append this information to its main data set. Democracy & the Internet (IPDI) mailed people a survey last year asking about their political donation practices. many people would find the idea that a campaign knew which newspaper they subscribed to be unsettling. When canvassing is complete. and ideally capture what issues each member of the ousehold visited is most concerned about. The scenarios described above will become much more common in the 2006 and 2008 elections cycle. synchronize data they have captured in their PDAs. the people should have explicitly opted to receive communication from the campaign. and they must look to industry for guidance. the U. they had no idea this data was then publicly available. and they must always be able to easily and quickly request that the campaign stops any communications with them. and only by the largest campaigns. several people challenged where IPDI had obtained their data from.S. While these voters had donated to a campaign. When people sign up for email lists on a website. The people visiting can capture the same information – in effect an even more in depth door-to-door CHAID analysis. With electronic devices they can also validate the information currently stored in the central system.S. but also to receive campaign donations using SMS short code technology. The campaign can then not only use the data to test their current assumptions about the voter profiles. the staff returns to the field office and either enters in the information they have captured to the central system or. but using workflow rules. thus beginning the process of building a relationship between the campaign and the voters. but also the extent to which the use of this data risks alienating the very people a campaign is trying to build a relationship with. As an example. Companies such as Mobile Accord are offering campaigns the ability to not only use SMS to coordinate people for rallies and meetings. or text messaging via cell phones is one technology that is likely to play an ever larger role in contacting voters for fundraising and mobilization. But like polling before it. SMS. it can ensure that those who have offered to volunteer to help the campaign in some way can then be allocated to a campaign staffer to be contacted. Similarly. Can I Buy Data from a Company? Yes. The dilemma of capturing personal data without upsetting the people being targeted was acknowledged by Peppers and Rogers: “Every dialogue with a customer is an opportunity to build the scope of the relationship with that customer…But how can you reconcile the need for more and more information on an individual customer with that customer’s likely desire to preserve his or her own privacy?”23 One solution is to adopt the techniques used by “Permission Marketers. is rapidly catching up. When the Institute for Politics. calling a voter’s cell phone. For political campaigns. they can also ensure that people who have been visited automatically receive a follow up letter from the candidate based on the responses the field staffer received. All this data can then be fed back into the central database to not only further refine the profiling that the campaign can perform. do not.g. and they will need to understand the implications of capturing and using this data. e. and then sell this enhanced data to a candidate for a fee. even though the survey packet clearly said their name was taken from the publicly available FEC register. The recent immigration protests in major U. Although America has been slow to adopt mobile technology when compared with Europe or Asia. The possibilities that modern communications now offer make the issues of permission marketing increasingly complex to monitor. this is relatively easy – the website just needs to ensure that people are aware they will receive emails as a result of signing up. This will present situations for a campaign that few will have previously encountered. 329. For instance. Data Privacy Campaigns and advocacy organizations must consider not only the ethical and increasingly legal responsibilities that the capture and management of data entails. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET Assistants such as IPAQs or PalmPilots. The One to One Future. even invasive. cities were often coordinated by text messaging.” who advocate that all contact positive and welcome. and can always opt out at any time. preferably.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. it is becoming more readily available to smaller campaigns. I presented the following scenario to Dan Weaver at Mobile Accord: 23 Peppers and Rogers.. Particularly with respect to the most intrusive contacts.

DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET Two candidates are running in a primary race. Using Voice over IP (VoIP) Technology (the same technology used by companies such as Skype and Vonage). so that it can directly make use of a campaign’s existing targeting data and ensure that all data updates are made directly into the CRM system. The model of how this might operate in the future in the corporate world is provided by Salesforce. the Phone Bank in a Box can create ten or twenty phones lines that are available for volunteers to use. 2006. If Candidate B endorses candidate A for the general election. This could take place via a simple SMS opt-in.e. hosting a volunteer phone bank required a large space. a campaign needs to get them involved Previously. For example.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Some techniques have increased the voter sense of involvement. and a campaign staffer had to be on hand to provide call lists and scripts and ensure that any data captured was entered back into any database after the phone bank’s completion. However. it should soon be possible to configure the phone bank to access a campaign’s CRM system. 222. Personal Email. Although they can deliver the core email functionality relatively easily. Many of these tools will assist a campaign in working more effectively and more efficiently. so Candidate A can now also send text messages to those people? Or is the agreement only relevant to Candidate B? His response was that the Mobile Marketing Association’s (MMA) Best Practices Guidelines state that any opt-ins to Candidate B’s race pertain only to that candidate and should not be used to promote any other products unless an opt-in has been obtained from the subscriber to receive this information. describes as their Phone Bank in a Box™ system. “As new forms of media develop and clutter becomes ever more intense. such as the office of an organization with enough space and available phone lines for the volunteers. Just as the corporate world now focuses far more on integrating their existing CRM systems with other systems that deliver specialized functionality.com>.D. Furthermore. Managing Customer Relationships eds. They have recently launched AppExchange. and candidate B encourages people to sign up to receive text messages from his campaign. Apr 19. such as someone’s home. . The volunteers had to travel to that specific location. can he now “give” Candidate A that text message list. Don Peppers and Martha Rogers Ph. One alternative to this method is what @dvocacy Inc. a campaign needs to get them involved.com.com implementation. Candidate A wins the primary. and ensures the campaigns get the best solutions. at a fraction of the cost of traditional phone installation. An Ever Expanding Range of Options Many of the other innovations that are becoming available to campaigns will not be built by the CRM system vendors themselves. many of the new tools in political campaigns will be separate ones delivered by third party vendors that are then closely integrated with the core system. the phone banking can occur at locations more convenient for the volunteers. (Hoboken.”25 The key is to always ensure that people have opted in to your communications. which could then be appended to any list Candidate A already had. In his view. Because it can be set up anywhere. 25 Seth Godin. but rather than setting up an CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 25 . if Candidate A wanted to possess Candidate B’s list of mobile numbers and control the messages that are sent (rather than just have Candidate B send messages on his behalf) then Candidate B would first have to ask permission of all the people on the list.24 As Seth Godin said wrote in a piece about Permission Marketing. 24 Dan Weaver. the complexity involved in ensuring that email is CAN-SPAM compliant and can navigate the ISP filters makes partnering with firms that provide these services and functionalities mutually beneficial to the vendors. The political CRM vendors I talked with agreed that although they would continue to make enhancements to their core system. 2004). To really build a relationship with the voters. A second method of phone banking that is proving popular is “virtual phone banking. and therefore your campaign. < dweaver@mobileaccord. “I endorse Candidate A. one emerging technology that is proving effective is offering new ways to host volunteer phone banks. If you would like to receive important information via SMS about Candidate A’s campaign reply with ‘Y’. But to really build a relationship with the voters. it’s the asset of permission that will generate profits for marketers. they would mostly look to the commercial sector to enable customers to fully exploit features such as email and text messaging. It is the size of a large suitcase and requires only a single high speed Internet connection to host the phone bank. designed to allow third party vendors to build additional functionality that will seamlessly integrate with a customer’s current Salesforce. wherever it was. NJ: John Wiley and Sons Inc.” This also makes use of VoIP technology. i.

a campaign must continue to market to its customers – the constituents and voters – to ensure they continue to buy their “product” in the future. 29 Blaemire. With congressional campaigns occurring every two years and the need to raise money more important than ever. but could make calls once they have gone to bed. Furthermore. but from their volunteers and staff. The Era of the Permanent Campaign Why is CRM so important? Blame it on the current campaign season. and enables people to volunteer who could not travel to a help at a phone bank – e. If constituents receive an excellent level of service from their elected officials it will surely benefit their re-election efforts and make government more effective and efficient. Winning Elections ed. The corporate world has taken many years to fully implement genuinely customer focused organizations. it “sends a message that the candidate is serious about keeping his or her job” to anyone looking to challenge them in a forthcoming primary or general election. someone with children who couldn’t leave them at home. Furthermore. However. separate and apart from any official outreach. you can reduce the cost of mailings and outreach. 144-6. 145. especially as they partner with other specialized corporate vendors. Howard Dean’s campaign is considered by some to have been a watershed by changing the way campaigns interact with their supporters. Data from the campaign cannot be used by the elected official in office.”26 Like the corporate world. within the scope of this chapter. By eliminating individuals known to be in opposition. 28 Nathaniel Pearlman. political CRM vendors have moved rapidly to ensure that they are no longer trailing behind the corporate sector. an individual is simply allocated a list of names which they can call from their home computer. Washington D. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET entire phone bank in someone’s house. nor can data captured about constituents in the course of executing their official duties be later used in a campaign. 25 April 2006. can also maintain the quality of the data by matching it against current voter files so when the campaign team is reconstituted. Everything Blaemire describes as necessary to maintain this infrastructure is part of a CRM solution. the campaign has one significant restriction. Just as customer expectations forced companies to adopt CRM.28 Such companies.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. However.29 Conclusion Political campaigns have begun to understand the changes predicted by Peppers and Rogers and begun to adapt their processes and systems to fit this new world of 1:1 marketing and individualized media. and it will take time for the political world to catch up. in partnership with other companies providing data service. 27 Blaemire. Meanwhile. As such. public officials and advocacy organizations. PAGE 26 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . Winning Elections. • • By continuing to capture data about voters concerns. 26 Bob Blaemire. especially as CRM vendors partner with more specialized technology firms and enable campaigns to extract the maximum value not just from their data. so voters will increasingly expect the same from their politicians. The advantage of this is that it can be done by people wherever they are geographically located. NGP Software. it is able to quickly ramp up. it may be possible to raise money earlier in the campaign cycle. as Blaemire observes. Examples such as these will become more common in the next election cycles. This is not to say that an elected official should not employ CRM principles to ensure good governance – quite the opposite. the rapidly changing world of communications technologies unleashed by the Internet revolution of the 1990s makes it ever harder for a campaign to resist the voters’ demands to play a more active role in political campaigns. Finally.. Blaemire offers three reasons for maintaining a Permanent Campaign:27 • By continuing to grow the database of donors. it has become necessary for many elected officials to run what Bob Blaemire describes as the “Permanent Campaign. the model of achieving sales through excellent service – a core tenet of the CRM process – is not available to a campaign. President. Ron Faucheux (New York: M Evans and Company Inc.2003). But just as political campaigns still rely on television advertising when the corporate world is moving increasingly to online advertising.g. 145. Winning Elections. companies such as NGP Software provide an “off year” service to enable campaigns to maintain their data in one place at a reduced cost. you can enhance the voter profiles. it is extremely difficult to apply those CRM processes that utilize data captured from servicing the constituent/customer to increase knowledge of that voter/customer.. unlike the corporate world. it is not only possible but recommended that a campaign continues to maintain a relationship with the voters. It should be noted. so it will take time for campaign staffers familiar with the CRM tools available to move into more senior positions where they are able to demand that these tools are properly utilized. Interview at NGP Software.C.

they limit correspondence frequency and solicitation type. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 27 . Another level of filtering can be used to segment the file into specific issue-related or demographic groups.net. past responses to solicitations. Insights into the constituent’s everyday life can not only be helpful for tailoring a constituent mail piece for maximum impact. Using CRM as a basis for the strategy is essential when rallying the support of constituents. as well as interest in issues articulated by the constituents can be vital for the campaign. Storing these responses provides a wealth of information that can be tapped into across multiple departments. the more likely he or she will donate money to or volunteer time for the campaign. ethnicity. Interaction with a constituent spans multiple channels within a campaign from email and website activity to direct mail and telemarketing. user-friendly environment allows details about the constituent to be available across departments. This simple use of data management practices saves campaign staff from receiving angry phone calls from potentially-valuable constituents. and topics of interest which may be helpful in future interactions. coalitions. Tracking these preferences consistently across departments is crucial to running targeted campaigns. from get-outthe-vote campaigns to working the polls on Election Day. creating a personal contact history for each individual. The more connected a constituent feels to a candidate’s platform. File flags can also assist in merchandise fulfillment. Use the information provided by them to form a strategy for future contact.cmdi. implement Constituent Relationship Management. and how to best connect with those whose personal beliefs align with its candidate. Listen to them. Conducting a survey of the constituent base is an excellent way to understand what motivates constituents.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Each communication with the constituent provides the campaign with an opportunity to learn more about the individual in an unobtrusive way. age. and NCOALink processing solutions for nonprofit and corporate clients. tracking the frequency of contact. especially if the campaign constructs specific messages for those within the targeted groups. Encouraging constituent involvement becomes much more effective when lists can be strategically segmented according to individual interest. to questions about organizations the constituent supports financially. or online registrations. How can a campaign connect with its constituents in a meaningful way? Talk to them. Well-constructed questions can range from political issues and demographics. All conversations with staff members should be logged into the database. In other words. By inserting checkboxes into direct mail pieces. outbound emails. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 4 Understanding Constituent Motivation: The Benefits of Effective CRM JOCELYN BOWMAN CMDI @ CMDI provides donor management. Not only can filters track preferences of volunteer activity. as requested by the constituent. but it can also be useful for identifying lists which the campaign can rent for future donor acquisition efforts. such as selecting those who have requested bumper stickers or yard signs. Every campaign needs to understand what motivates its donor base. Create filters that track constituent preferences. data processing. Religion. Flag a volunteer’s file with activities they are willing to conduct on behalf of the candidate. For more information. Storing information gathered by each point of contact in a single. what issues are most important to its constituents. the campaign can establish which issues. visit www. or volunteer capacities most interest the constituents.

Learning about customers. As an Internet entrepreneur. The CRM movement needed a push. two businesses consultants and authors. means capitalizing on the interactive age brought on by the Internet and developing more personalized relationships with customers. Rick Levine. Inertia is a difficult thing to overcome. learning about. The concept of CRM provided a methodology for businesses to fulfill that promise. and it implies two-way communication – the opportunity for customers to provide feedback and the capability of the business to listen to that feedback. Cluetrain was a collection of 95 theses about the new realities of business in a new. standing of the individual customers. meaning the ability to capture and evaluate information about the customer. and David Weinberger With the obvious reference to Martin Luther’s original 95 theses. as they described it. Back to Business Customer Relationship Management was an earth-shattering concept to me when I first learned about it in early 1999. radically connected world. and a few months after Enterprise One to One was published. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 5 Get a Clue! The Dawn of CRM in Politics BOBBY CLARK PROGRESSNOW ACTION 3. Doc Searls. and David Weinberger provided that push with their Cluetrain Manifesto. Remembering. Chris Locke. For more information. For More Information ENTERPRISE ONE TO ONE By Don Peppers and Martha Rogers CLUETRAIN MANIFESTO By Christopher Locke. This concept is hard for many of us in the political sphere to digest. Enterprise One to One. visit www. but we also need to take greater advantage of telephone and other contacts with customers. CRM. – The “relationship” is the key part of CRM. @ ProgressNow Action is a statebased advocacy network that began in Colorado and now has created a national grassroots network. – Finally.org. after interacting. the employees of a business need to be able to recall information about the customer when interacting with the customer in the future. – A relationship also requires the ability to have an under- In their book. Doc Searls. as well as how the business interacts with the customer in the future. It was an unmitigated condemnation of businesses that had failed to grasp the significance of the Internet. creating a compelling business case for the shift to CRM. They showed that by implementing new technologies and shifting focus to individual customers. This occurs by implementing a few key capabilities: 1. and the consumers empowered by the conversation would punish the businesses that didn’t adapt to the new reality. Don Peppers and Martha Rogers. As briefly noted earlier in this publication. businesses needs to treat each customer as an individual by serving the customer’s individual preferences in the way the business delivered products or services. probably did more to define CRM than anyone else. Interaction with customers. PAGE 28 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . – For a relationship with a customer to continue and grow over time. ProgressNowAction. even when money is involved.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. The Internet provides new opportunities to interact with customers through the Web and email. 4. The Internet had enabled “a powerful global conversation. businesses could make more money. Peppers and Rogers provided case studies of businesses that used CRM. I was passionate about the promise the Internet offered to create greater connection between people and the organizations and businesses that served them. and remembering information about individual customers.” they wrote. the Cluetrain authors seem to have intended their work to be more a call for revolution than a business treatise. Personalization. Cluetrain recognized the power-shift created 2.

as with all our online campaigns. We wanted to promote an open and honest public dialogue about the campaign. The companies serving the business world are too expensive for non-profits or campaigns. As we moved toward the goal. Trippi loved the idea. it would be an overstatement to say that we implemented all the capabilities needed to achieve a “business world” CRM model. and ideas for the campaign. The blog wasn’t the only tool that Dean supporters used to communicate with the campaign.” a series of large rallies around the country. We had a team of volunteers who read and responded to emails. and everyone was connected to the Internet through the public Wi-Fi system in the park. First.m. many companies in the political space fall short. The thermometer for the campaign. And it created a focal point for a continuing movement of people passionate about the power-shift and determined to make sure that it changed everything. and I found myself headed to Vermont to help start Howard Dean’s presidential campaign. the bat would fill up with red. The Governor took the stage with a red bat in his hand. and the bloggers. was a large bat held by a baseball player. with a goal of raising $1 million. which we designed in such a way that anyone could post a comment without creating an account and logging in. And many companies that service the non-profit and political world do not always provide complete solutions. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 29 . Someone read a great idea posted by one of our supporters on our blog. And we developed applications for the Web that enabled Dean supporters to interact online with each other and with the campaign. Most importantly. We were the first presidential campaign to launch a blog. Nicco Mele. and he stopped the bus and sent an intern out into the city with the order to find a red bat and meet everyone at Bryant Park before 10:00 p. Ten thousand people gathered in the park to hear Governor Dean speak at 10:00 p. Learning and Remembering Learning and remembering is a function of managing data. called Joe Trippi on his cell phone to share that idea.. The Dean campaign served as the Cluetrain Manifesto of politics. they have closed systems: the databases they Our goal was to have a “mass listening” capability that would recognize and reward input from Dean supporters.m. Our goal was to have a “mass listening” capability that would recognize and reward input from Dean supporters. Most of the web team from the Vermont headquarters traveled to New York to help with the event. and the intern ran into the park in time to hand a red bat to Governor Dean. were thrilled to see that one of their ideas had just been made a reality by the campaign. was perhaps our most notable achievement. A. have focused on creating that capability for the business world. The blog was a place where our supporters could share criticisms. Trippi was on the bus with Governor Dean heading to the park from the airport. Entire companies. we worked hard to ensure that Dean supporters knew that the staff heard them when they communicated with us.m. then he should walk on the stage with a red bat in his hands. fate intervened in 2002. In the final few minutes before 10:00 p. It is fair to say that the Dean campaign was the most interactive presidential campaign in history. Foremost in a CRM model is the imperative of employing a single database that is connected to every application used to interact with constituents. CRM makes its way to the political world – lessons from the Dean campaign After several years working with Internet startups. It fueled a conversation about that power-shift that commanded the attention of the business world. B. We had regular conference calls with leaders of our local Meetups and house party organizers. success stories. the Dean campaign was a wake-up call to the political establishment. Two approaches to CRM do not work. like Siebel and ePiphany. We had also been conducting an online fundraising campaign during the Sleepless Summer Tour. 2003. we reached the goal of $1 million. Interacting The first capability needed for CRM. We were completing what we referred to as the “Sleepless Summer Tour. We were nearing the goal of $1 million. the political establishment. There is no such equivalent in the non-profit or political world.m. And it was a rallying cry for people who had felt disconnected from. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET by the Internet. and the blog served as the focal point for that conversation. interactivity. who were watching the event streamed on the Internet. however. and the supporter suggested that if we reached that goal before the Governor took the stage at 10:00 p. with an event in New York at Bryant Park. the Dean campaign did not manage data particularly well. Our webmaster. and sadly. One of my favorite examples of that mass listening occurred in August. Like Cluetrain. and ignored by. From a CRM perspective. In hindsight..INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS.

the product or service is more difficult to define. If a constituent does not make a donation within the short window of time in which he or she feels the impulse. If we received ten thousand emails in response to a campaign. Martha explained what a miserable experience it was to constantly be digging out from under a mountain of endless email. Being an interactive campaign meant that we received an inordinate amount of email from our supporters – literally thousands of emails every single day. we could expect at least one thousand of those to be questions about making a donation. But we had no way to track those email conversations. then that particular donation is lost. and engaging in. Moreover. the campaign. The new applications we developed to enable interactivity with and among our constituents could not be connected to our CRM database.” to use a business term. and I asked her how she was doing. was a question about making a donation. And the problem wasn’t just the pain for our volunteers. in-bound email and face-to-face visits. the ultimate goal is to deliver products and services that meet a consumer’s individual preferences. Closed systems – databases that only work with applications provided by the same company. we contracted early on with one of the leading providers of non-profit CRM services and immediately ran into the limitations of those companies. When we received a wave of emails in response to an online fundraiser. For the remainder of our elevator ride and our walk down the hall to our respective work spaces. As a consequence. it is fair to say that the Dean campaign necessarily became personalized for our supporters to a great degree. emotional response to a particular call to action. then that particular donation is lost. like phone calls. Databases that do not allow you to manage all customer touch points. we ultimately created multiple databases that were not connected to each other in any meaningful way. And we had no database at all to support our phone and email interactions with constituents.000. we could have more easily created processes for prioritizing and responding to emails regarding donations. Dean’s evolution as the voice of opposition to the Iraq war was in part driven by the campaign and in PAGE 30 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . each inbound email from an existing constituent could have been associated with his or her constituent record so that we could keep better track of that constituent’s contacts with the campaign. The campaign also suffered. a group of dozens of retired Vermonters. Because the Dean campaign was so interactive.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. An online donation generally is triggered by an immediate. One Saturday morning when I came in for work. The most obvious product is the candidate and his or her campaign platform – the issues he or she espouses during the campaign season. A customer cannot connect other applications to the database directly. the product is also the experience that the supporter has interacting with. More broadly. Online donations should be thought of as an “impulse buy. We were also losing donations. C. and a customer cannot develop new applications to connect to the database. ‘ On the Dean campaign. Two things to avoid when searching for a CRM solution 1. I entered the elevator at the same time as one of our email volunteers – a perpetually cheerful and kind retired woman named Martha. who sat at computers day after day responding to a never-ending mountain of email. as do businesses that practice CRM. most notably phone calls and in-bound email. If we had been using a contact center application to manage in-bound email. Martha seemed unusually sullen that morning. it could take a week or more to respond to those emails. About one out of every ten emails Online donations should be thought of as an “impulse buy”: if a constituent does not make a donation within the short window of time in which he or she feels the impulse. Personalizing In the business world. Second. missing out on one thousand donations could have meant that the campaign lost $50. With a campaign. We had a team of volunteers. they do not provide applications to manage all customer touch points. Assuming an average donation of just $50. That created a tremendous challenge – especially when it came to managing email. and because we listened to Dean supporters and invited them to take ownership. 2. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET provide are only open to the applications that they also provide.

that is also a deal-killer. The only way that a campaign can reasonably choose to implement a true CRM system will be to rent such a system from an application service provider that has already done a significant amount of work to create a system that is customized for campaigns. Failing to personalize our email messages created problems in some cases. without regard to where they lived or what issues they cared most about. Dave Kochbeck. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 31 . And true CRM will be the solution. Many campaigns make the mistake of believing that they are practicing CRM by segmenting their list and targeting groups of voters with messages geared toward that group. to fully implement a true CRM system. campaigns need to find a way to deal with the vast and painful challenge of managing data and creating more personal relationships with constituents. In the hyper-fast world of campaigns. but had received yet another email asking them to contribute more. informed by the individual’s personal preferences. And the campaign would never have elected to forego public funding if our supporters had not voted to support that decision. believed in a “we’re all in this together” philosophy. and countless hours of staff time. With regard to email. and he argued that a farmer in Iowa should be as concerned about equality as a gay man in Boston. it would have taken months.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Peppers and Rogers referred to CRM as “one-to-one marketing” because the ultimate goal for businesses is to treat customers individually and not as members of a market segment. On numerous occasions we received angry emails from donors who had already contributed the maximum $2. Targeting groups of people. How do you implement CRM on a campaign? At one point in the summer of 2003. And no campaign can afford to diminish the good will it enjoys with its supporters. by definition. Dave’s instinct was right. For a campaign that will not last beyond an election. And true CRM will be the solution. it is important to note that many campaigns make the mistake of believing that they are practicing CRM by segmenting their list and targeting groups of voters with messages geared toward that group. To truly employ CRM in a political campaign would mean treating constituents individually. Joe Trippi. Targeting groups of people. the then-current Dean campaign Information Technology Director. The campaign probably would have never uttered a word about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act if we hadn’t had so many early and vocal supporters who were passionate about that subject. even by segmented group. isn’t CRM. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET part a response to the demands of our supporters. Campaigns need to find a way to deal with the vast and painful challenge of managing data and creating more personal relationships with constituents. Like businesses did before. by definition. spending $1 million on one part of its IT needs is an almost laughable proposition. worked with one of the leading corporate CRM companies on a proposal to use their services. And one of the ways the campaign can provide a personalized experience is to communicate with a constituent as an individual. The starting point was $1 million. One of the most significant touch points between a campaign and supporters is email from the campaign. the campaign manager. The Dean campaign did not personalize the content of its emails. not as members of a target segment. But in many important ways we were unable or unwilling to personalize the campaign to fit a CRM model. The campaign decided early on that all of our supporters would receive the same message from the campaign when we sent an email.000 to the campaign. isn’t CRM. Moreover.

In early 2003. As Peter Churchill writes in Chapter 1. However. Your treasurer should have access to the phone numbers the fundraiser entered PAGE 32 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . campaigns were on the forefront of community-based technology.0 Means Sharing Your Toys One of the unique qualities of a good campaign management program is that it requires campaigns to think in a different way.0 First used by O’Reilly Media in 2004. It saves you time and money by ensuring the efficient utilization of your human and financial resources. both within the political community and society at large. Welcome to Web 2. they were well ahead of the curve. four. It is one place where. @ CompleteCampaigns.COM While the Dean campaign was not among the very first users. for campaigns. fundraising. there is both huge potential and significant pitfalls. fundraising. Your fundraiser should know a donor is also a reliable volunteer. Over the past 10 years. Since the early days of professional campaign management. especially those focused on collaboration and user-generated content. volunteers and more. Meetup. five or more different storage silos of information – say. Most recently. www. a few campaigns started using online applications to share information between consultants in different locations. Database Management – Web 2. the Dean campaign integrated the community-based tool. they lead the movement towards Web 2. For more information. As Internet access grew and browser technology improved. As early as 1999.com provides web-based services to help campaigns effectively track supporters. ideally. political operatives have been interested in data management because tracking voters. Early data management “technology” generally consisted of an alphabetized set of index cards. one list of donors that your fundraising staff controls.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. the term Web 2. etc. No longer does each field office have to be its own island. Today. easy of use and accessibility. and volunteers. To use one of the new catch-phrases of the Internet. instead of having three. Web 2. software has become a service.0 refers to the growth of web applications. one list of volunteers that your field staff controls.completecampaigns. donors and opinion leaders has been key to a successful campaign.0 makes it all possible. We can connect volunteers. this does not get shared with other members of the campaign team. discussed at length in the next chapter. Web 2. there is no reason not to use a single system for your campaign.com. visit.0 has become mainstream. All the information gathered from each of these different efforts immediately goes into the central data repository. With this greater acceptance comes a growth in choices and flexibility. – the idea is to push all of your data into one central repository. Today. com. into their campaign organization. with web-based software available. KATZ COMPLETECAMPAIGNS. Many political professionals are used to having their “fiefdoms” – individual databases that are not shared with other members of the campaign team. the campaign can conduct all of its activities: accounting. this creates huge duplication in data entry and information gaps – often one member of the campaign team will receive new contact information and because they have their own database. voters. creating a fundamental shift in the way entire campaigns are run. While political campaigns are often chasing mainstream technology in many ways. campaign headquarters and district offices in a way that allows all of us to work together. consultants. the rise of web-based software has revolutionized the campaign world.0 Electrifies Data in the Political World BENJAMIN A. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 6 How Web 2. Many political professionals are used to having their “fiefdoms” – individual databases that are not shared with other members of the campaign team. This creates huge duplication in data entry and information gaps Information is not shared with other members of the campaign team. the tools available to campaigns have dramatically improved in utility.0.

The volunteer coordinator needs the unlimited ability to enter information and run reports on volunteers. One person might have access to all the voters in your database who live in precincts one through ten. Campaigns need to control the entire data process – from what information they want to collect to who collects it and who has access to it. the more data the campaign compiles. Good conversations lead to a more effective campaign. and poorly programmed tools will still disappoint you. even the most devoted supporter can become. Conversations do not simply refer to communications with the voter. The more data you compile. well. while somebody else has access to eleven to twenty. but she probably does not need to be able to see financial information. When the consultants who create and send all the direct mail for a campaign do not talk to the people doing the door-to-door canvassing.0 tool.0. for example. This isn’t the only disconnect in politics. old. Perhaps more critically. Voter Contact in an Online World I always thought it somewhat ironic and rather painful that campaigns send armies of volunteers and staff walking door-to-door. during the campaign’s big push for education. online tools are fundamentally still just software. calling or at events. the campaign sends that resident an email about education. choosing the wrong vendor can significantly harm a campaign. Even more critically.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. It all boils down to this: the more information you have going into one place. care deeply about – then you cannot lose them. Instead of broadcasting a message at voters. Given the disparate nature of campaigns. Despite the hype of Web 2. campaigns should look carefully at the flexibility of the software and the ease of use. this can be further supplemented with geographic based access. Beyond security. When you speak someone’s language – when you talk to somebody about the issues that you know they CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 33 . Take the example of direct mail. Data management enhances the conversations your campaign has with everyone involved in the campaign – from the strategy department to the consultants to the volunteers. Good conversations lead to a more effective campaign. For example. good campaign security needs to control access to different types of information. This starts with security. much of this Web 2.0. or useless information from an untrackable number of sources into a large pot. overwhelmed. In evaluating options. but not run reports. While the benefits of online tools ensure that nearly all of these systems exceed the utility of desktop software there remains a huge variation in the quality and functionality of these tools. The field team and the Web team aren’t talking. Another staffer might be able to edit the database. inquire into the depth of testing (has it survived several campaign cycles or is it fresh out of the gate?) and customer satisfaction. online tools are fundamentally still just software. online databases are a critical Web 2. Quality Control – Good Data Doesn’t Just Happen Data management isn’t about throwing all kinds of dubious. This. the voter really cares about health care. Stop sending me all this junk mail!” In the end. quality data requires an active process of data maintenance and updates. For larger campaigns. if you can have a more directed conversation then you can avoid wasting money on pointless communication.0 style of communication actually happens offline. it comes down to real communication. in turn. The canvasser talks to a resident and finds out that. the higher quality conversations you can have. The key is integration and facilitating two way conversations. you might want to give a campaign staffer the ability to enter any piece of information in the database. Then the next week. When Despite the hype of Web 2. and poorly programmed tools will still disappoint you. I have heard of voters who actually pick up the phone and call the campaign to say “I said I’m voting for you. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET for the latest campaign event and your campaign manager should be able to instantly access the most recent campaign financials. Data management enhances the conversations your campaign has with everyone involved in the campaign Strangely. talking to voters when walking. allows the campaign to communicate better with voters. Even further down you might have people who only have the access to voters in a given precinct. but not edit the information fields or change the way you set up the database. When Good Databases Go Bad While the value of online databases is tremendous.

Of course. Just as technology grows. and new ways to interacting with voters. A similar process is necessary for postal mail and phone numbers. donors and even voters to update their own information. all of the contributor’s information can be directly added to the accountant’s records. Federal and state regulations require a campaign’s best efforts to report accurately. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET sending out a broadcast email. The growth of web-based software has been a boon to both professional and volunteer campaign treasurers as it has eased the process of generating accurate campaign reports quickly. With the proper tools. These are the kinds of missing details that can cause a lot of heartbreak and waste a lot of time if they are not addressed as quickly as possible within the campaign. With this. Without proper tools. It gives them time to spend on new campaign ideas. More importantly. as donors are now responsible for their own data entry. With the desire to have a personal connection with campaigns and candidates coupled with a common frustration of feeling like a cog in the machine. but properly designed tools can allow you employ outside data entry while preventing data loss. With inflexible desktop software. the revolution of technology and the simplification of methodology gives campaigns back one thing they may have lost in the flurry of separate spreadsheets and individual call lists: time. A good system. today’s voters want a more intense relationship than campaigns using desktop software can provide.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. For example. in addition to these features.0 world. you can now allow your volunteer. State and FEC Filing – Accounting on the Web Campaign accounting can be a complicated and costly endeavor. If the tool you are using to generate these reports is not integrated into your accounting system. Likewise. campaigns are typically unable to comply. but properly designed tools can allow you employ outside data entry while preventing data loss. then there is just no practical way to make a good effort at accurate reporting.0 addresses these needs full force. it’s important to manage the bounced messages and update or delete invalid email addresses either manually or preferably via software tools. rather it becomes a strong cornerstone in the changing structure of modern campaigns. as do the software companies that operate on its principles. most campaigns have a well deserved fear of too much outside access. This minimizes the amount of data entry the accountant needs to do. state and local agencies will regularly reinterpret and clarify reporting requirements. none of these advantages will matter if the software is not properly built. leaving campaigns often with only a few days to adjust their filings to meet these new requirements. if a donor does not report his or her employer. Obviously. allows the easy farming out of tasks such as getting addresses and occupations and makes it easier for other keys staffers. As we have seen. will also have tools to aid in the creation of accurate and complete reports. despite the tight time frame. The most critical benefit has been via the creation of integrated databases that allow the accountant to quickly and easily share information with the rest of the campaign team. and you are not able to conduct bank reconciliations with it or view an edit log. web-based software is no longer merely an accessory to campaigns. any actively used database will undoubtedly develop duplicate records and manual or automated process to remove duplicates is a necessity. Web 2. such as the campaign manager. Most campaigns have a well deserved fear of too much outside access. Additionally. accountants should count the days until they are fined. tracking supporters. and allowing open accessibility to a diverse campaign staff. providing you with new contact information and critical demographic knowledge. The FEC. PAGE 34 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . However. when fully supported. if not done properly. Online tools. to review financials and thus catch mistakes before they become serious. the growth in online fundraising has created another time-saver for campaigns. running complicated compliance reports. Perhaps most critical to political campaign treasurers is the ability for online software providers to rapidly develop and update their software in response to the changing requirements of various governing bodies. Conclusion We are rapidly departing the time when traditional software can fully accommodate the needs of today’s campaigns. in the Web 2. allow for rapid software development to adjust for these changing needs. a well designed system will warn you before you file. so too do the expectations of today’s voters. Properly supported web-based software streamlines the various challenges campaigns face: targeting constituents.

because SaaS applications are accessible via any computer with an Internet connec- @ Salesforce. including the donor’s contributions. Campaigns can select those applications that meet their needs and then tune them to their individual requirements. In the last general election. so campaigns do not have to go through the painful exercise of updating cumbersome legacy systems in order to benefit from enhancements and new features. most campaigns still operate as if the Internet does not exist. When it comes to information management.com and iTunes in mind. they still have to deal with the headaches of installing. simple to manage and administer. This increasingly popular model is not a panacea for all of the data problems political campaigns face. They continue to pay high.com/ publicsector/. easy-to-use. per-user subscription basis.com provides ondemand applications. donors. For more information. The private sector has already broadly adopted SaaS. SaaS not only allows campaigns to display data about individual donors. and use. attendance at events. but also to aggregate data into dashboards that provide a comprehensive overview of fundraising efforts. and eventually tearing down large. implement. campaigns face fewer concerns about data leaks than with traditional software. mobilizing volunteers. scaleable. SaaS solutions allow campaigns to easily track all aspects of their relationships with individual donors. interests. up-front fees for traditional software programs that do not scale and that are difficult to customize. and constituents. Because SaaS is sold on a renewable.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. as political campaigns begin to adopt state-of-the-art technologies and applications for managing communications and relationships with voters. complex IT infrastructures. such as a database. and driving contributions. Instead of buying a piece of software and downloading it onto one computer. they are sure to follow suit. In the upcoming election cycle. anywhere in the world.salesforce. Moreover. but it does offer substantial advantages over traditional software. Many of SaaS applications were built with familiar consumer Websites like Amazon. Campaigns can add subscriptions as their races heat up and drop them when the election is over. SaaS solutions are applications that are delivered over the Internet. from any Internet connection. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 35 . In addition.COM Introduction The strategic management of data will have a decisive impact on the 2008 elections. like Customer Relationship Management databases. providing a product that is easy to use and customize. SaaS allows campaigns to stay nimble during all phases of an election. maintaining. volunteers. time-consuming deployments or even regular maintenance activities. and quickly implemented. These solutions are affordable. readily customizable. Moreover. we saw the power of the Internet as a new and effective grassroots communication vehicle for reaching out to citizens. As a result. payments are spread out over time. because SaaS is delivered via the Internet. Campaigns can turn it on when they need it and turn it off when they do not. and discussions with candidates. Volunteers who use the Internet regularly should need only minimal training to be proficient in these Web-based applications. interactions with campaign staff. Software as a Service (SaaS) are applications delivered over the Internet. you can access the services you purchase. Most SaaS applications are regularly and automatically updated. campaigns do not have to undertake expensive. SaaS is like a utility that campaigns can tap to manage their operations. And because security and privacy are an intrinsic part of the SaaS business model. however. campaign managers will be able to deploy powerful new softwareas-a-service (SaaS) solutions that eliminate these problems by essentially allowing them to “rent” enterprise-class applications and IT infrastructure over the Web. and as political campaigns begin to realize that technology increasingly determines winners and losers. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 7 Software as a Service: A Strategic Imperative for Political Campaigns DANIEL BURTON SALESFORCE. visit www. These advantages are clearly evident when it comes to campaign fundraising and event management.

The Yankee Group. campaigns can readily share information among relevant staff and volunteers regardless of where they are located. and media relationships. customizing. professional IT staff. Supporting this infrastructure is difficult under any circumstances. it is estimated that political campaigns will raise and spend $10. SaaS allows campaigns to track invitations. August 2. Democracy & the Internet. SaaS can help campaigns plan everything from dinner speeches to national conventions. Instead. Much of this spending could be misdirected because of inherent deficiencies in the traditional software licensing model. many campaigns are forced to continue operating on old. or maintain any software or hardware. Once the IT system is set up. at a heavy cost. SaaS does not require an organization to buy. implementing upgrades.$13 billion.13 billion. By providing a consolidated view of all aspects of campaign events. forcing campaigns to recalibrate the expected return. Unlike traditional software. the cost of SaaS over three to five years is almost half the cost of similar client/ server solutions. These upgrades can rival the initial implementation in their scope and complexity. The Internet Is Changing the Rules of the Game The Internet allows organizations to connect users to a common network at a very low cost and with much less effort. invest in the necessary hardware and IT infrastructure. 2004. Breaking Ground with On-Demand CRM. campaigns often need to undertake expensive upgrades. Premise Based Sales Solutions: TCO and Trade Offs. the Yankee Group. Given the immense cost of 30 Estimate of the Institute for Politics. The remainder of this article will examine these shortcomings and discuss how SaaS can help address them. The results are often well below original expectations. In the 2008 election cycle. It also provides flexibility for customers to add users as their needs evolve without being forced to pay in advance for licenses they end up not needing. A major benefit of SaaS is the stability and predictability of costs. This regular payment schedule allows campaign managers to budget effectively and offers considerable savings. Customers are up and running and begin to realize benefits from their investments in weeks or months instead of years. it is estimated that political campaigns will raise and spend $10 .INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. PAGE 36 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . Hosted vs. and upgrading software drives up the costs. Unlike the traditional software model. Three Year Total Cost of Ownership for CRM Software for MSB’s. Instead. The complexity of implementing. 2004.30 Much of this spending could be misdirected because of inherent deficiencies in the traditional software licensing model. leasing. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET tion. attendance. April 2004. There are no servers or other hardware to buy and no up-front software licensing costs. expenses. similar to electricity or telephone service. vendor contracts. Morgan Stanley Equity Research. a political campaign has to license the software. Is “Software as a Service” the solution? Shortcomings of the Traditional Software Model In the traditional software model. This connectivity makes it possible for the software industry to deliver its applications as an on-demand utility. campaign software deployments are frequently associated with large up-front costs and unpredictable spikes in ongoing expenses. and even more so for campaigns because many of them lack dedicated. SaaS customers do not face high front-end expenses. the campaign then has to manage and maintain the software and hardware on its premises. equipment purchases. many campaigns find themselves locked into software applications that their staffs cannot effectively manage and that their volunteers cannot easily use. Employees can use existing PCs or mobile devices to access the applications—which are delivered via the Internet. customers pay a periodic subscription fee based on the number of people using the application. According to studies by the Gartner Group. legacy versions of their applications.31 In the 2008 election cycle. 31 The Gartner Group. and then undertake the software implementation—a process that may take many months to complete. As a result. install. SaaS solutions also make the job of managing events easier. an organization needs only to have Internet connectivity and pay a monthly subscription fee to use the service. Consequently. and Morgan Stanley Research. Because software vendors periodically release new versions of their software.

Even complex SaaS applications usually take only about a month to implement. there is no need to terminate existing software. quick to implement. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 37 . flexible customization. charged with supporting the core missions of their campaigns. from the largest presidential campaign to congressional. have a strong vested interest in making their customers successful over the long run so as to ensure subscription renewals. on-premise software solutions require old software to be removed or altered so that new software can be installed. make systematic improvements. Applications that are difficult to use. Moreover. need solutions that are cost-effective. providing a powerful solution for many of the strategic data needs facing campaign managers. SaaS can help both groups by freeing them from worry about infrastructure. In addition to the cost advantages of the SaaS subscription model. they too will embrace the SaaS model. Among the most compelling advantages of SaaS are freedom from IT infrastructure management. thus allowing them to concentrate on their core missions. flexible solutions that can meet the needs of political campaigns of all sizes. These advantages can substantially reduce the risk of campaign software deployments and allow armies of fundraisers and volunteers to expertly use the software with minimal training. “On-Demand versus OnPremise CRM” by Jim Dickey and Barry Trailor. just as the private sector is doing. cost-savings. 32 CSO Insights 2006.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. versus only about 16 percent of onpremise solutions. and even local elections. SaaS also allows for greater flexibility in bringing new applications online. The SaaS subscription model also holds another important advantage for customers. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET According to studies by the Gartner Group. most SaaS applications can be up and running in weeks. political campaigns must embrace a new approach to information management. rapid implementation. the prevalence of legacy IT systems. and add more users as needed. A CSO study found that almost 60 percent of on-demand solutions were implemented in under three months. stove-pipe information systems that frustrate data sharing. not months or years like traditional software projects. campaigns can keep their old applications running until they are completely satisfied with the SaaS solution. and Morgan Stanley Research. they are committed to their customers’ success in a way that traditional software companies simply are not. As a result. SaaS applications provide comprehensive. the cost of SaaS over three to five years is almost half the cost of similar client/server solutions. the Yankee Group. Campaign managers. and ease of use. world-class data security. charged with keeping their systems up and running. it has an extensive track record of success in the private sector. need fully functional software to keep their programs on budget and on schedule. To address these problems. Failed projects and cost overruns are only the most obvious indicators. the data stay in the system. With SaaS. SaaS applications let campaigns start small. Consultants and volunteers can access necessary data. by contrast. maintenance.32 This rapid deployment allows project managers to keep project schedules on track – while getting quick wins and building momentum for their campaigns. but not walk away with it. In the traditional model. Because SaaS vendors rely on regular subscription renewals. SaaS Benefits for Political Campaigns Many political campaigns are overwhelmed by the sheer scope and complexity of their IT operations. With SaaS. Although SaaS is a relatively new concept for many political campaigns. These solutions benefit both campaign managers and their IT staffs. page 2. and constant efforts “to reinvent the wheel” also attest to the scope of the problem. Conclusion SaaS offers several advantages to political campaigns that traditional client/server software does not. SaaS gives campaigns more control over their data. state. As campaigns realize these benefits. and upgrades. and easy to maintain. software companies often lose interest in their customers’ welfare once they have collected their up-front licensing fees. IT staff. Traditional. SaaS vendors.

donors. In reality. Sometimes. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 8 Making Your CRM Volunteer-Friendly IAN KOSKI ON DECK COMMUNICATION STUDIO LLC Although the passive data is critical for direct mail targeting. Who will maintain it? A full-time staffer? Multiple staffers? A dedicated volunteer? 4. and in-person. phone-banking and precinct-walking. Where is our voter and supporter data going to come from? Voter files? Party lists? Previous campaigns? 2. The end result is a data plan that answers. should their data on active contacts (volunteers. a database can be too crowded. That’s because volunteers and voters are sometimes two different groups of people. A plan is also critical for ensuring the database you build will support CRM activities. or too poorly designed. Your data plan needn’t be a tome — a one or two-page memo that answers the five questions above and states all conceivable uses of campaign-related data should suffice. can help you pinpoint volunteers without wasting too much time or money. phone. visit www. How will the data be used? Direct mail list-selection? Field ops? Email outreach? Phone banking? 5. That’s why it’s important to make sure that your active. If you are running the average campaign. Let’s start with how you build your database. PAGE 38 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . day-today database is ready for the task of volunteer management even before your campaign begins. it depends on the race. Keeping active and passive data separate may save time and money for many campaigns. except for those that pay a professional database consultant or have no donors and no volunteers by the time they acquire a voter file. Your campaign must be set up to accept new volunteers through multiple channels — namely the web. stakeholders. and email subscribers) be in the same database as their passive contacts (voter file and party members)? There really isn’t a right or wrong answer to that question because. Building a Volunteer Corps on more than a Hope and a Prayer How you construct your database can affect how well you develop relationships with potential volunteers. at a minimum. their contact Volunteers: the people every campaign wants but most campaigns don’t have the time or resources to recruit. it usually takes more than a little wishful thinking to build a viable volunteer army.ondeckstudio. however. This chapter looks at constructing a data strategy that helps you develop and manage a volunteer base. Regardless of how they come in. it has limited usability in volunteer recruitment. enthusiastic supporters finds its way to your office. and supporters. @ On Deck Communication Studio LLC combines political communication strategy and graphic design for Democratic candidates. Who will need to access it? Which staffers? Volunteers? Consultants? A data plan crafted very early in the campaign will help you stay focused as you collect information about your supporters – information you’ll inevitably need to generate the lists and reports you’ll want at your fingertips when it’s time to make strategy choices. media. If you find yourself in either of these two scenarios. as in all things campaign-related. to help you strike volunteer gold. such as recruiting and managing volunteers. donors. A good relationship management program. then how you store your data probably doesn’t make much difference. For more information. then you probably do nothing and hope a steady stream of new. You will use your data plan when choosing a CRM platform.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. It’s easy for campaigns to breeze through one of the most important technical decisions they have to make: just how integrated should their campaign databases be? More specifically. the following central questions: 1. How will it be managed? Online custom MySQL database linked to your website? Commercial CRM software? Offline Access database? 3. The five-point data plan One of the earliest activities campaigns should undertake is to determine where they’ll get their data and how it’ll be stored.com.

A regular email subscriber made a donation — an activity that may be excluded from duplicate-prevention measures for campaign finance compliance (just in case) and added a new record. then you should be able to tell which subscribers read the messages most frequently (and which subscribers forward the messages to others).e.e. money. consistent message (i. out-of-context web form to recruit volunteers. etc).e. In choosing your CRM platform. Geographically relevant addresses. Databases require daily maintenance by someone on the campaign authorized to change and delete records as necessary. Duplicates aren’t the worst things in the world.” or “member of St. Your website and/or CRM is built to prevent duplicates. plain. and credibility. Bigger campaigns may allow site visitors to create accounts that allow them to recruit other volunteers and donors.The data on volunteers who call your office. 4. volunteer. A good CRM application will make it easier by ensuring the technology serves the campaign and that the campaign doesn’t serve the data. or otherwise sign-up offline will need to be added to your CRM database.” Comb your database for potential volunteers. and predict the result (i. 1. If your district covers a number of 3. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 39 .INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. . 2. It’s astonishing how many campaigns rely on a strippeddown. ask how well it will play with the following campaign activities: Activity 1: Bringing in New Volunteers Your website and CRM application should be prepared to accept volunteers and capture more than just their name and phone number. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET information must all go into the same database. endorser. Your database will inevitably contain duplicates — like weeds in a garden — that need to be identified and plucked for the sake of efficiency. make a clear ask (i. etc). and it should allow some flexibility for recording additional information about the individual. Your database should automatically generate an email message to your volunteer coordinator and to the volunteer. The same principles that apply to electoral persuasion – have a clear. 3. “please help us fix our schools by volunteering”). “with your help. we’ll take City Hall and fix our schools”) – should be applied to the sign-up page. Duplicates crop up for a variety of reasons. most commonly: 1. That data should go directly into your CRM database. or you’ll risk losing pieces of information – or even entire entries – to clerical mismanagement. Manual data entry should be as easy as possible for campaign staffers. The most consistent email openers. attend a rally. Find out what tasks they’re willing to perform (give them an array of “opportunities”) and ask when they’re available. Give them the ability to sign up as volunteer. and it should absolutely be integrated with your website. so that new sign-ups are automatically logged and tagged accordingly. There is no more fertile ground for recruiting volunteers. fostering a sense of competition among the most devout.e. Recruit on your website. Having this information will make deployment significantly more efficient. Your voter file was integrated after you already had a sizable active database. People submit multiple forms on your website (i. email sign-up. which waste the campaign’s time. – Visitors to your website are already interested in your candidate. – Many of the people in your active database would be willing to volunteer if asked. b. The interface should not make data entry any more of a chore than it must be. Paul’s Church. The reality is that most campaigns aren’t staffed to perform the daily maintenance required to keep the campaign’s data at optimum efficiency. and no crosschecking was done during the merge. but the person changed or mistyped the information used to verify uniqueness. Here are a few things to look for: a. Enter your offline data. donor. If your bulk email system is linked to your CRM. asking them what they’re interested in doing and when they’re available. 2. like “potential donor. Try to find them. and your website or CRM isn’t built to prevent duplicates. These campaigns often use a points system to reward their highest-performing supporters. two mail pieces. but they can lead to multiple attempts at contact (receiving two phone call solicitations. thanking him or her. Use the page to sell why they should volunteer. “we need to fix our schools”).

etc).INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. If your CRM software allows you to “tag” contacts with issue preferences. calling likely voters. 6. availability. Generate walk lists and call sheets. If you’re using a web interface. There is an array of tasks that volunteers commonly perform. With your voter file loaded and a powerful mapping engine integrated with your CRM. The volunteer coordinator may also bear responsibility for updating volunteers’ records after they’ve actually completed a volunteer activity. or counties. zip codes. – There probably isn’t a scenario where we would advise a campaign that its CRM program didn’t need to be linked to a bulk email application. then you can create a volunteer opportunity that centers on an issue and reach out to those who’ve been identified as interested. He or she should have a custom interface in the CRM software. they form a fairly accurate barometer of message penetration and campaign momentum. With one click. Ideally email and CRM are part of the same application (as many commercial CRMs are) so that your application can send messages to select contacts drawn directly from your database without any cutting-and-pasting. Synchronize your database to your email software. inefficient task. Monitor the heartbeat of your data on a dayto-day basis. It can show you where you donors are centralized and expose opportunities for further gain. – Use your CRM software to view the ebb and flow of your database. An array of reporting options should be among the first things seen by your volunteer or field coordinator when he or she logs into the database. volunteer mobilization can be an arduous. 7. if your data is really good. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET c. the volunteer coordinator should be able to generate lists or send an email to everyone willing to attend a rally or put a yard sign on the front lawn. You should be able to see how many people have joined your email list. Without a strong communication vehicle. the list should be offered in multiple formats — HTML. If you’ve decided to integrate your voter file into your CRM. Word. Excel/ CSV. 4. then it should facilitate that volunteer work and make it more efficient by providing tools for targeting and. unsubscribed from your email list. 5. A good mapping system can also help you visualize where your volunteers live and where they’re lacking. Give your volunteer coordinator access to your database. and donated each day. If you’ve identified regions that need extra attention. presenting a dashboard of metrics on recruitment. Putting maps online and synchronizing them with your CRM database takes that practice to the next level by utilizing real-time data. cities. Combined. Reports should contain all the relevant information needed to keep your volunteers organized and efficient. your volunteers will generate higher return-on-investment when they walk precincts or call their neighbors. volunteered. walking precincts. It’s an easy way to take a subscriber who cares about education and turn him into a volunteer willing to call other voters about your candidate’s views on education. Build interactive maps. 8. PAGE 40 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . – Campaign headquarters have pinned large maps to office walls for years to plot walk strategy and predict voter turnout. and fulfillment. then look for people in your CRM database who live there and contact them directly. and PDF. Activity 2: Interacting with your Volunteers One of the disadvantages to relying on a basic Access database sitting on an office computer for CRM is that it provides no direct means for contacting the people in that database. – Your volunteer coordinator should be granted access to your CRM database and should receive the same training given to the person responsible for database maintenance. micro-targeting. then it’s important to have a balanced distribution of volunteers — especially in battleground areas. – If you know that your volunteers will walk precincts every Saturday. then you need to find a CRM system that allows you to generate those walk lists (and then update the records of those visited and missed afterward). and most of them center on getting the word out to other voters (sending postcards. He or she also needs to be able to add volunteers who signed-up offline. Activity 3: Assisting in Volunteer Activities This is where the decision on whether to integrate your voter file with your CRM really comes into play.

” because the page containing the form and the page processing the form are protected using Secured Socket Link (SSL) encryption. Find out exactly where your servers are located if you’re using a commercial shared hosting solution or if you’re using a web-based CRM — even if it’s tied into your website. they should be recording their interactions in a specific. a tightly capped email allowance. save your money and consider a realistic solution. a skilled group of volunteers was making over 4000 phone calls and personal email contacts a week. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET Activity 4: Keeping Data Secure Though applicable no matter what you’re using your CRM for. If they don’t tell you where their data is stored and how it’s protected. Conclusion There’s no point in having a sophisticated and expensive data management plan and CRM if the campaign staff on the ground won’t use it. the Webb for Senate campaign possessed a sizable database of self-identified volunteers. but it is a nice feature to have available to you — an extra security blanket. More and more campaign sites are applying the same level of security to volunteer signups. and then inputting that data into your CRM at the end of each day. If a volunteer has completed an activity. 9. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 41 . But with most of the campaign’s financial resources going to fight a TV war. power backups. If you know you’re going to win by 30 points. but the physical state of the servers hosting your database. by the last weeks of the campaign. The “s” in “https” stands for “secure. like mailing addresses and phone numbers. you probably shouldn’t use them. Data submitted on an SSL page is scrambled before it leaves and unscrambled right before it is entered into the database. as well as data protection. are publicly available. email subscriptions. SSL encryption may not be necessary for CRM. fire suppression systems. detailed. — Encompassing not just the kind of database your CRM data is stored in and how that data is accessed. $10.” In this case. just in case.300 votes. and two phone lines. Secure stored data. and general contact management. preventing hackers from intercepting it and using the data maliciously. Especially if you’re in an intense race. but if your campaign staffers and volunteers lack the time or commitment required to maintain and use the data in your CRM. It all sounds great on paper. — Savvy web users know to look for the little lock icon in your browser window and the “https” prefix in the URL window before they enter their sensitive credit card information for a purchase.000 on a customized database unless this race is a prelude to higher office. It’s a good idea to know where your servers are and what kind of physical protection is in place (locked doors. This type of information is not what most people consider “sensitive. Every bit of intelligence you can collect on every single voter and volunteer is imperative. Most companies that offer CRM software know this is a concern and will make the information available up front. and consistent manner.500. then absolutely use the best data management tools available within your budget. CASE STUDY Ragtag Armies and Online Donkeys: Volunteer Management and CRM in the 2006 Senate Campaign of Jim Webb DAVE HANNIGAN AND DAVE LEICHTMAN DEMPAC 10. Most basic contact information.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. the grassroots operation had to reach these invaluable supporters with one paid staff member. Still. engaging volunteers to perform crucial tasks in a victory that gave control of the Senate to the Democrats by only 9. numbering approximately 7. if you’re an underdog or know that the race will come down to a few percentage points. Secure incoming data. However. If you’ve got teams of volunteers going door-to-door. storage security is critical. don’t spend the By November 2006. no budget for travel or campaign literature. make a note in your CRM so that person can be thanked and asked again. it’s always important to consider the two kinds of relevant data security.

and histories. a one-term senator who some polls showed to be the front-running 2008 GOP presidential prospect. the field desk set about using the Donkey to notify every volunteer in the commonwealth about what they could do that week – even that day – to help elect Jim Webb. feature-light CRM database. a field coordinator would request volunteers to walk a Fairfax County neighborhood that weekend for voter identification. searched and saved in lists and associated with activities. Although the campaign would eventually receive significant support from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee – and from the mouth of George Allen – the ragtag army proved indispensable in developing and maintaining campaign momentum. Not only was access valuable for that particular event – allowing the coordinator to call the volunteers to reschedule or provide proper directions – but Background After electing Tim Kaine governor in 2005. An Activity was created in the Donkey with the number of people needed. and workers at the field desk would make contact. the field desk concept started out small. after airing not a single radio or TV ad and distributing few mailers. it became necessary to set up a “customer service” center to address volunteer needs. Webb did possess an impressive résumé. A Field desk manager would then use the Donkey to identify volunteers who 1) lived in or near that neighborhood. Riding the Donkey The Webb campaign’s grassroots director sent weekly email blasts presenting volunteer opportunities across the state. information that was inconsistently updated on WebbforSenate. The Donkey Back in 2005. no staff. 2) had indicated they were available on weekends and 3) had indicated they would work “door-to-door. which are then automatically added to a person’s searchable attributes. scheduling. In August. adding any response to each volunteer’s file. and held that government must ensure fundamental fairness for American workers. and frequent complaints were heard about highlyskilled Webb supporters being ignored. the Webb campaign had little choice but to rely on local party committees and volunteers to perform functions usually handled by paid staff and third-party vendors. The result was TinyHorse Solution’s “Donkey” Volunteer Management System. It maintains addresses and phone numbers. To handle the volume of questions from existing volunteers and the steady stream of new recruits. By the beginning of 2006. The approach worked best when the field coordinator or other event organizer had a Donkey account and could access the list created and filled for their activity.) In a low turnout primary. computers loaned by field desk volunteers were equipped with free Skype VoIP software and a few $20 headsets. former Reagan Navy Secretary Jim Webb threw his hat into the ring on February 7th with no money. providing a very clear vision of their participation and skills. and little name recognition. seven days a week.com. Encouraged by a “Draft Webb” campaign organized by bloggers from RaisingKaine. sponsored by Virginia’s state party. This makes it possible to see a volunteer’s activity over time. capable of basic contact management. a small group of Democratic activists. DEMPAC develops online tools for connecting volunteers with local candidates.” Those possessing these three attributes were added to a newly created call list on the Donkey. businessman Harris Miller was the only declared Democrat in the senate race. Once the quota was reached. focusing on answering volunteer requests and entering new volunteer information. Now staffed with five plus volunteers all day and well into the evening. made an effort to capture information about the Kaine campaign’s volunteers to aid future candidates. and a flexible attribute tagging system to accumulate pertinent details about each individual. (He predicted a chaotic post-war Iraq. Most features of the Donkey went unused for weeks. The data files can be PAGE 42 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . and an answering machine. combined with principled views on Iraq and the economy. Changes had to be made. from phone banks to public events. Webb defeated Miller with the help of what he called his “ragtag army” of volunteers.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Virginia Democrats set their sites on George Allen. and with a zero budget. the field desk could start calling to fill the next opportunity. For example. as there was little capability to update and distribute information properly. The Donkey is a web-based.com. With general election funds trickling in slowly. allowing each work station to access volunteer data and simultaneously make calls over the broadband network. This one-way communication was not sufficient for supporters who expected a more personal connection. voting information (such as a volunteer’s home congressional district). months before the war began. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET @ DEMPAC was formed in 2007 by a group for former Webb campaign grassroots leaders. But volunteer managers faced significant challenges in connecting with supporters and providing them with the information and motivation that fuels all successful grassroots efforts. one computer. New volunteers were backing up in the system. This came to be known as the field desk. With one phone line.

much better ‘customer’ interactions.” “Donor. translating them into call lists and targeted email. this contact history then became a major factor in designing lists. The Hampton Roads (Southeastern VA) and Charlottesville (West-Central VA) offices were introduced to the Donkey far too late. the members of the local list could become an instant micro-team. Future campaigns would do well to not only commit to a single data source for volunteers. there was no effective. the campaign should establish a clearinghouse similar to the field desk concept to: 1. Volunteers in these areas who signed up online after the Excel exports were thus completely ignored by their local offices. easily-searched central hub listing activities for volunteers. to be contacted for multiple events close to home. 2. “Voter. and thus increased loyalty. and also allows all leaders of the campaign to access resources they might not know they have. Thus the coordination of volunteers suffered from a lack of central organization and a lack of shared data resources. a clearly committed volunteer might be the first to receive a call about an important activity in their neighborhood. offering different levels of access to information. and anyone working with volunteers buy into the need to use and update the chosen volunteer management system.” “Volunteer. “how did the other offices organize volunteers?” The main method was through Excel spreadsheet lists which were originally exports from the Donkey that became hand-tailored and divergent. and likely for politically involved individuals to wear different hats over several election cycles. Although the ideal would be to have all members of the campaign use and update the data as they interact with volunteers – or even have the volunteers update it themselves – the fast pace of a campaign demands a small group dedicated to volunteer management and maintaining the CRM. there was no way to know when a volunteer had been last contacted. Lessons Learned In order to get the most of volunteer data. Each Webb for Senate regional office was responsible for coordinating volunteers in its area. What Worked The field desk process. A secure system. it was not until October that the Finance staff learned the Donkey contained numerous volunteers with fundraising experience) A common understanding of the value offered should lead to better communication regarding needs that cashstrapped campaigns can fill with volunteer recruits. only the Headquarters (Northern VA) office had a rigorous field desk process in place.” and “Staff” are not discrete titles. once in place. What Didn’t Work Although WebbforSenate. A captain was always on duty to train new field desk volunteers on the CRM in use.com included a page dedicated to volunteer events. In the event that the headquarters’ Field desk made calls for an event within the scope of a different office. Take requests for needs that can be filled by volunteers. leading to tremendous gains in efficiency. exceeded expectations. Much of this had to do with its status as a volunteer-created effort – volunteer involvement was highly-respected by all. but a core group of full-time volunteers in each location employed it effectively. could provide campaigns a safe and much more comprehensive view of an individual. This begs the question. Maintain scheduled events and specialized volunteer lists. Details of each interaction were easily entered into the Donkey. 3. regional offices. For example. the overarching priority being to involve all volunteers in any way they were willing to participate. informative and consistent. Field desk volunteers were given wide latitude. the goal of all political parties. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 43 . DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET since many events such as literature drops were held in the same neighborhoods over several weeks. it is vital that all staff. Conversely. However. The captain would interpret volunteer contact priorities from the paid staff and field coordinators. but a single data source for all individuals in the campaign’s universe. with almost no duplication of efforts. The Richmond (Central VA) and Roanoke (Southwest VA) offices did not use the tool. Search for and contact matching individuals. The end result was that every volunteer within the purview of the field desk received communications that were localized.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. (For example. the field desk Captain could pull up the files of those who had not yet participated in a volunteer activity for a low-investment event such as a Jim Webb rally in their area. as it is possible for one person to act in all four roles in the course of a single campaign. This allows the campaign to conduct a much more coherent ‘running conversation’ with volunteers that communicates respect for their efforts (while limiting wasted contact). Once decision-makers have committed to using a system. so commitment to the cause was high. Another problem was the lack of a communications history for volunteers in regions where the Donkey was not used.

and discusses how your campaign can use CRM for its field and fundraising activities. For more information. Data is a campaign essential: the more you know about a voter or volunteer or donor. “How will this system CASE STUDY A Pay raises. Veon. campaigns and field efforts The Problem The Mike Veon for State Representative campaign in Pennsylvania combined canvassing with CRM and email during a very contentious primary in 2006. visit www. you can note that Ms. Wright is concerned about a casino that may be built in town. Now What Do I Do With it? CHRISTOPHER MASSICOTTE NGP help me achieve my goals?” Why are you going to contact people. Scanning that barcode allows you to see – and update – his or her information. They know the married mother of two who goes to church every week and shops at Wal-Mart is more likely to vote Republican than the married mother of two that does not go to church every week and shops are Target. For example. voter contact. Over the past few years. people were outraged.” If Ms. The messages they see during the campaign season will be microtargeted to them based on the information that has been collected. ngpsoftware. or keep their data? Do you need the database to perform campaign finance duties. to be precise. and give your campaign money. With this system. I. Expect it to arrive within a week. how they voted. “I’m really appreciative that you want to put a yard sign on your lawn. the first check a new political campaign writes is for a constituent relationship management system. This information helps paid staff organize a campaign to collect the votes it needs to win on Election Day. When the story hit the news. or both? And finally. The Field Campaign Did you know that you can take your data on a neighborhood walk? CRM doesn’t necessarily have exclusively online or mail-driven implications. canvassing technology has evolved from stacks of 3x5 cards to scanning barcodes and instantly updating databases through mobile devices. who they contribute money to. For example. volunteer. and that these two voters could very well live directly next door to each other. Often. the Minority Whip of the State House. consider the relatively widely-used method of placing a barcode for each person you want to contact on a walk sheet. was instrumental in passing a substantial pay raise for state legislators that was passed in the middle of the night on the last day of the session. You can use that information to generate a letter that addresses her specific interests: “Like you. Wright is undecided.” Let’s look at an example of how a field campaign can effectively use CRM to accomplish its goals. and online activity is used to raise money and identify votes. Some of our clients’ biggest success stories using CRM come a lot closer to home – in your own neighborhood. if she supports your candidate. Databases are the most valuable tools a campaign has in its arsenal for gathering information on voters: how they feel about certain issues. When your campaign is considering a CRM system the first question to ask is. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 9 Data. email.com. what do I do with all this data? This chapter answers those questions. Campaigns are now buying information on potential voters and donors.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. track them. then you can generate the additional line. The CRM database in recent election cycles has become the foundation of everything else the campaign does. Caving in to voter an- PAGE 44 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . Campaigns are collecting large amounts of seemingly irrelevant data about voters. I encourage you to vote on Election Day. the last thing I want to see if for us to build a casino in our town. Data Everywhere. “Thank you for considering my campaign. the Republican Party has a database of voters that even tracks shopping patterns. and when they volunteer. If you have been in the political game for at least a few months of an election cycle. Information gathered from field. @ NGP Software provides campaign technology solutions to Democratic candidates and their allies. the easier it will be to convince them to vote your way. then you know that doorto-door canvassing and neighborhood walks are a perennial part of politicking.” Or.

but the Veon campaign took the chance. Work on making your website and email signups part of everything you do. At every event. it was possible that they would understand. do not use technology simply because it’s available or it’s new and flashy. If you pay your representatives enough to hold public office. The campaign knew they had to focus their efforts on this group of people who cared very much about the issue. Really think about how you can apply it to your specific campaign and set goals of what you hope to accomplish through the use of that technology. Rep. the first thing campaigns need to realize is very simple: you’re not Howard Dean. and won the primary challenge. Fundraising 2004 was a turning point in the way campaigns used technology. the campaign was able to send paid canvassers and volunteers into the field to knock on every single door in the district and ask people about what concerned them this election. and the Howard Dean campaign has become the inspiration for many smaller campaigns. The GOTV program consisted of door knockers and phone calls to every identified positive voter in the district. Veon was unsuccessful in his re-election bid. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 45 . “It was the best. at every campaign stop. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET ger. This results in a better quality of representation. Mike Veon. fundraising still takes work.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. The Tactic Because the district was a small (just around 30. while avoiding the issue altogether when it did not matter to the voters. Most important of all. the pay raise was repealed by a 202 – 1 vote. the inability to control the GOTV operation during the general election.000 voters).000 voter district will cost roughly $500 per month. who strongly believed that the only way to attract good candidates to run for office and to cut down on corruption. and you understand your limitations. Lessons from the Field The Veon campaign understood what they had to do. They contacted each and every voter three times! Those who cared knew the reasons for the votes. Who was the lone dissenter? Rep. Even with the Internet. The website PoliticsPA. When it comes to fundraising. ask people for their email addresses. let’s discuss putting principles of CRM into practices during the campaign fundraising season.” Cost and Needs A web-based voter file system is usually priced according to how many voters you have in your universe. The biggest issue after that was making sure that their supporters got out and voted. The contact management system allowed the campaign to send customized letters and phone calls to voters to explain the votes. Set up personal fundraising pages for your supporters so they can track their own progress. that the work done in the primary was effective. you’re selling them the idea of good government – an idea that tends to change. You’re not selling them a product. This proved. most well-oiled field program that we have ever seen. Seventeen other incumbent state legislators lost their primary challenges including the sitting State Senate Pro Tempore. When it comes to fundraising. where as a nationwide voter file system can cost in the millions. They used a web-based voter contact management system that allowed them to track various demographics including issues important to voters. depending upon who you talk to. A 30. It acknowledged that Rep. This line of reasoning contained more nuance than the message that pay increases lead to a huge deficit. Understand that. His position was a complicated one. was to pay them competitively to what they would earn in the private sector.com said of the Veon campaign. Ask donors who give over the phone to send out an “ask” via email to their personal address books. Now. Veon wanted to make it economically feasible for people other than the super wealthy people to run for political office. because of general voter anger. When you empower your supporters you generate enthusiasm that no number of paid campaign staffers can match. This prompted several candidates to run against him both in the primary and in the general election. just like it takes work to raise money over the phone or at events. and then his subsequent lone vote against repealing it. then you make it more attractive to them. the first thing campaigns need to realize is very simple: you’re not Howard Dean. By far the biggest concern was the pay raise – specifically Veon’s involvement in passing the pay raise. however. Just putting a “click to donate” button on your Website will not immediately result in millions of dollars. Unfortunately. II. You still have to give people a reason to contribute to your campaign. and the strong campaign run by his general election challenger. but if explained correctly to his constituents.

” 3.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Target your voter – A good CRM system will help you target areas and precincts where you will get the most out of your efforts. A Campaign Field Program consists of three basic steps. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET What do you need in a field CRM? A well run field program can make the difference in a tightly contested race. their Get Out the Vote or GOTV program. and to any of their guests that they registered as well. The CRM system that they used allowed them to see who did and who did not open and read the email that was sent. A good CRM will allow you to print out walk sheets of identified voters. 1. A CRM will help you record “positive IDs” and identify issues that you have in common with your voters. It took a lot less volunteers to call 75 people than it did to call 500. Using their CRM the campaign was able to send an email to only those registered for the event. The event was put together on very short notice and the vast majority of the tickets were sold online. type of terrain that precinct is in. and target areas where people haven’t voted yet. By 6 pm that day. 2. The staff quickly realized that they had to contact every single guest to ensure that nobody arrived late. you should have been able to identify the 50 percent-plus-one voters you need to win your election. Democratic Performance Index is a number arrived at from several compiled election results to determine what percentage of the vote a “John Smith” with a D after their name would receive against a “John Smith” with an R after their name in the absence of any campaigning. the more successful your campaign will be. and that the President was scheduled to arrive at 1pm. Get Your Voters to Vote – Depending on how well your campaign performed step 2. If you have an area with a DPI over 50% you are already starting at an advantage. PAGE 46 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . if you are a Democratic Candidate. Print “tear sheets” at polling sites to identify those who have voted. In essence. a New Jersey Member of Congress was holding a fundraiser featuring former President Bill Clinton. and the more reliable it is. Persuade and Identify Your Voter – During the months leading up to the election a successful campaign will contact voters via door to door canvassing and phone banking. A CRM can help you do this by compiling voting history data. the easier it is to use and to train others on. send letters to voters who are thinking about your race. A good Field CRM will help you track your progress. The Problem The staff who were throwing the event were told by the Secret Service that all guests had to arrive prior to the arrival of President Clinton. Almost all of the close races I hear and read about mentioned how good the winner’s “ground effort” was. One day before the event President Clinton’s scheduling office informed the campaign that due to a scheduling conflict President Clinton would be arriving an hour earlier. The fundraiser was to be a luncheon and attendees would have their pictures taken with the President and would receive a signed copy of President Clinton’s autobiography. you will want to walk precincts where there is higher than a 50% Democratic Performance Index. My Life. demographics. All of the guests were told to arrive promptly at 12:30 p. Election Day is very chaotic and the more open and accessible your CRM. and the last thing you want is an angry donor. There simply was not enough time to call every single guest in the time that they had. The Tactic In order to quickly inform and ensure that all guests (over 500) received the information it was decided that an email would be sent to those who were registered to attend the event.m. those that did not open the email (only about 75) were called to confirm that they knew about the time change. CASE STUDY B Combining email and offline fundraising In the 2004 election. population density and so on. On the day of the event only one guest arrived late because she hadn’t been informed. These guests paid a lot of money to see President Clinton and if they were not informed there would be a lot of angry donors. and connect with them in a personal way that has been lost since the advent of the “Television Age. For example.

Costs and Needs A Web-based fundraising database that includes the necessary financial disclosure capabilities can run from $250 per month for a local campaign to several thousand dollars per month for a Presidential campaign. you want to make sure the right people see the right information. it is more important to listen to people than to get your message across. then they may be more inclined to go out there and vote for you. The fact that John Green has a spouse named Gertrude and a son at Yale.” While knowing these bits of information seems creepy at first. a good CRM campaign is not about people uncomfortable with your knowledge about their personal habits and choices. how’s Gertrude doing?” or “How’s little Johnny doing at Yale? I don’t know if you remember. this data that you collect on your donors will be used later on to ask your donors for contributions again. and where you might be able to do better. People wanted to have a beer with George Bush. However. The same is true when working with voters.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. The atmosphere changes on political campaigns. The Democrats ran into this problem in 2000 and 2004. While collecting information is incredibly important because it allows the candidate and the campaign to relate to people in a more personal way. 3. and then readjust your message going out to them. I brought you some yogurt. email should NOT be used to persuade voters to vote for you. someone a lot like them. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET What do you need in a fundraising CRM? 1.” Rather. And if they are more apt to relate to you. At the end of the day. I worked with a candidate who wanted this type of information on his call sheet. so that the finance team only sees the financial information. 2. may seem unimportant. You don’t want to walk up to a shopper and say. Just as importantly however. Voters CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 47 . not Al Gore or John Kerry. if you are hosting a large fundraising event you will send an email to those who can afford it. You can set up a system where volunteers can choose when they want to volunteer and what they want to volunteer for. but I was a professor at Yale way back when. Email should be used with people that you know already support the campaign or are at least friendly to it. you want to just show Donna a picture of the yogurt she likes. When it comes time to put a group of volunteers together. Listen to voters. have an interest in the type of event you are holding. with fruit on the bottom. At the same time. You want to show her the possible candidate for her. people have said that you can never go wrong by collecting too much information. Email has not proven itself useful in being a persuadable medium. You can track when volunteers show up to help. Broadcast email fundraising solicitations – Broadcast email is a great tool to ask for money. you can go into your CRM and choose only those volunteers who want to help Wednesday nights and who live in the area and are willing to stuff envelopes. and thank them appropriately. and to send news to your supporters. Most people involved in politics are not just voters. We care more about votes than our own lives and more about politics than our families. but segmenting it in the right way. I know that you like fruit on the bottom. but it can actually be useful. “Donna. people are more apt to relate to candidate than when the campaign approaches them through a purely political context. Tracking your campaign contributions by source code allows you to learn what kinds of solicitations work and which don’t. Asks for contributions can be precisely tailored and customized according to the group of people you are emailing. volunteers. Track campaign contributions – Tracking campaign contributions is necessary so that you can file your campaign finance reports. and then they go about their lives. so that when he talked to John Green. But most Americans simply want to vote to fulfill their civic duty. and who live nearby. You don’t want to tell someone what she believes or feels. The most important element is not collecting as much information as possible. Your best donors are your previous ones. You won’t waste time calling people who aren’t available to help you. Too much information can muddy the waters. For example. people want to vote for a nice person. III. Several years ago. I know that you love yogurt. where your strongest support is coming from. Too Much Information Historically. You won’t waste your time emailing to people who aren’t interested or don’t live close enough to attend the event. and the volunteer coordinators only see the volunteer information. Track volunteer time – Volunteers are the lifeblood of any campaign. In some cases. he could pepper the conversation with questions like “Oh.

INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS, DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET

weren’t interested in what they had to say because they didn’t like the way that information was delivered. The same advice rings true for both Republican and Democratic candidates: data will lead to a political tidal wave. You can’t ride the wave unless you bring a surf board. If you’re not prepared to ride it, then the wave is going to swallow you whole. 2. IV. Sometimes a list is not just a list. Today in politics, people buy contact lists that match up email addresses with the voter file. Simply emailing these voters looks a lot like spamming. But there are ways to use a list well. One of these lists is a radioactive ball of energy: you can either use it in a way that blows up in your face or you can use it in a way that will power your campaign straight through to Election Day. Using your list to send out mass emails every week – with no update, no survey, nothing – blows up in your face because spamming makes people angry. Even the blogosphere rants about campaigns that do that. It’s just not the best way to use email. First, choose what you want to know about your lists. For example, say your campaign is hosting a fundraiser tomorrow night with Bill Clinton. In an instance like this, use your list to find out who are the best people to invite? The most likely answer is people who have contributed to the campaign in the past, people who can afford to pay for an evening with President Clinton. You cannot afford to waste time and effort trying to reach out to people who can’t afford it. You want to find people who live or work close enough to attend. You want people who aren’t dead. How am I going to do a search for these people? I’m going to ask the database for people who have given me over a thousand dollars at one time, people who live in my state, and people who are still alive. I am going to generate a list with these criteria, and then I will call, email or snail mail them. Generating a list of this kind all depends upon the kind of data you collected. If you haven’t put any of this information into your system, then don’t expect to get any of it out of your system. Best Practices 1. Don’t spam. – Collecting information about people requires some kind of contact with them –whether in person, on the phone, or online. Don’t forget to ask people the best way to reach the. May we contact you? Is a door-to-door visit best? Should we add another phone number for you? What is your email address? Would you rather be mailed? Make sure your databases has a “do not mail, do not call, do not email” button. We add a feature to that. We want it to say in

parentheses, “permanent.” If somebody says to that she doesn’t want to receive our newsletters, then don’t let your staff go back later and uncheck the box. The only way to uncheck the box is if that person signed up again on the Website. Simply having a database is not the magic bullet. – Despite all the promise of a good CRM system, a database is not a magic bullet. It is not going to automatically win you the election – even if it is from a reputable company. Rather, what you do with that database will, in fact, help you win that election. This takes an investment of time, discipline, and energy. It requires dedication not just in keeping it up to date but also in coding, tracking contributions, researching which solicitation are the most effective, and knowing which issues make people give. On occasion, a client will come to me and say “my database is not working.” I’ll ask the staff to look at it, and when we cannot find any technical problems, I’ll ask the client “when was the last time somebody accessed the database.” The answer is often two weeks ago – if not longer. We conducted a survey of all of our clients and the successful majority is on the database, online, for 30 hours a week. They constantly entered contributions or any other information that can possibly know about the voter, volunteer, or donor that might help them encourage their supporters to contribute, volunteer, or tell their friends to vote. Success comes from knowing all of this and more, and being able to target specific people quickly – whether through email, or phone, or by posting an entry on a well-trafficked blog. 3. Take Good Care of Your Data – Data requires constant activity. Most campaigns designate at least one staff member or volunteer to manage the database. The key is to find the right staff member or volunteer for the job. Different people contribute different things to an organization, and campaigns are no exception. So many people are willing to be involved, but not everyone is right for every task. A 75 year-old mathematics professor, for example, might not make the best door-to-door canvasser. However, he would love to keep a track of contributions, keep the database up to date, and stuff envelopes generated the canvassing efforts.

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CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS

INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS, DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET

CHAPTER 10

Retail Politics? Not So Fast.
JONATHAN KARUSH
LIBERTY CONCEPTS

In a perfect world, online politics would look a lot more like Amazon.com – completely retail. But this isn’t a perfect world.
Sometimes a campaign doesn’t have the time or the resources to locate all of the Hispanic single mothers in a Congressional district, let alone tailor a message specifically for them. Sometimes constituents who reside in a district don’t want you to know that they smoke marijuana. Voters can actually be intimidated by extreme personalization of message, becoming wary that their personal information is available for public consumption. Extensive personal information being relayed by campaigns can become a lightning rod for voter anger and privacy rights advocates. Simply put, being targeted often makes people uncomfortable. A more realistic and ethical goal should be create a database application that makes your campaign run smoother – that isn’t so complicated that it overwhelms your staff or infrastructure – and produces effective results within the realm of respectability. Remember, it is constituent relationship management, not constituent stalking. The following pages walk you through some of the steps your campaign should consider before you launch a CRM effort. 1. Know what you want to know. Before you can use your database to manage communications with your supporters, identify three, four, maybe as many as five or six key characteristics that are going to be important for your particular race. Use this as your guide to develop a list of all the common fields or information that you want to know about your constituents. Start with the basic, most obvious parts: name, address, and phone number. Once you have these three bits of information, identify the data keys that will be essential to your campaign for volunteer recruitment and fundraising. This includes information about party affiliation, race, sex, religion, and ethnicity. Your goal, over time, is to create a giant database in which you possess at least 38 fields of information about every voter in every district. Identifying the issues that are important to your constituency is also an important part of data model construction. Environmentalists will respond favorably to emails geared toward those issues, the same is true for gun rights advocates. 2. Find the right person to build your database. Once you know what you want your database to include, you must build the physical engine that will

You want to build a constituent database. Where do you start? This chapter will walk you through the basics of building a constituent database, and it will offer some tips on collecting and using information about your supporters. All sorts of ethical issues arise the moment you being to collect personally identifiable information (PII). PII is a precious commodity in the new age of online politicking. The process of gathering and using PII presents many ethical dilemmas. The most effective practices are to garner every possible bit of information about the voters in your district and use it to campaign advantage. The closer you get to people on their personal issues, the more personalized the campaign becomes to the individual. The more personalized campaign communications become, the more likely that person is to vote for a candidate, volunteer, or donate.

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Liberty Concepts provides Internet and strategy solutions to progressive candidates, organizations and nonprofits. For more information, visit http://www. libertyconcepts.com.

In a perfectly ideal world political campaigns would have information on every voter in the district and a constituent relationship management system that allows them to customize, personalize, tailor, and blast communications completely tailored to each individual. In a perfect world, online politics would look a lot more like Amazon.com – completely retail. But this isn’t a perfect world. Unfortunately, many challenges exist in this framework: difficulty gathering complete data, assigning staff time to customize messages, and ethical issues of what information should be used in discriminating message.

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house your database. As a candidate, you can either have someone custom build it for you, or preferably you can purchase a third-party product from a variety of vendors to house those databases. The vendor should be selected based on your needs and budget. When you look for a vendor, keep a few things in mind. The first is accuracy in reporting. Do they have a proven track record, can they merge their PII data with contributor information for FEC reporting, and can data be updated by constituents through a website? Be sure to check references. Politics is a word-of-mouth industry, and databases are no different. Look for strengths from other, past clients or relationships. 3. Import your data. Most campaigns begin a race with previous data, either from the last unsuccessful challenger or from the state party or some other organization. Once your database is built, you have to import that data into your new system. 4. Improve what you’ve got. Once you have the infrastructure in place, then you need find ways to improve your data and populate your database. There are a variety of different ways to do this: a. Place surveys on your site and in your email. User generated information is often the lowest cost and easiest method for improving your database. People that volunteer information should also be specially flagged, because they obviously are more politically extroverted to have submitted information. It is important not to barrage people with too many questions. Remember when analyzing submitted data that it is NOT a reliable focus group, as participants do not represent a representative sample of the population. When you put a survey on your Website, it is a way to collect personal information about people who feel passionate about your candidate, not a scientific survey tool. Conduct door-to-door canvassing. This is a volunteer intensive method for gathering data, but can be an effective tool. Run phone banks. Like door to door canvassing this too can be an effective means of gathering data, and the labor can be outsourced to professional firms. Use the Internet to learn more about your constituents. This includes signup forms, and active, online volunteer opportunities. Many campaigns have developed cookies that track how people behave on the campaign’s Website. Collect this data, and then

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match it up to how many people are signing up for offline volunteer activities or event attendance. Purchase PII from companies. This is becoming increasingly more popular for campaigns. We call it retail information, and its growing use is a change from the last election cycle. Before you buy, look for data verification: make sure the data actually matches up to the voter file. And make sure the list is opt-in, especially when purchasing email addresses.

5. Integrate new data. Just collecting data about people doesn’t give you an edge. What good is information if you don’t know how to use it? Look at each of the data collection activities listed above. If you decide to engage in any of these activities, then you need to develop a way to accurately and immediately integrate the data you collect into your database. For example, if you are using your website to collect information about people, then all the forms should be used to update your database. In other words, you want to match up the names and email addresses of people who sign up for something on your Website with information you may already have in your database. What did they signup for? Did any of their personal information change? If one of your supporters recently moved, and he or she logs onto your site to sign up for an event, then your database system should immediately update the entry for that person with the new address. You can even set rules within your database to generate an email or phone call to make sure you have their correct address. If you’re worried about keeping the information that comes through your website secure, that’s a good thing. But don’t go overboard. It’s more secure to collect information about your supporters on your website than it is to have your volunteers enter the information by hand. Just make sure the forms are all protected with 128-bit encryption – the same type of security used by Amazon and EBay and online credit card transactions. 6. Monitor your progress and measure results. Believe it or not, it’s easier to develop tracking tools that monitor incoming and outgoing communications than it is to label what’s successful and what’s not. There are no benchmarks. We’re still in the first decade of online campaigning, and much remains to be established as best practices – especially when it comes to measuring the impact of CRM on politics. We’re still not at the point yet where there are real benchmarks for success. There are wide variations from client to client. Remember that evaluation tends to be in the eye

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If you want to run an ethical campaign. It is a far greater headache in the long haul to deal with angry misinformed people who have unwittingly given you personal information they did not want to divulge. compared to email or phone calls? 7. Indicate what kind of information you are collecting. This is a best practice both ethically and effectively. The information we collected was downloaded from our Palm Pilots to our database at the end of the day. We asked what issue was most important to them and who they would vote for if the election was today (we then scored them on a scale of 1-5). Sure. you want them to trust you. We did not revisit the fives and the ones.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. twos. The database I worked with was created from registered voter lists given to the campaign and comprised registered Democrats and Independents. Nonetheless. Personal information has become a real commodity in the Internet age. then treat your data carefully. We repeated our visits (if no one was at home) until everyone was reached. In fact. Chellie was a Democratic challenger running against incumbent Republican Susan Collins. 3. according to his or her likelihood of voting for Chellie. We canvassed again. people may change their habits – or leave your site completely – when they are confronted with the fact that you may be collecting information about them on your site.” Answers to these commands were filtered by the headquarters in Portland. this time pulling voters who were labeled as ones. we did not return to homes where they people were very likely either to vote for Chellie or very likely to vote against Chellie. Voters ranked 2-4 were canvassed again. In 2002. this time for persuasion. the campaign of yesterday provides some insights into how the ideas presented in this publication will affect the campaigns of tomorrow. or threes. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET of the beholder. then we added a note to their profile. At the end of the day. If people expressed great interest in Chellie and wanted to volunteer. donor information was managed by entirely different staff. Tell them that you will not share their information either commercially or with other organizations. 2. We canvassed everyone in the district. That is. which followed up with each request accordingly. This also gave us the opportunity to add items such as “Send more info about health care. whether people opt into your database or not. How does your campaign use the information it collects for volunteer recruitment or fundraising? Do you use basic statistical software to evaluate the open rate on emails? Who’s clicking on them? Who’s contributing or volunteering based on door-to-door canvassing. Flashback to 2002: Notes from a Field Campaign How I used data and door-to-door canvassing to pinpoint likely voters KENDRA ANN CROWLEY A few years can seem like a few centuries in the world of technology. Ensure your supporters are secure. Each voter was categorized as 1-5. The field team strategy consisted of three rounds: 1. and my office was responsible for using data and door-to-door canvassing to raise volunteers in 13 precincts in the towns of Lewiston and Auburn. My team of door-to-door canvassers used Palm Pilots to record information about the people we met in two different areas. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 51 . so we did not see or deal with any donor information. Keep your information to yourself. I served as GOTV coordinator and volunteer coordinator for the Chellie Pingree for US Senate campaign in Maine. Hold yourself accountable by posting a good privacy policy on your website. so there is not mystery or curtain over what your campaign is trying to do. All the data my team collected was gathered on door-to-door canvases. The campaign did not integrate its volunteer and donor databases.

visit www. We’ve found that this type of social interaction can also drive event attendance. Sometimes technology is not the one true solution. Sure. yet. and changing it.000 handwritten letters to the state of Iowa. no one is ever 100% content with an off-the shelf. out-of-the-box CRM system. or if position X is more important than Y and Z. For more information. campaigns and businesses. colors.. We discovered later on that those letters persuaded people from being neutral about Dean to being mildly-interested. your data and expensive CRM application are just rabbits stuffed into old hats. some solutions will work for a small race. doesn’t exist at the bottom of a box. This is where people come into play. listen (and learn) from the people surrounding your campaign or political group. thing: people –not jut the people you plan to put into your database. they weren’t becoming rabid supporters. Relationships are important. The answer. Want to know the secrets of political targeting or how to use the data you collect? Just ask a field manger – the real magicians in politics.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. during the Dean Campaign we sent approximately 150. however.com. I mean staff. In terms of dollars per lines of code. then the “standard solution” becomes part of the problem. track preferences. But when it comes to national politics and political parties with 250 million records. A smarter strategy would have been if the field organization had downloaded a list of people who received letters and then followed up with a door-todoor canvassing chat. people tend to be happier with tools that are built or adapted for them. you should be able to track whether the people on your fundraising list respond more to a red contribute button than a blue contribute button. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 11 People Come before Programs CLAY JOHNSON BLUE STATE DIGITAL Everyone in politics is looking for the perfect CRM system and the ideal microtargeting strategy. invest time and money in one PAGE 52 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . The ideal political CRM application doesn’t exist . Just as in the businesses world. Sometimes the solution involves one additional element: people. A good CRM application should help you track what compels people to give or vote or act. Once you test a message. Frame them in an easy-to-forward way.. like any major renovation. And of course. acquires a lot of cost. Then use your creative team to decipher which messages resonate with which members of your audience. you can hire someone who can program some of the customization for you. then you’d better stick with it. however. It becomes your foundation. Once you’ve sunk a lot of money into your CRM application. and designs. Especially in the political world. People respond to different messages. not even the most expensive online tool can replace a really good field director. Email is no different than direct mail: both require a lot a testing. Don’t forget bells and whistles. Without a good field manager. For example. but when it comes to cultivating people online. For example. Better design through better data. a CRM application will be the most expensive part of your online campaign. By people. Keep this in mind while you shop for a CRM solution: before you buy. the creative element is also very important. Whether they are your constituents or your staff.bluestatedigital. or if a 14-point Verdana is better than 14-point Arial. For example. At the end of the day. @ Blue State Digital provides technology and strategic guidance to political groups.

when a candidate gives a campaign and speech. campaign staff post issue papers – both very broad and very particular – on the Website. not building ongoing conversations with voters. it is called Customer Relations Management software. were based on old systems used for paper correspondence.. constituent communications is not something to be entered into lightly. the same person switches over completely from his or her role in the official office. especially in elections where the margins are thin. the lobbying world adopted CRM years before the campaign world. based on fairly ornate CRM programs that. Campaigns generally do not have staff on hand to answer individual questions. And. For example. CRM for electronic communications began to develop on the Hill in 1993. It simply is not something that the short-term campaign world has embraced. In other words. Why does such a rift in CRM use exist between campaigning and elected office? First. and they may all be the same people. both in terms of money and time. which is just beginning to experiment with it. even though it is not campaign politics. This too is a push messaging practice. some of the people who have been using CRM the longest are actually members of Congress . are involved in literally hundreds of different issues. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 12 The End of the Campaign and the Beginning of Elected Office: Correspondence Management and CRM DANIEL BENNETT INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. However. campaigns and elected federal office have rules that keep them separate. in turn. Instead. However. So. the candidate” CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 53 . typically conducts CRM activities under the title of legislative correspondence. While most campaign managers staff their offices with field workers – not to mention the volunteers – historically speaking. Members of Congress. and customers differ from citizens who vote. . Don’t confuse it with the other CMS – Content Management System. Rather it’s about “me. differ from customers. she might take questions. commercial CRM system. The difference between CRM and CMS. however. day-in and day-out. dialogue over a period of time. campaigns have not had one dedicated person responsible for voter relationship management. historically speaking. CRM means something very different to each type of political player. Constituents. the long-haul back-and forth activity of questions and answers is precisely what CRM is all about. Responding to constituents about the issues that concern them is politicking. campaigns are about selling a message. different calendars and different traditions. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET telling you what I think. not about responding to people. while the rest of the industry has not. In official elected office. elected officials (and candidates) understand that it is important to respond quickly and meaningfully when they can. Again. which helps manage your Website. For commercial interests. then chances are good that you may require some features that are not available on a standard. They may all start with the letter C. but typically does not engage in back-and-forth dialogue with each voter over a period of time. It is called CMS – Correspondence Management Systems. . If you’re thinking about purchasing a CRM program for your political campaign. it is not called CRM. which. CRM is important because it gives an advantage to candidates who use it.. Of course. It’s not about personalizing communications to focus on “you. In the ad hoc campaign world: politicking is mainly about pushing messages. the individual person” interested in the campaign. but not the campaigns that help elect them into office. The political world is divided: some of us have been using CRM for some time. They have different budgeting. When in campaign mode. but their offices do not operate in hyper-paced campaign mode. but they function very differently. how do you transition to from campaign mode to life in elected office? And how can your office use relationship management practices to manage all the constituent mail that you’ll receive in the weeks and months ahead? Don’t let the letter “C” fool you. in their official capacity.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS.

Enough money can buy an instant. our representatives assume they will hold office for at least two years and possibly for six. a bigger list. but that doesn’t mean that CRM should be a second-class part of your campaign. You cannot wait until late August to use CRM in a November election. you don’t have to spend a fortune to use CRM. Can’t spend a fortune? Consider purchasing a small list at the beginning of your campaign to help cultivate donors. Further. And. then they do not want to talk about it anyway. Compared to the amount of time one spends in elected office. for the first time. CRM is not going to be simple: it has to be used to respond in a timely manner. New CRM software can shortcut many of the problems with typical CRM and allow the type of candidate-voter interaction that was not possible before. if a topic that interests a voter is off-message. Consider buying a list at the beginning of your campaign. so plan your communications strategy ahead of time. Start early. With email and electronic communication. Once elected. hitting 10 people here. How do you want CRM to improve your campaign? How do you want to shape the conversation? Which messages do you want to get out to which people? Be ready for it. however. start from day one. The sooner you begin your CRM program. It makes it possible for an organization to use very sophisticated infrastructure that would normally take months of time and years of institutional memory to create. There is no way a campaign field staff has either the historical memory of how an elected official acted on an issue or the ability to go to the congressional office to find out. Even small. smaller CRM programs are available to more local races. but important. If you are going to try to be a successful Congressional or Senate. Compare this to big campaigns. Further. Finally. Much of the information exchange in a seemingly casual manner can be used to assist campaign staffers on the local level. gold-plated CRM system able to handle hundreds of thousands of in-coming and out-going messages from day one of your campaign. addressing the specific issues of individuals while staying on message. campaigns. and the office can collect that correspondence to tailor their outreach. Let’s walk through that process. or a dedicated CRM staff. 20 people there whom they might not have been able to hit with a broad-brush communications strategy. All the technology in the world will not get your campaign anywhere if you have neither a good message nor a game plan for using CRM. If you’re a small race. can distribute and organize trackable messages coming in and going out individually. Your goal is to PAGE 54 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . May – if not sooner. Lists are a cultivation tool. campaigns are able to concentrate for the first time on hitting smaller audiences through microtargeting or simply by listening to their precinct captains. CRM is something that you need to think about in March. is making CRM more possible for politics and allowing more one-to-one interaction between campaigns and voters in less time and with fewer staff. then you want to reach a half-million to a million-plus voters. The second issue is time. Campaigns with plenty of money can buy a list of the email addresses and work with vendors and campaign staff to design an online administration campaign that will pull people into their database and coordinate with their off-line campaign. Think beyond your list. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET and they have dedicated. People don’t typically write to candidates: candidates have to reach out to them proactively. and make sure your expectations are on track. long-term staff to sort and respond to constituent communications. Building a list and cultivating people is much easier over time because people will write regularly. Remember. time is an issue. eight. Most campaigns start with no list and must build it from scratch. They might not have to time to deal with a database or CRM strategy. Technology. April. Establish a process for handling correspondence and CRM issues down the road. Many candidates are first-timers and lack a tradition of constituent correspondence that is built with experience in elected office. which generally last two years or less. or even twenty. with CRM. even if you have to start with a less expensive program. honestly. – Perhaps more important than actually having a list is knowing how to use it. the campaign season is incredibly short. – Your campaign is not a commercial enterprise with a customer service department.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. campaigns spend a lot of time at the beginning thinking about the message and organizing logistics. – Most candidates simply do have a readymade list going into the beginning of a campaign. Buying a list becomes crucially important. Remember. Manage expectations. on-theground communications that the campaign was either not aware of in the past or could not control can be a part of a centralized communications program. the better. campaigns can tailor messages efficiently. and put their money to good use by buying a CRM system that works for you. What will your campaign $ buy you? In order to develop a competent CRM system. Most campaigns probably cannot handle a huge influx of messages and respond both personally and quickly.

When people ask you a question. Campaigns may be good at issuing top-down messages. knowing your supporters means responding to them through their preferred medium and at the day of day that’s right for them. For the time being. and respond to them quickly. Don’t be embarrassed to outsource your CRM technology. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET keep people actively engaged in your campaign. we are very busy campaigning. you can code their question. how you collect it. centralize your communications. – CRM and tools like data-mining are so new that many in the political world simply have not developed the skill set to use them effectively. – You are building a relationship with voters. Many campaigns do not have the capacity to do more than this. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 55 . however. You need to know how to respond to people. outsourcing the technical administra- tion of your CRM system may be a smart choice. local territories. and GOTV programs. understand who they are. – Plan what types of information you want to collect about voters.” Not responding can cost you a vote. Study geography. location-based messages – can help bring the online and offline campaign together. such as the political polling industry. where. you told a few friends? Purchase a lawn sign. Campaigns can actually code their databases to pinpoint the best volunteers for things on a local level. and then display those interactions for each local coordinator come on a minute-by-minute basis for an instant update on the campaign. Some of the old ways of political campaigns do not necessarily work the same way in the CRM sphere.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Set standards for your information harvest. Your message is important. and what you want to call it. mapping is a much easier way for people who are not highly skilled data people to be able to quickly see and understand the ramifications of the work being done by people on the ground. The idea is to send local people local information.” which applies quite well to the voter cultivation process. You can. nor does the political industry posses an infrastructure for a politics-specific CRM industry. “Hi. So. Bring them up the cultivation process and make them feel wanted. We have volunteers trying to get back to you. Campaigns can also adapt polling information and use it to communicate with people based on the issue that matter to them. enable volunteers in a local area to sign up on a map on your Website that will show your precinct captains where they live and where to meet. When a voter expresses interest in an issue and seems to respond positively to your candidate’s stand. you tell a friend. Design an auto response that says. but they need to learn to develop a way for local volunteers or staffers to report back up the pipeline. when. and empower people at the local level to carry your message for you. At a very basic level. Taking my last point into consideration. – CRM systems can be used for traveling salesmen who responded to a central office but had their own. Don’t ignore your voters. while juggling a dozen other balls at once. still let people know that you appreciate their message. On a more complex level. – Use CRM to coordinate your online and offline efforts. Keep your feet firmly planted in the ground. For example. Setting standards early will also help you decide what the message of the campaign. many corporate CRM systems have become a bit more campaign-friendly. A good CRM system can make all that possible. and that takes planning. Know your supporters. then you want to up-sell them. The pricing models are changing. and how. Be as specific as possible with the person who builds your CRM system regarding subject codes or issue codes. At the same time. – You might not have time to answer each new question thoroughly the second you receive voter email. Think like a salesman. CRM can help campaigns coordinate all the thousands of individual interactions from each volunteer. volunteer. this means sending messages based on demographic information. The business community uses the phrase “Up Sell. Are you interested in this? Well. – Geotargeting – looking at people on your list based on their location and sending them specific. which you can collect yourself and purchase as part of your list.

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INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. The authors in this section look at how relationship management practices work in the nonprofit context. and they offer practical applications for fundraising. The nonprofit world and the advocacy community also have a lot to gain. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET PART III CRM for Advocacy and Nonprofits Political campaigns aren’t the only organizations that can benefit from constituent relationship management. international entity. messaging. and volunteer recruitment – whether your nonprofit is a one-person shop or a large. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 57 .

org. of course.ORG CRM brings the total institutional relationship with a supporter under a single roof. But the ability to play well with others is important. For fundraising. Increasingly. 1. In the scheme of things. a CRM brings the total institutional relationship with a supporter under a single roof. For more information. CRMs. The drawback in this brave new world is the ageold technological conundrum: bewildering multiple choices leave many nonprofit staffers struggling to evaluate services well outside their comfort zone. advocacy. Just as every army travels on its stomach. in a nutshell. For those so afflicted. case management. all built around a single. every NGO travels on its data. Reporting. and access it readily are what CRM systems are all about. You need to be confident that the CRM systems you’re evaluating are capable of handling that information. manage it creatively. Online donations. Increasingly. The tools in the system should be naturally integrated with each other. Any robust CRM should meet most organizations’ core feature needs. and a state chapter of the national organization its own uncoordinated versions of the same.democracyinaction. but allows the organization to understand its community in a ways that would have been impossible before. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 13 Finding the Lifeblood of Your Nonprofit JASON ZANON DEMOCRACYINACTION. Integration. it's not minor differences in these tools or the presence of features you weren't expecting to have that determines the success of your online ventures – it's data. can you use it? Customizable reports that let you compare information in new ways will let your CRM really rock. And the Internet has given it a shot of adrenaline. good information has always been the lifeblood of the third sector. Avoid vendor lock-in and look for flexible import/export capabilities. The ability to gather it efficiently. to enable organizations with more complex needs to sync with external data sources as well. such as: • • • • Mass email blasting. but data is king. But it’s important to keep focused on a CRM’s main deliverables. a development department its separate (partially overlapping) database of donors. That’s great. Event registration. Tools are great. If you’ve never before thought of running “meetups” or “ride boards” on your site. having them suddenly at your fingertips can feel a little like Christmas morning. That not only streamlines data maintenance and information-sharing. • • PAGE 58 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . too. empowering a panoply of heretofore unimaginable strategic choices. Almost everyone needs to manage some information specific to their group or issue that won’t be built into the tool off the shelf. Data management that would have been too expensive for the best-heeled entities just a few years ago is increasingly at the fingertips of every organization. Once data is logged in the system. Look for: • Customizability. Most CRMs offer a menu of activism tools that probably go well beyond your immediate needs.org is a nonprofit organization that provides e-advocacy tools to progressive nonprofits. communications and every way a nonprofit touches its community. CRMs are also opening APIs. here are three easy steps for a painless transition to the cutting edge. @ DemocracyInAction. Action pages like write-your-rep and petitions. even small organizations are turning to advanced Constituent Relationship Management systems (CRMs).INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. offer one-stop access to a package of advanced online tools that can enable any nonprofit to project a sophisticated online presence. or Application Programming Interfaces. integrated data core. visit www. Where once a grassroots organizer might have her own list of activists.

Being transparent about the campaigns you run. competing solicitation strategies to separate target panels will help you hone your tactics. Things like: • • Free stuff. you have a critical resource that no consultant can match: you know your issue and your community. and every other part of your web strategy. you’re selling yourself short if you don’t try out a few things you’re not really sure about. makes them enthusiastic about doing it again. Often neglected. if only to develop a feel for the way your campaigns unfold. But the ne plus ultra of Internet advocacy is getting a slice of people to take action in the flesh: to attend (or host) a meetup. A light touch goes a long way online. for instance. they’re skills that can be learned – and there are plenty of free online resources to help. and buying a CRM won’t make you MoveOn.” available free at http://www. walk a precinct.epolitics. though. Take some chances. Test. marketing and communication are still the best road map of cyberspace.33 Many consultants can also outsource publicity. run 5K for charity and sign up their friends as donors. 2. You’ll use online actions. If you can set a dashboard of basic reports you’ll need over and over. so much the better. of course. A CRM ought to give you the tools to do some things you couldn’t do before. Caution: you may inadvertently become the new expert in what you’re trying. The ability to test cheaply and sometimes in little more than a few hours is a great underrated benefit of CRMs – as anyone who’s plowed thousands of dollars into direct mail panels should appreciate.com/download-online-politics-101/. 33 One of the best current introductory resources is “Online Politics 101: The Tools and Tactics of Online Political Advocacy. you should be prepared to put hours into routinely working with your platform. Convert online passion into offline action. Given the minimal expense of experimentation and the rapid development of new ways to operate online. 3. You have to put in the sweat equity to get the most out of either. even occasional controlled tests of. report. and especially letting people know when they’ve been part of something successful. You have to put in the sweat equity to get the most out of either. Surprisingly few organizations actually follow up well with their online supporters. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET Buying a gym membership won’t make you fit. At the end of the day there’s nothing about online communications that’s truly arcane.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Winning. and some people on your list may never want to do more than that. Even when using a consultant. • Report. and all the data in the world shouldn’t obscure the fact that it’s still real people on the other side of the click-through rates.” Even if a few techniques need re-learning. Management and Strategy Count More than Software Buying a gym membership won’t make you fit. motivated by things that motivate the people you work with all the time. It’s Still All about People No matter how little your expertise of Internet tools. report. message development. Did we mention that data is king? Only if you actually look at it. Humor is the common thread of many viral marketing campaigns. Having fun. and buying a CRM won’t make you MoveOn. • • • • It’s an old fundraising maxim that “people give to people with causes. Giving away useful resources on a site is a great way to attract eyeballs. the fundamentals of organizing. No matter how little your expertise of Internet tools. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 59 . All you need is a little data to travel on. you have a critical resource that no consultant can match: you know your issue and your community. While techniques for email communications or the best ways to get blog buzz for a campaign may not be immediately intuitive.

now sophisticated campaigns can reach out to voters as individuals. and realistic and fair wages. even in states where it is possible to do so. Unfortunately voter file data is notoriously nonstandard. Counties usually have a record of voters’ participation in previous elections. childcare. geographic location. while some collect no party registration data whatsoever. accessible. registration date. Each county or municipality maintains active rolls of registered voters. Some states restrict who can access the public voter file records. Advocacy groups and campaigns can find and activate supportive voters outside of traditional constituencies or geographic strongholds…if they can successfully navigate the difficulties of working with voter files. race/ ethnicity or group membership. voting districts (including precinct). and these inconsistencies create challenges for advocacy groups working in multiple states or legislative districts or in an area with poor quality data. the data collected can be unique to each county or state. voting history.org. prospective donors. Integrating voter file data into your organization’s overall constituent relationship management strategy creates increased efficiencies and greater understanding of constituent support.org is a grassroots online effort consisting of more than 70. momsrising. Most states collect data on gender. Others allow for open voting in party primaries and track which voters participate in each primary. which is provided by supporters. flexible work. Campaigns and candidates traditionally communicated with groups PAGE 60 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . and a few on race/ethnicity. children’s health. and support modeling scores to create a more efficient and personalized contact model. precinct. For more information. Some states have had centralized. each state set (or failed to set) its own standards for voter file data management. but this information is stored in different formats and often is not uniform for a state as a whole. Advocacy groups and campaigns can find and activate supportive voters outside of traditional constituencies or geographic strongholds…if they can successfully navigate the difficulties of working with voter files. or volunteers.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Historically. HAVA (the Help America Vote Act of 2002) set minimum standards @ MomsRising. Creating a standard CRM data management strategy for a national organization is a daunting task because of the variation in voter file data access. Some states require that voters register as a member of a political party in order to vote in that party’s primary. Basic contact information is collected everywhere – name. requiring that the data be used for political (not commercial) purposes. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 14 Not Just for Political Candidates: Voter Files and Constituent Relationship Management CATHERINE GEANURACOS MOMSRISING. understanding the demographics. An increasing percentage of voters decline to affiliate with a political party. incomplete. visit www. data components and formats between states and jurisdictions. standardized voter file records for years. address. date of birth. blending voter file data with polling research.000 members and fifty aligned national organizations to create positive national and statelevel solutions on paid family leave. and distribution across precincts of supporters and potential supporters allows a campaign or advocacy group to craft a cost-effective voter contact plan. contributors. and out-of-date.ORG of voters characterized by geography. the primary source of all voter file data is public data on registered voters. Voter file data is the core of any individualized constituent outreach strategy. while others continued to maintain paper records at the county or municipal level until very recently. issue identification. What is voter file data? Unlike most CRM data. and valuable activists.

phone calling lists.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. but often rely on voter file vendors to supply data. once a candidate has won a primary s/he can usually access the state party’s data – the pre-primary situation varies). multiple vendors as well as state parties have extensive data files on voters. and sometimes appending consumer or census data. There are many others. walk lists. and some of them are even included in this publication. and administered at the State level” – but each state sets up its own systems. it’s important to find out when the data was most recently updated. Independent candidates and advocacy groups are sometimes able to purchase data from a local. and they each collect different types of data.fec. non-advocacy website providing news and analysis on election reform. htm. income levels generalized from community averages.csv files. and Blaemire. interactive computerized statewide voter registration list defined. useful for conducting voter registration activities. centralized. maintained. state. Produced by the Election Reform Information Project The Federal Election Commission’s HAVA page – Contains the text of the law. You can find a report on the status of each state’s HAVA compliance at ElectionOnline. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET for state-level voter information management. Many vendors now have interactive. Some of the major voter file vendors include Catalist. while census data includes imputed ethnicity. Both major parties maintain extensive enhanced national voter file records. web-based data systems where you can request and receive data on a specific group of target voters (all registered Republicans 35-80 living in the 14th congressional district). Many vendors serve primarily one side of the partisan divide. number of children. This list is compiled by comparing commercial mailing lists with the voter files. state. some voter file vendors also include information on unregistered individuals. ‘enhanced’ often benefit from an additional round of phone number matching (provided by yet another set of vendors). or magazine subscriptions and comes from sources like InfoUSA or Acxiom. but often rely on voter file vendors to supply data. a state party. and vote history data to create turnout and candidate support scores for each Want to learn more about the Help America Vote Act? ElectionOnline. but not all states have fully complied. What’s the best way to access voter file data? Candidates.org – The nation’s only non-partisan. at http://www. along with more information. you need to know how many records have phone numbers). HAVA requires “a single. and access to and accuracy of statewide databases varies widely. which are available to candidates at different stages of the campaign cycle (for example. Most vendors will also provide a number of options for how you receive the data (. a national party. It’s possible to get a computerized list of voters directly from some counties – this can be the most economical option if you’re working on a local campaign or issue. Much of the country continues to be a patchwork of county-level data collection that results in missed opportunities for voter contact for campaigns and advocacy groups. Whatever your data source. so that one vendor has a near-monopoly on the information. PACs and advocacy groups often get their voter file data from different sources: voter files can come directly from counties or states. the challenges of compiling an accurate voter file have been much more extensive. One of the many challenges in using this data is the difficulty in comparing the relative accuracy of data available from different sources. Most voter file data companies add some data to the basic information obtained from public sources. updating phone numbers and addresses (with National Change Of Address data from the US Post Office). survey results. and to run some overall counts so you understand what you’ve got. etc. official. while a few are nonpartisan. While the original public data sources only maintain information on registered voters. Aristotle.). In a few states. org. Consumer data can include information on marital status. or national party. campaigns create statistical models based on enhanced voter file data.gov/hava/hava. the percentage of missing data in key fields (if you’re planning a phone outreach project. or national party. uniform. Independent candidates and advocacy groups are sometimes able to purchase data from a local. cars owned. or a for-profit voter file vendor. even voter files that have been CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 61 . but the data will be in very raw form and it may be incomplete or inaccurate. In some places. What is modeling? Do I need it? For states without party registration.

For example King County.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. some store data on the last Even if a political group has the resources to create a support model for its issue or candidate. there is the additional challenge of managing and manipulating it. one reason is the technical challenges of maintaining and referencing consistent voter file data. Few campaigns accurately measure the impact of their voter contact activities. I’ve gotten data on voters in my legislative district. how do I use it? Once voter file data is acquired. and inconsistency of formats. email communication tools). Whatever the scale of the campaign. While some national campaigns and organizations build their own voter contact technologies (MoveOn. it’s often challenging to know how best to utilize a modeled support score for an individual voter. Bank). for example) requires some level of inhouse technical expertise. Voter file vendors or data management systems that don’t preserve all the possible unique identifiers that a county or state may have used in compiling its voter file make it challenging to incorporate early or absentee vote results available in electronic formats directly from some counties. there are software tools designed to allow campaigns and advocacy groups to make use of voter file data. increasing efficiency. Advokit) could be useful for small-scale voter file data management. many more do not. although there are some platforms that are moving towards providing this type of seamless integration (NGP Software. This becomes more even more challenging in volatile races shifting close to Election Day. Even if a political group has the resources to create a support model for its issue or candidate. requiring last-minute updates of data files. Washington makes available the IDs for voters whose absentee ballots have been received. then a statistical consultant will use the results to project out support probabilities for different demographic/geographic subgroups within the voter file. and require customization to preserve voter file data fields. Models have also been developed to estimate the likelihood that an individual voter will vote – to help determine who needs turnout messages. and national elections. it’s often challenging to know how best to utilize a modeled support score for an individual voter. The Data PAGE 62 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . and where to set the floor for candidate support. While some vendors procure and provide updated file information as part of the cost of buying the data. Voter file information is not static. used by many state Democratic Party organizations to access and work with their voter file data. RNC). inaccuracy. and early and absentee voters. Not all models are equally useful or predictive. One example of this type of software is the Voter Activation Network. While open-source CRM solutions (CiviCRM. Campaigns must make decisions about which deciles of turnout likelihood to focus on. Voter file data often varies based on where it was collected: some counties in a state may keep records of the last 10 elections. Careful review and quality assurance of any analysis or manipulation of voter file data is essential to avoid potential pitfalls of mismatched data. Partisan organizations also provide precinct-level data on past election performance for local geographies in local. telephone outreach firms). most organizations find their GOTV or persuasion targets (using their own or a voter file vendor’s data manipulation tools) and then forward this data to other service providers (direct mail vendors. most are not capable of dealing with large numbers of records/transactions efficiently. Some of the vendors listed above provide web-based interfaces that allow for dynamic creation of voter lists in different formats. while some may only have usable data on the last three – and the voter file source may not be able to tell you which counties are which. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET voter. allowing smart campaigns to remove those who have already voted from pre-election GOTV activities. Files from different states may store data very differently: while most files have a separate field for each recent election. maintaining and updating voter file data (appending the results of a vendor’s voter ID calls. it must be able to incorporate information on under-the-wire new registrants. A campaign will conduct a poll and record support for each candidate. org. queries that produce unexpected results. state. New registrants may be added to files not long before an election takes place. and potentially missed opportunities to contact supporters or persuasion targets. It’s important to assess the usefulness of a model. Why is voter file data difficult to work with? Some of the challenges for maintaining a responsive CRM solution that incorporate voter file data include volatility of the data. for different purposes. Models can be constructed for issue or candidate support. AFL-CIO. for a political organization to be effective. One limitation of most of the voter file software management systems is their lack of ability to integrate with other key campaign software tools (fundraising and volunteer management programs. which can be another useful tool in constructing a support model. testing its accuracy with ongoing IDs or by testing its predictive value on a reserved polling sample.

000 to win your election. It’s important to remember that targeting too narrowly may reduce the impact of your communication strategy. finding the 200 most supportive voters won’t be helpful if you need to persuade 5.1% of the constituents in the district have fishing licenses. and new products and services are being developed and enhanced continually. Currently. and the other source kept the state voter ID number. developing an elaborate marketing strategy for those voters may not be cost-effective. as organizations and candidates compete to understand the connections and motivations of their constituents more accurately. two environmental groups could have a difficult time swapping IDs they’d collected on a ballot initiative measure if they started with voter files from different sources. possible with precinct-level data. but only . Turnout and support modeling will become available at lower cost to campaigns and advocacy groups at state and local levels earlier in the campaign cycle. the potential benefits to campaigns and advocacy groups of being able to understand which voters are also contributors and volunteers will result in increasing efficiencies for campaigns. What are the next steps in incorporating voter file data into CRM solutions? While incorporating voter file data into CRM solutions brings many challenges. Targeting too narrowly may reduce the impact of your communication strategy. the source or vendor for voter file data often determines how easy it is to share important data with collaborators. moving seamlessly between voter outreach and constituent communications through multiple phases of the campaign cycle. moving seamlessly between voter outreach and constituent communications through multiple phases of the campaign cycle. Advances in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping allow for more sophisticated analysis of a candidate’s geographic support distribution than is Successful CRM could allow candidates and advocacy groups to build relationships with their constituents during and after elections.000 to win your election. finding the 200 most supportive voters won’t be helpful if you need to persuade 5. It’s also tempting to rely too heavily on data that may not be useful.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Software vendors may move towards adapting data standards that allow for easier importing/exporting/ and matching of data from different sources. What are some risks in using voter file data? The amount of information contained in an enhanced voter file record can be overwhelming. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET four elections in one field. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 63 . Several initiatives are underway to support simpler web-based interfaces that would allow campaigns and groups without in-house technical skill to use voter file data quickly and easily. if you know that voters with fishing licenses are likely to support your issue. Successful CRM could allow candidates and advocacy groups to build relationships with their constituents during and after elections. For example. Understanding and using voter file data effectively will become even more essential over the next election cycles. the groups would need to be able to create a way to match data using available name/ DOB/ address or zip fields – made more challenging if the data components are formatted differently in each file. If one source kept the county’s voter ID number.

so that your organization can see a unified view. using that tool’s reporting features.net). Through product comparisons. and perhaps to view the emails sent and the donor’s responses from within your donor database. who they’ve contacted. updated. it allows you to get a complete view of your constituents. While the perfect solution may not exist. First. so they can get a holistic view of not only who’s registered. 34 Robert Weiner of Robert L Weiner Consulting (www. The donor database uses some combination of fields – perhaps first name. and Frank the volunteer coordinator is keeping his volunteer list in an online volunteer management application.rlweiner. PAGE 64 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . case studies. and Automated Connectors. In this article. and more On a weekly basis. exports a list of all the people who have registered in the past week. she goes to her donor database. Linking these systems will allow you to email all your donors (all those with email addresses. For more information. If you’re hoping to integrate the software you already have. Integration is also critical in keeping your data clean. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 15 An Introduction to Integrating Constituent Data: Three Basic Approaches LAURA S. Linking up your constituent data provides some big advantages. Lastly. If Joan the development director is keeping her own email list in Constant Contact. we can at least help you understand your options. neither can take advantage of the potential opportunities in each other’s lists. but it’s a simple concept: integrating your constituent data means connecting the information from the various systems you use in order to communicate with and track your constituents. Tate Hausman of Dot Organize (dotorganize. Integrating by Manual Import/Export Joan’s organization is using an event registration system to allow people to sign up for their conference online. last name When information has to be updated in real time – for instance. and useful. she goes to the registration software and. They want to be able to see who’s registered in their donor database. when a website visitor should see different information because they’ve just signed up as a member—integration is the only way to do it.com/). But is this kind of integration possible in the nonprofit world? Well. Each of these methods has its own strengths. recommendations. That being said.idealware. we’ll walk through the three basic approaches to combining the data from different sources: Manual Import/Export. visit www. It can sound complicated. and considerations. The options for data integration aren’t as fully developed as one might like.com/). sometimes. Idealware allows nonprofits to make the software decisions that will help them be more effective. you may be limited by the features that are available in those packages. weaknesses. QUINN34 IDEALWARE @ Idealware provides candid Consumer-Reports-style reviews and articles about software of interest to nonprofits. She then opens the exported file in Excel and changes the order of the columns so that the Excel file is in a format that her donor database will understand. but who’s donated. Joan goes through a checklist of tasks in order to manually integrate this data.org. When information has to be updated in real time— for instance. and uses its upload utility to upload the list of registrants from the Excel file. and you can never get an overall picture of the ways each constituent is involved with your organization. integration allows that new number to be updated in your other systems. Integrated Tools.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. when a website visitor should see different information because he or she just signed up as a member – integration is the only way to do it. however. you might integrate an email blasting software package with your donor database.typepad. there are a number of methods worth considering. For instance. and Paul Hagan also contributed to this chapter. For one. and software news. Beth Kanter of Beth’s Blog (beth. at least) from your email blasting tool. If someone updates a phone number in one system.

the donor database is only updated with new registrants once a week. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 65 . or to try out various options. human nature means that mistakes are bound to occur. If that person becomes overworked or frustrated. This option depends on a staff member consistently running through a potentially complicated series of steps. but the donor database was the owner of the full constituent list for the organization. While the other methods allow you to set up the integration process up-front and then let it run mostly untended. in our example above. Most software packages support at least a basic import and export. • Opens the door to human error and data issues. which can create incorrect data. Integrating several different tools. If you need to swap out your event registration tool for another one. or to show them data from one system based on information from another. so you’ll have the widest variety of software options from which to choose.” In summary. or it might require her to do more work – for instance. This can make it an affordable way to get started. a member of your staff manually exports data from one system and imports it into another on a periodic basis. Like with the Automated Connector option below. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET and zip code – to identify which registrant should be linked up with which donor. One staff member typically does all the manual integration. • Allows you to target software tools to your specific needs. The data in one system will slowly go out-ofsynch with the other in the time period between manual updates. which can lead to problems if that staff member goes on vacation or leaves the organization. manual integration will require careful initial planning. allows you to optimize functionality and price. or missing information. for instance. Careful documentation and training multiple people to do the manual process can help. In the above scenario. rather than using a single integrated software package as described below. if you want to allow constituents to login to multiple systems with the same password. But the method also has notable drawbacks: • Requires greatest amount of ongoing staff time. manual integration requires a continuing chunk of time from a staff member. Over time. • Requires careful integration plan and process. Because there’s minimal upfront cost. duplicates. • Relies on a single staff member. This type of delay can become problematic in specific circumstances – for instance. in Joan’s scenario. The Details We’ll call this kind of integration “Integrating by Manual Import/Export. This option has a number of advantages: • Lowest initial investment.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS.e. for instance. If you need very robust donor management functionality but just basic email blasting capability. can you match constituents based on email address? Name and zip code?). Think carefully through the process – what happens when constituents are added? Removed? When information changes? • Time lag in information sharing. • Allows the widest choice of software tools. Another system might not require her to do this. For instance. the integration process can stop altogether. Instead. changing the column labels as well. The time and effort required for this kind of manual integration varies greatly depending on how many data sources you are trying to integrate and how much work is required to get the export file ready for import. Manually integrating data doesn’t require an initial investment in programming time or software tools. the additional investment for integrating the new tool is likely to be one of hours rather than days. • Flexibility in changing software packages down the road. the investment is shifted to staff time to plan the integration process and then to perform the manual updates over time. while the event registration tool shows new registrants immediately after they register. You’ll need to define what fields you will use to link the data (i. your data integration strategy doesn’t tie you to any particular piece of software. you can chose two different tools that meet your precise needs. It’s also important to define which system will be the primary owner of each piece of data – for instance. Joan had to change the order of the columns in order to get the export file into the format required by the donor database. The scenario above might require about a half-an-hour per week for someone who was familiar with the process. the event registration system was the owner of the event registration list and the most up-to-date registrants.

makes the likelihood of data problems much lower with this option than with others. In addition.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. the limitations of human concentration mean that manual integration can’t scale to the same level as the other options. states must be upper-case). This means that George uses a single online administration tool to see and manage all the information about each of the constituents with which they’ve interacted. data integration is taken care of for you. Data is updated in real time. • • • • But an integrated package is not the solution for every organization. if you want to allow them access to a member section of your website immediately upon registering as a member). there’s a huge downside to integrated applications: you need to abandon your existing software and move all of your data into the integrated tool. If you are trying to integrate a package that will only export in one specific format with one that will only import in a different specific format. the move to a new system may provide the impetus and rallying cry needed to centralize all your data into a usable form. While they have built on many • PAGE 66 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . and the fact that no data is actually being moved. If you’re looking to do a wholesale integration ef- fort. While carefully documenting the exact sequence of steps and tasks can help. A single contact for support. These applications provide many different functions that all use the same central database. Using Integrated Packages George’s organization needs to be able to accept both online and offline donations. There can be some distinct drawbacks. the ideal system will automatically check for duplicate records after each import. or to show them information from one system based on information from another (so for instance. Make sure everyone on the team is ready to give up your current software and to learn to use a new tool. Jack of all trades. Because all information for these various functions is stored in one central database. On the other hand. Common functionality can be “plugged in. master of none. If you have a question or problem. without the need to search for another software package. What does a software package need to provide to support manual integration? Make sure that the tool allows you to export and import the actual fields you are trying to synch up. enforce your data entry rules (e. there is never a time when any information is out of synch. and allow you to review changes before they are posted. it’s easy to figure out who to call. As all the data is in the same database. Most integrated software packages are built around a core functionality – for instance. This allows you to conveniently add on functionality down the road. Don’t underestimate the staff time required. In general. this is a good option if you’re looking to inexpensively integrate just a few data sources. This has a number of substantial advantages: • No special integration effort or issues. For those who are established with constituent communications or tracking applications already. register people for events.. It’s also a practical way to get started in understanding what tools you need and what data needs to be integrated. Your information is completely synched up and interconnected because you’re only using one application as opposed to many different ones which may not quite talk to each other. send emails. you will have to transform the data file each time you want to synch the data. They’ve chosen one software package that supports all of those functions. depending on your situation and needs: • Requires you to migrate all existing data. it’s certainly worth considering moving all your data into a single integrated package. Flexibility in the column order and the file names used for the import/ export files is also very useful. This is important if you want to allow constituents to be able to login to multiple systems with the same password. without a big initial investment. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET • Integrating many data sources can become prohibitively complicated. no staff time or planning is needed to synch across multiple tools. And don’t discount the danger of accidentally introducing problems into your data through inevitable human error. essentially. event management or email blasts. or at an additional charge. The central database. however.g. You’re only working with one vendor. mail direct appeals. Trying to manually integrate several different databases requires juggling many data formats and a multitude of files.” The larger integrated packages provide functionality for most common needs—either out-of-the-box. and track and manage their list of constituents. Much lower danger of data inconsistencies. if you’re operating from Excel spreadsheets and slips of paper. particularly as the number of data sources increase. The most obvious advantage is that. The Details The challenge of sharing data between multiple applications has led to a whole new category of software: integrated packages.

but also likely future needs. it’s a big mess if that vendor goes out of business or moves in a direction unfavorable to your needs. Over time. In addition. More options for integration and aggregation. Integrating through Automated Connectors Let’s go back to Joan’s organization. Some provide access. Sizable ongoing cost. creating a connector will require a development process – careful design. but in ways that makes it complicated to integrate. But make sure you consider the drawbacks: you’ll be dependant on the success of a single vendor. Instead of doing this process by hand. but many do not. If you’re thinking through options for a new organization. The registrant’s information is sent to the donor database. How do you make this automated magic happen? Some high-end software packages provide outof-the-box automated connectors which allow them to easily talk to particular other software packages. moving beyond the functionality provided by the out-of-the-box application may require either costly customization. try to find a package that meets not only your current needs.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS.35 If you’re going to put all your eggs in one basket. an automated connector allows the data to flow from one system from another without human intervention. While some packages offer partnerships with other specialist tools. you need to be able to access the software’s data via code. Others charge to be able to use an API. • CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 67 . This is a powerful integration method. Not every software package can be integrated by automated connector. Selecting the very best existing tools for your needs and then integrating them yourself is likely to provide the most robust support for sophisticated needs. these features are often not nearly as strong as the core ones. Now. but can range from about $50 to thousands of dollars per month. they found that this 35 See the article Vendors as Allies: How to Evaluate Viability. but the manual import/export process was not working as well as it could.org/articles/vendors_as_allies. you can find community-built modules that can be used to create automated connectors with minimal setup. When looking at integrated packages. it’s critical to consider the range of needs that they cover. and the records in the donor database are reflected to show the registration in real time. When you’re relying on a single vendor for a lot of critical functions. But most of the time. with a number of sizable advantages: • Can use targeted. an integrated tool is well worth considering. What your software tool allows is a key consideration in thinking through whether this method is right for you. or serving a base of members) and you don’t have strong established systems already. whenever someone registers for an event. you’re likely to get more robust functionality in three separate tools rather than one integrated package. and you’ll likely have less flexibility to meet unusual needs. In order to create a connector. an automatic process is kicked off. you’re strongly focused on advocacy. and Commitment at http:// www. an integrated tool can be a great way to go. It may not be easy to fit in functionality that the integrated package hasn’t planned for. php. however. and they really wanted to be able to use their donor database to see a list of event registrants that was always up-to-date. and testing to create a program that synchs up the data between the two systems. If you need features in three divergent areas. best-of-breed tools. High dependency on a single vendor. Service. And for some tools. online outreach. integrating through automated connectors is similar to Manual Import/Export. which wanted to synch up its event registration information with its donor database. integration was very important to them. Data is pulled from one application and added in to another. As discussed above. tools that concentrate on doing a single thing well are often more powerful than integrated packages. This means that the software vendor needs to provide an application programming interface (API) – a way to request or provide data via code – or otherwise expose the data. particularly open source ones. Because the key benefit is the all-in-one nature. Some software packages provide this type of access to the database. Difficulty in extending functionality.idealware. Fees vary widely depending on the features available. make sure that it’s a sturdy basket. ask careful questions about the user base and long term viability of the vendor. While technically-savvy organizations may be able to make use of free open source solutions in this area. Joan hired a programmer to create an automated connection between the two systems. If If your needs fall into common scenarios (for instance. programming. or connecting your integrated application with additional software tools though either a Manual Import/Export or Automated Connectors integration method. It took too much of Joan’s time each week. The Details In many ways. however. or you’d like to pull together a number of diverse datasets. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET • • • additional functions. most organizations will need to “rent” a hosted application for a monthly fee.

or hire someone to do so—a significant investment. you’re able to do so. as there are likely to be fewer controls to stop you from doing things that will “break” your data. you’ll need someone on call to monitor your data. Other tools. it depends. Ask your technical expert to evaluate the technical specification to make sure it’s compatible with the packages with which you’d like to integrate it.e. confirm that you have the necessary system access to make that possible. If you invest in building a connector to a specific package. and involves some substantial drawbacks: • High setup time or cost. it’s possible to create connectors that synchronize information in multiple systems in real time. When looking for software. As with anything you build yourself. and troubleshoot issues. rather than investing substantial time in manually updating data. it’s harder to replace that package to meet new needs or if the vendor goes out of business. There’s unlikely to be any ongoing fees associated specifically with data integration. Ties you to particular packages. design the business rules (which system has the definitive record? what happens with duplicates?). DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET • • • you’re building your own connectors. build the connector. This option provides middleof-the-road flexibility for swapping out software – more so than using an Integrated Package but less than with the Manual Import/Export. You’ll need to carefully evaluate your own needs and concerns. Maintenance. or to show them information from one system based on information from another. Flexibility in swapping out software packages down the road. If no pre-existing connector exists. but the following decision tree can help you navigate some of the most common reasons for choosing one option over another. many high-end donor databases have partnered with online donation or event management tools to seamlessly integrate the two software tools via automated connector. for instance. does it make sense to build your own? This is a good option for tech savvy organizations who are ready invest in data integration. Depending on the type of data access the vendor provides and the type of connector you build. A poorly executed connector can be much more damaging than a poorly thought out manual import/export process. then all of these advantages come with very little downside. especially those who find that their needs are not well met by the existing integrated packages. If you’re looking at software packages with an eye towards one that can be integrated via automated connector. While certainly possible (assuming. of course. For instance. it’s critical to determine whether the package offers a method to access the data via code. make sure your connectors are working properly. and make any updates based on application upgrades.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. If real time integration is important to you. you get all the benefits of this powerful integration method with little of the downside. There are valid reasons to go with any of the three of these. If a connector has already been created to integrate the packages you’re looking at. It’s highly desirable to have such pre-existing connections. You’ll need to either code the automated connector in house. but you’ll need to invest in building a new connector. Which One is Right for You? Which option is the right choice for you? As always. like Salesforce. Dangerous if done poorly. It’s critical to invest in carefully planning and testing automated connectors. You’ll need to carefully plan the technical archi- An automated connector between best-of-breed applications is for most organizations the most desirable integration method – but building it yourself requires a considerable investment. As discussed above. com or open source applications allow community members to create and share the code to integrate additional software packages. If no connector exists. maintain the connectors. this is useful in allowing users to login to multiple systems with the same password. and worth looking for as you select software. however. and staff time is required only to oversee the process. If a solid automated connector already exists. this is not a task to be undertaken lightly. Data can be updated in real time. you’ll have to build this interface yourself. Minimal ongoing investment. factor in existing connectors to other useful software packages as a huge benefit. or are committed to the tools they are already using. that you can access the software’s data via code). central “data warehouse” application rather than connect every system to every other system. this is the option that has the lowest ongoing cost. and it could touch thousands of records before anyone spots the problem. PAGE 68 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . you have precise control over what the integration process does. This also allows flexibility for more sophisticated data aggregation strategies – for instance. • • • tecture (i. however. it might make sense to feed the data into a single. update the connectors to any application upgrades. If you need to move to a new event registration tool. exactly how do the systems talk to each other?). if you are integrating many systems. and then thoroughly test it. While there are substantial up-front costs.

set data entry standards. For more information GETTING IT ALL IN ONE PLACE: DATA INTEGRATION STRATEGIES http://www. The ability to target communications based on a full picture of each person’s involvement.com CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 69 .beaconfire.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Before you purchase any software.php THE INTEGRATION PROCLAMATION www. make sure you have a data strategy for the new system–how will the data relate to your existing data? How will it be maintained? Remember that no system or option can keep your data clean and useful by itself. but it’s well worth the effort. Just imagine it: the assurance that the data in any system is the most accurate and up-to-date information you have.com/news/features/ nten_presentation_data_integration. don’t underestimate the planning element in all of this. Someone – or multiple people – in your organization will have to take ownership of the data. Data integration isn’t a trivial undertaking. and keep watch to make sure that information flows usefully across the organization. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET Whichever option you choose.IntegrationProclamation. And best of all… increasing your ability to truly understand and connect with your constituents.

@ Kintera provides a software as a service technology platform to manage email and communications. become the central nervous system of an effective organization and introduce a set of processes and pro- Customer relationship management has been around in the corporate sector for years.com. This chapter looks at SaaS for nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups. wealth screening and accounting. Defining CRM for the Nonprofit Sector CRM systems. PAGE 70 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . advocacy programs. For more information. CRM systems offer the collection and analysis of information critical to an organization’s survival and allow the outcomes to be shared and utilized across departments. This feature is extremely important for many political campaign workers that frequently work remotely. chapters and even the entire organization. Organizations were forced to purchase additional equipment needed to install client-server database applications and. CRM has become a vital tool for many nonprofit organizations. and segmented the database into various groups. visit www. In the SaaS delivery model. events. Organizations are striving to improve and evolve. SaaS has also proven extremely valuable to nonprofit organizations. As it has in the corporate market. organizations had to implement traditional client-server applications. Early CRM applications allowed users to schedule calls. Nonprofit organizations do not have to incur the costs of equipment. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 16 Drive Advocacy and Action with CRM JON THORSEN KINTERA INC. nonprofit organizations want and need the free flow of information that is essential to implement best practices and get internal players working from the same set of data. Later versions added functionality that enabled mass emails to be personalized. SaaS enables nonprofit organizations to view customer data from anywhere that has Internet access. Prior to SaaS. overtime. Another major shift in the technology industry has made CRM an application for all.kintera. It proved to be a great management tool. too – especially in the nonprofit space. CRM systems provide the technology necessary for improved business processes. Software as a service (SaaS) is the delivery of software via the Internet. secure data centers. These applications were installed and housed on the organization’s own technology equipment. Because it is delivered via the Internet. Moreover. Constituent relationship management is a necessary catalyst for nonprofits to best utilize their greatest asset: information. sudden and unpredictable costs are a serious burden. and register contracts and orders – with the intention of developing and fostering the relationships through the close of the sale. even providing the ability to report a sales pipeline and create revenue forecasts. and organizations that used these CRM applications reported an initial increase in sales and greater ROI. send emails. Websites. Early in this publication. they found themselves incurring additional costs associated with hardware and software upgrades. CRM providers accept the responsibility of software maintenance and house data in offsite. Daniel Burton discussed SaaS in political campaigns. but don’t necessarily understand the processes – or change management – needed to continue growth and streamline efficiencies. Today’s environment is far different than it was in the early days of CRM and applications are far different. when implemented adroitly. improved donor relationships and improved fundraising results – from beginning to end. Functionality like this was cutting-edge. For nonprofit organizations with tight budgets and limited cash flow. pay for minor updates or implement increasingly rigorous security measures.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. The nonprofit sector is approaching a crossroads. It began primarily as a sales application to help salespeople guide prospects through the sales cycle. Constituent relationship management is a necessary catalyst for nonprofits to best utilize their greatest asset: information.

and web interests). Social CRM provides nonprofits with critical data needed to build relationships with donors. CRM offers a unified platform for managing all the database functions mentioned above. behavioral. registrations. and promotion/transaction histories are maintained in the CRM application. ents. behavioral and historical information including online and offline interactions (email. The result is a truly holistic picture of the relationship between the organization and the supporter.) Information on a constituent’s last donation amount or campaign contribution is an example of the type of information political organizations and nonprofits store in CRM applications. many CRM systems enable staff members to add information to constituent records. interactive system. There may also be a database at the website that tracks traffic and the interests of web visitors or a database that tracks donations and each donor’s contact information. There may be an address book or database in the email client that contains basic contact information. all donor activities and participant history can be viewed. The Concept of CRM Constituent relationship management is a technology tool that records significant interactions with constituents. CRM systems. and execute financial development efforts. Contact information can include data captured automatically via the Internet or entered manually by staff. CRM provides political organizations and fellow nonprofits with new views of the relationship between the organization and its constituents that is most easily achieved in a SaaS model. (For the majority of organizations. In addition. 1. participants and volunteers – all in a single. phone messages. But above all. CRM data is limited to sales and service information. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET cedures for collecting detailed information on each individual constituent.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. The most common type of data includes demographic. It all depends on an organization’s mission and goals. donations. plan. institute accountability measures for staff and keep track of all donor-related historical activities. Constituent relationship management systems are also frequently used to help organizations manage relationships with donors. and limited information. Information pertaining to donor demographics. this separation of data means lost opportunities. In addition. Organizations using CRM can store a common set of biographical. To include details provided in face-toface conversations. Constituent relationship management systems help organizations leverage collected information and manage relationships with contacts in an organized fashion. Other databases may track program-related information. greater inefficiencies. members. prospects. It helps nonprofits unite the online and offline experiences of constituents into a single view. robust CRM systems should utilize industry standard formats to help ease the database migration process. direct mail. Organizations are then better equipped to determine how to engage existing contacts and acquire new ones. custom information data sets. when implemented adroitly. The result is a sole contact/donor management system that meets the organization’s entire database needs and provides a comprehensive view of the relationship between a CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 71 . higher costs. This separation of data inevitably leads to data integrity issues. Although this information helps organizations better understand its constitu- CRM helps non-profit organizations • • • • • • Manage constituents Communicate with constituents Increase the number of constituents Maintain constituents Encourage behavior Develop an individual relationship with each constituent Some organizations may need to use all CRM features and some may only require the use a few. Building a Unified Database Organizations sometimes rely on multiple databases to track interactions with constituents. become the central nervous system of an effective organization and introduce a set of processes and procedures for collecting detailed information on each individual constituent. Donor management systems also help organizations set up. Complex processes automate the management of individuals within units (families and sponsors) and track interactions and relationships within and between units. historical or event-driven data. it is only a snapshot of constituent behavior.

Consider social networking and outreach tools. This fosters a sense of community among supporters and allows them to work together toward a shared goal. This also helps nonprofits recruit new volunteers throughout the year.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Let’s say Jane Doe is running for the House seat in her district. Volunteer management features help increase volunteer involvement and streamline volunteer-related management. volunteers. prospect management. Segmentation is the ability to “slice and dice” the database based on specified characteristics. These outlets allow members to recruit friends. CRM Applications for Specialized Needs A CRM system should include a set of features tailored for the multiple and varied ways in which supporters interact with the organization: 1. She knows exactly who shares her views on healthcare reform and who shares her view on land use. 2. This type of website activity is then tracked and leveraged in exciting new ways. It is commonly used to identify constituents within a specific geographic area or constituents of a certain age group. past volunteer activities. family members or colleagues by sharing the cause with their contacts. their friends and their friends’ friends are tracked in the nonprofit’s database. Managing Websites A CRM system seamlessly integrates with a CMS (content management system). she isn’t going to waste their time by sending information PAGE 72 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . By sharing content. Supporters are provided easy-to-use tools to build a personalized website. CRM enables nonprofits to gather and use this granular information. Member management features allow membership-based organizations to efficiently increase their membership base and donations through membership dues. Many CRM tools enable nonprofits to segment the database based on individual preferences and likes or dislikes. Prospect management enables nonprofit organizations to manage prospects through a solicitation and/or stewardship cycle. But as they continue to understand that disparate systems and information silos hinder growth – and recognize the organizational benefit of shared knowledge – demand for CRM will continue to grow. All actions taken by the advocate. drive the group to efficiently achieve advocacy and fundraising objectives while creating an extraordinary sense of accomplishment and commitment. and has gathered information such as phone number. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET constituent and the organization. She has a list of supporters in her CRM application. But Ms. such as bulletin boards and calendars. goals and a common set of data on a CRM system. thereby saving time and decreasing the chance of error. activists and nonprofit employees can dramatically enhance communications and community spirit. With 2. Organizations can help constituents become advocates by providing tools like email and Website communications. Since Ms. allowing for a backand-forth flow of information between the organization’s website and database. supporters. Additionally. It also makes it easier to marshal action for particular purposes and causes. and enhance image and goodwill in the community. This level of segmentation enables a nonprofit organization to communicate with constituents about things that are of interest to them. communications. address. Organizations need to show constituents that they know who they are and what they like. and so on. members are able to securely view and modify their membership profile and history. Changing database systems is a painful process for many nonprofit organizations. 4. The supporter soon invites friends to become members of his or her community. This information can then be used to send specific e-newsletters based on each constituent’s individual interests. These friends then register to receive additional information about the nonprofit. 3. nonprofits can create custom stages to suit each organization’s specific fundraising cycle and custom form fields so staff can input information on opportunities at each stage. Doe’s campaign assistant knows that half of her healthcare supporters don’t really care about land use policies. and registration processes. It is commonly used to identify constituents within a specific geographic area or constituents of a certain age group. Although these types of demographics are necessary. Interactive features. This feature helps decrease the need for manual entry. 3. which is vital to developing and maintaining relationships with constituents. Segmentation Segmentation is the ability to “slice and dice” the database based on specified characteristics. Nonprofit and advocacy websites typically have interactive components that enable constituents to interact with one another and the organization according to shared interests. Doe has gone a little deeper and knows which issues are the hot buttons for each constituent in her database. today’s environment requires organizations to know constituents in a more personalized way.

or any other combination of information. Therefore. This example demonstrates the effective use of CRM data and the power of such data to the organization and fundraiser. stronger bond with her healthcare supporters. the full picture of a supporter’s involvement with an organization does not end at a source code or clickthrough. Doe’s assistant reviewed data from the campaign’s Website. A social CRM system is designed to limit the amount of manual data entry. prospects. These supporters began to receive targeted information on Ms. CRM applications have long had the ability to add the first name of the recipient to an email blast.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Reporting tools provide organizations with email open rates. has a particular interest. 3. Remember. The full picture of a supporter’s involvement with an organization does not end at a source code or click-through. Ms. social CRM gives nonprofit organizations a better view of constituents that ultimately leads to better. Instead. nonprofits are able to determine whether a particular constituent signed up on the Web. what relationships they have with other supporters. nonprofit organizations are able to save time and money. nonprofit organizations are able to get the broad view of constituent interactions as well as the granular view. A CRM system should also provide quick macro views of advocacy campaigns and fundraising efforts. which initiative inspired the donor to click through to an article or web page. It is important to track this information to determine which specific messages led the constituent to open the email. Accruing more information directly from the supporter also leads to more thorough and accurate information. Ms. Enable personalized communication. Ms. Doe’s campaign had successfully used its social CRM system to convert prospective votes to definite votes. Doe has been able to demonstrate with these supporters that she listens to their concerns and has taken action on their behalf. 5. CRM. Benefits of CRM Constituent relationship management has a variety of uses. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET about something that won’t engage them. supporters and advocates. They provide both a granular view of constituent behavior as well as a landscape view. Over time. By communicating with constituents on issues that are of the most concern to them. clickthrough rates and length of time spent visiting a web page. By having data gathered from multiple sources and stored in a single location. Furthermore. how many supporters they have recruited on behalf of the organization and what messaging or appeals inspire them to act. Ms. By gathering constituent information from a variety of sources and storing it all in a single database. reporting that demonstrates constituent behavior after they click through is critical. This is the next level 2. Doe’s healthcare supporters had also clicked and viewed pages on land use issues. which web pages the constituent spent the most time reading and what they forwarded to their friends. Because CRM gathers information from different sources and places it in a single location. The inclusive reporting found in CRM systems gives nonprofits valuable data to increase the success of grassroots mobilization and fundraising efforts. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 73 . Unites front-end applications with back-end data applications. Doe grew her list of land use supporters by 25 percent based solely on her previous healthcare-only supporters. members. Provides a full view of constituent interactions. more relevant communication pieces. She has successfully created a deeper. Doe has been able to develop greater loyalty among her healthcare supporters. But how does CRM and its sophisticated sibling. CRM stores all supporter information an organization may need in one place. After two months of heavy campaigning. Knowing what works and what doesn’t work with each audience will allow organizations to refine and improve campaign results. she is going to communicate about the work she is doing on healthcare reform. was a friend of a volunteer and donated to a particular issue. With social CRM. The assistant found that almost half of Ms. Over the years it has evolved to become a tool to manage donors. A CRM system also includes reporting and analytical capabilities to measure and assess the success of constituent-based initiatives. Doe’s land use policies. CRM takes personalized communication to a new level. alter the way political organizations conduct fundraising campaigns and promote advocacy? 1. volunteers. Ms. reporting and analytics should offer information that will allow nonprofit organizations to identify who supporters interact with. Specifically. Reporting and Analytics Reporting and analytics are the back-end functions that demonstrate success and identify areas for improvement.

they are providing vital information to the organization. Because CRM enables nonprofits to gather information from multiple sources and store it in one location. make sure the solution allows supporters to drive offline networking and organizing. Many organizations rely on donations and gifts to survive.) Also. Personalization within a CRM system means that constituent communication is constituent-focused. 3. Taken in a CRM system. nonprofits get a more comprehensive understanding of their constituents. like CRM. What constituents “don’t do” is just as important as what they do. A good tip is to go back and look at old events and campaigns to determine areas where technology may have been helpful. reporting and analytics are just another function of CRM. and actions related to these two topics. What security practices does the vendor have in place? How can they ensure your data is secure? Make sure your SaaS vendor offers multiple data centers in commercial co-location facilities with state of the art monitoring. Nonprofits can leverage the power of highly involved supporters without having to incur high administrative costs. house parties. Web-based applications. this potential supporter will be more open to these messages and have PAGE 74 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . full data encryption and advanced virus protection. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET What should I look for in a CRM solution? 1. When constituents visit certain areas of a website or read one article but not another. reporting and analytics are the methods constituents use to communicate with an organization. For example. Does the CRM solution include applications tailored for your specific vertical or industry? For example. especially when you are looking at CRM for the first time. Is the system scalable? Will it be able to grow as your organization grows? It’s important to identify whether the vendor offers a comprehensive solution or whether the vendor is limited to just a few individual applications. 4. Fundraising A key goal of virtually all nonprofit organizations is to raise money to further their missions. is the vendor SAS 70 Type II and PCI compliant? 4. 2. Is the application accessible via the Internet? This characteristic is especially important for political campaign staffers who frequently travel. if you’re an advocacy organization. meetups or even virtual parties on a supporter’s personal activism page. With this information. but a delicate balance must be kept when spending money to make money. proposals. if a constituent visited the site of a candidate and they focused primarily on the pages that discussed the candidate’s stance on tax cuts and privacy laws. Therefore. How customizable is the solution? Can workflow be reconfigured to match. your organization’s processes? Will you be able to easily add and delete fields as your organization’s goals and objectives change? 6. This type of interactivity allows organizations to grow their network both online and offline. Chances are. such as tabling on college campuses. making fundraising a vital component in any nonprofit organization. Reporting and analytics. then fundraisers now know that these two issues are of high importance to this constituent. (This type of secure high-performance infrastructure would cost a nonprofit a fortune to replicate either in-house or off-site in a shared hosting facility. and whether a particular product delivers it. or help direct. Does it have the functionality you want and need? Will the solution allow you to do the types of things you expect? Sometimes it can be hard to determine what functionality you want. fundraisers can engage constituents based on their interests. 5. One of the most useful features in a CRM system is the ability to analyze and evaluate online behavior.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. nonprofits use a variety of tactics from events to enewsletters to help increase donated dollars. Subsequent communications will focus on the candidate’s speeches. provide staff with vital information no matter where they are. CRM plays a significant role in effective fundraising efforts. of personalization. Taken as is. Information about constituents based on their online behavior holds clues to help fundraisers determine the most appropriate method to approach a particular constituent. It is information that the constituent has shown is important to him/her.

Conclusion Technology has advanced from the stand-alone personal computer to the Internet age.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. A fundraiser can go to the CRM database and determine how much money each constituent has donated each year and to which campaigns. prospects. organizations can use tools like Friends Asking Friends® or forward to a friend. Perhaps someone not interested in the topic knows someone who is. advocacy is the key to inducing social change. organizations can tailor their stewardship efforts based on numerous factors. organizations can conduct multiple. Information gathered from these sources feeds directly into the CRM application where all constituent data is stored. Instead. Some CRM providers even include automatic wealth scoring and segmentation to help fundraisers determine appropriate “ask” amounts and increase fundraising results. It can be argued that there is no harm is mass mailing the entire database. accurate and thorough reports of supporter contributions. but a cost-effective application that even the smallest campaign can utilize. and other e-communications. CRM applications are now critical. However. CRM enables an organization to provide quick. online forms. events attended and members recruited to recognize key supporters. A mass solicitation may actually undermine an organization’s effort. Do you want to engage your constituents? Then watch what they do online. Once a luxury for nonprofits and businesses. Organizations can divide their CRM records by areas of interest and conduct advocacy efforts that are directly related to those groups. Similarly. and so too have CRM applications. Advocacy For many political organizations. Information about constituents based on their online behavior holds clues to help fundraisers determine the most appropriate method to approach a particular constituent. events. Today’s CRM applications have advanced to include a plethora of functionality and many organizations have been able to successfully use CRM applications designed specifically to manage advocates. these reports are an excellent tool to increase donor confidence and demonstrate in an open and responsible manner the proper management of donations. the tools necessary to develop relationships with constituents that will increase fundraising success. whether a political advocacy group or a campaign for election. Like many mature products. as discussed. In addition to data provided by Web analytics. These other efforts may include more time on The Hill lobbying for a bill or reform. constituents become more invested in those organizations that connect with them as individuals and not one of the masses. Organizations are able to harness the deep emotions of a select group of constituents to increase the effectiveness of advocacy. CRM helps nonprofit organizations increase fundraising success in a number of ways. In today’s landscape. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET a positive feeling associated with the candidate – and hopefully show it with a vote or donation. CRM is no longer a luxury only large organizations can afford. some recipients. volunteers and event participants. and use the power of viral marketing to increase advocacy results. There is no arguing the truth: people are more likely to give to those organizations with which they feel a sense of belonging and trust. organizations are free to give more time to other efforts or activities that support the current initiatives. Even with the best intentions. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 75 . fundraisers can also gather data from e-newsletters. As odd as it may sound. donors. Once the initial solicitation is set and the website updated. Since CRM has become an affordable necessity. CRM actually enables political advocacy organizations to advocate more. will feel that their time is being wasted by something they don’t care about. The ability to segment databases based on constituents’ interests is quite useful for political advocacy groups. organizations may be able to increase advocacy by sending more specific invitations to fewer constituents. the organization can assess factors such as advocacy actions taken. resulting in much higher affinity among supporters. Fundraisers are able to determine which constituents are most likely to give based on past giving and identified interests. This gives nonprofit organizations. Rather than focusing solely on the number and amount of an individual’s donations. There is no arguing the truth: people are more likely to give to those organizations with which they feel a sense of belonging and trust. no matter how considerate they are. because CRM allows a holistic view of the constituent relationship. and CRM is the foundation that bolsters successful advocacy campaigns. Additionally. volunteer efforts completed. targeted advocacy campaigns simultaneously.

Businesses have been using CRM to build and maintain customer relationships for years.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET political organizations must jump on the CRM bandwagon. CRM provides the means to capture the totality of the constituent relationship. This methodology is vital for political organizations that seek to encourage constituents to act. The advanced tools available in today’s SaaS CRM solutions have enabled nonprofit organizations to create twoway communications between the organization and its constituents. vote. advocate or volunteer. and to communicate the importance of the relationship to the constituent. PAGE 76 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS .

pdf. Moreover. well. This means what when you are looking for activists who will advance your cause or candidate. why they are so important. respectively. DC: The Institute for Politics. and get out and vote on Election Day? And here’s the deceptively simple answer: find the Influentials. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET people who visit online news sites. and at the people who read and post comments to political blogs. In fact 69 percent of online political activists are Influentials. However. and particularly the ones who are politically active. IPDI’s study. how to target them. Influentials™ are the “one in ten Americans” who “tell the other nine what to buy. who to vote for and where to eat. the mad and the lonely” and showed that the opposite is true: Online political activists are more likely to be active in local civic and political affairs than their neighbors. Ten percent of the general adult population falls into this category. active than others. check out Online Political Citizens in the 2004 Campaign. according to a study conducted by IPDI in 2004. To cut to the chase.37 challenged the stereotype of online activists as “the sad. according to a study conducted by IPDI in 2004. of RoperASW. civically and politically. In other words.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Some activists are more. attendance at your events. 36 Ed Keller and Jon Berry. 37 Joe Graf and Carol Darr. volunteer. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 17 Finding the Political Influentials in Your Database (Tip: They’re hiding in plain sight) CAROL DARR INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. promote your cause or candidate. and how to mobilize them. Democracy & the Internet conducted a groundbreaking study that demonstrated that people who actively participated in presidential politics over the Internet were seven times more likely to belong to an elite cohort of local opinion leaders called “Influentials™” than the general adult population. You’re right. Political Influentials Online in the 2004 Presidential Campaign (Washington. the then-CEO and VP for Research. the Internet skims off the cream of the ten percent of the general population who are Influentials. So here’s the question: How do you identify the people on your list likely to be the most active – the individuals who will donate. they are more likely to donate.” and tend to be three to five years ahead of social and political trends. As you assemble a database from your various lists. they tend to congregate online.ipdi. Political Influentials Online in the 2004 Presidential Campaign. look online – at the people who are coming to your website. of course. because Influentials are news junkies and political junkies. According to them. here’s a summary: Influentials are the people who are active. The Influentials™. book jacket. The Influentials (New York: The Free Press. Influentials™ exert a “multiplier effect” on the public at large.36 by Ed Keller and Jon Berry.org/ UploadedFiles/influentials_ in_2004. Not all people are equally important to a political organization or an issue advocacy group. your peeps. And pay particular attention to the people who have already demonstrated an interest in your candidate or cause through their donations. The purpose of this chapter is to explain who these Online Political Influentials are. more likely to volunteer and more likely to engage in word of mouth advocacy of causes and candidates they favor. 2004). For more information. or by signing up for your newsletter. 2003). especially the subset of them who are politically active online. in their local communities. GW’s Institute for Politics. Influentials? Who Are these People? In 2003. available for download at http://www. and concentrates them online. are “canaries in the mineshaft for looming political ideas. the thought no doubt occurs to you: The names of some of these activists are more valuable than others. They are your Influentials. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 77 .” according to the book. at the 69 percent of online political activists are Influentials. Democracy & the Internet.

They possess both the desire and ability to make a contribution to society through both traditional and nontraditional means. 16. Moreover. whether it’s commercial marketing or political marketing. RoperASW has devised a set of eleven questions. they are the ones that spread the word about causes and candidates. 40 Keller and Berry. They stay abreast of news and current events. As more Americans get broadband coverage to their homes. neighbors and family to get things done. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET How to recognize them Influential Americans™ serve as opinion leaders in virtually all aspects of their lives. and they tend to be 3-5 years ahead of their peers in terms of trends. Here’s another way to spot Influentials.) The other thing about Influentials is that they tend to know other Influentials. but their involvement in civic and political affairs is the common denominator. they continually seek out information to satisfy their active minds and diverse interests. joiners. they serve as a force multiplier. surely it’s obvious.”38 Moreover. etc. They are the kinds of people who seem to know everybody – and if they don’t. Influentials are highly connected activists and joiners. they know somebody who does.”40 according to Ed Keller and Jon Berry. participate in twice as many groups as average Americans. and being activists. but when they decide to embrace a cause or purchase a device or gadget. participation in three of which qualifies a person as an influential. people listen. Often they are mavericks. and in IPDI’s study. The Internet is becoming another communications tool – albeit the 39 Graf and Darr. For these reasons. is their activist orientation to life. and they use technology like the Internet and mobile devices to communicate and keep up with the news. Influentials are hard-working. formerly with RoperASW. insightful news articles. outrageous little videos. These questions can be found in the book The Influentials. the distinction between online and offline activism will continue to blur. however. and they are connected. 39. PAGE 78 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . They are particularly knowledgeable about politics. And when they promote a cause or a candidate. (So a good way to recognize Influentials among your own friends is to pay attention to those who send you emails they think will interest you – funny lists and cartoons. So when you tap into the network of an Influential. Think about it. Why are they so important? At this point. and they are asked their opinion on politics more than on any other topic.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. They know more people. read newspapers online. online political Influentials are over four times more likely than the general public to have donated money to a political candidate. and over seven times more likely to have worked for a political party. They are the ones that spread the word about what they like and dislike. In politics. however. 14. the church choir or the local chapter of your favorite cause. and that shines through in both their office and leisure time. They are the holy grail of marketing. In short. they put their money and their time where their mouth is. energetic individuals who balance families with careers. What most identifies Influential Americans. What most identifies Influential Americans. at page 16. Political Influentials Online in the 2004 Presidential Campaign. multiplying the number of people who hear it. According to IPDI’s study. or the Rotary Club. Their common denominator is their involvement in civic and political affairs – two areas in which they want to make a difference. hence the Internet is their lifeline. They are not out networking with couch potatoes! They’re interacting with other networkers.39 What Are Their Unique Characteristics We’ve already touched on several characteristics: Influentials are opinionated. join community groups and professional organizations. whether by working within mainstream political parties or by joining independent groups. and have strong ties to those groups. and doers. and now principals in the Keller Fay Group. is their activist orientation to life. Influentials are more likely to forward emails than other people. They are also trendsetters. Influentials are strategically placed transmitters that amplify the signals. “They are involved in life in the broadest sense. you should take it as a good sign that the idea or technology is about to go mainstream. So they wield a powerful megaphone. Influentials are also knowledgeable. And they tend to have social and professional networks of friends and colleagues that are twice as big as the average person. They are not usually the earliest adopters of new ideas and new technologies. you’re tapping into interlocking circles of the active people who run things. 38 Keller and Berry. “If word of mouth is like a radio signal broadcast over the country. and utilize their large network of friends. Influentials are active online and offline. whether it’s the PTA. 17.

• Tell them what you need. don’t get. and take advantage of their strong ties to their communities: They are activists. document. blogs. so help them lead. available at www. paid dues or made a contribution to these organizations are often available for purchase from commercial list brokers.41 As you collect information. They are news junkies. Putting Online Influentials to Work for Your Campaign. For example. or better yet. organizing and leading. cat fanciers – anyone who has show concern for the well-being of animals. and while it has obvious privacy implications that should be clearly set forth in your privacy policy. say. save-the-whales types. A study that IPDI is currently conducting will attempt to answer the question. 2004) 5.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Instead there are lots of smaller lists. of. • Influentials are the kind of people who write letters to the editor and call into radio and 42 Carol Darr. foreign affairs. About half of Influentials are politically active. a white. say. document. Identify the people who help you the most. So document. They are opinionated. so build an online community. The trick is to find people who are actively involved in the issue you are advocating – or an issue similar to it. keep adding it to the file. • Post news stories on your Website. online. This is a little more difficult. stated from the opposite perspective: Don’t ask. Finding Your Influentials – Your Peeps Where to look? Start with the people already on your list. and if I were doing an email outreach to solicit new members. one size may not fit all. so feed their habit.42 identified five ways to capture the Influentials’ energy and enthusiasm for politics. it provides an important indication of who your Influentials are. urban African American man who is very influential among his friends and colleagues. The names of people who have signed up for. so make a clear request. I would try to find lists of dog owners. including social networking websites like MySpace or Facebook. Pretty soon your Influentials will. The habits. so give them a microphone. Who forwards your email? Software exists that can track this activity. • Create an organizational blog so that they can communicate with each other. cast your net for new ones. attitudes and manner of political involvement 41 Graf and Darr. mark it down in the file. high school educated baby boomer who is extremely influential in her rural community are likely to differ from those of . and link from my profile back to my own site where people could find more information. 27. How did they make it? – by snail mail. Who has made a donation? Make a note of it. Putting Online Influentials to Work for Your Campaign (Washington.ipdi. Is There a Subset of Political Influentials? Yes. They are joiners and networkers. ask them to sign up to a permissionbased list serv that distributes relevant news updates. Stay tuned! How Do You Motivate Them to Work for You? IPDI’s earlier publication. Julie Barko and Brandon Robinson. While you are identifying the Influentials already on your list. like cream. Because that’s one of the things that Influentials do: they forward email to their friends and colleagues. • Take advantage of their social and professional networks by emailing them information that they can forward to their friends and colleagues. Better yet. They are used to participating. a highly educated. you won’t know who they are unless you keep careful records. Democracy & the Internet. or over the phone? Again. And what motivates one group of activists may not motivate another group. • Provide links to other news sources. how do the various cohorts differ? The new “Poli-fluentials” study will be published in late spring of 2007. There is no master list of Influentials. But the animal lovers of the world that constitute PETA’s Influentials are not necessarily interested in. and provide specific directions. say. • Ask for their help. And among that half. I’d also purchase advertising on blogs with similar interests. DC: Institute for Politics. • Form online communities around key issues and constituencies. Take advantage of preexisting online communities on blogs and social networking sites. Those Influentials will congregate in other places and thus require a different focus. if I were running People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).org/publications CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 79 . four times more often than do average Americans. But even though they may be hiding in plain sight. Or. etc. I would find websites where these people congregate. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET most important one – that helps them stay connected to their friends and colleagues. I’d use these lists. start floating to the top.

and that complicated. Provide a link to the radio station’s URL. Think of the Influentials in your database as the flecks of silver and gold in your bucket of sand. thereby demonstrating that you appreciate their precious and limited time. motivating and mobilizing them. For example. post the times and the station’s call letters. so make it easy. and provide telephone numbers and the names of the hosts of the show. and MOST IMPORTANTLY. if you want them to call into a radio talk show. It’s that easy. they are busy. PAGE 80 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . and give them some suggestions about getting on the show and some talking points. sourced background information and concrete talking points. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET TV talk shows. Help them articulate their views with solid. cultivating.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Then spend time identifying. Finally. • Do the grunt work for them.

designed specifically to meet the needs of advocacy. Maybe they throw together a rudimentary Microsoft Access database to keep their address books. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 18 If the Shoe Fits: Finding an Open Source CRM Solution for Political Nonprofits DAVE GREENBERG CIVICRM all. they can create multi-directional communications that range from blogging to online @ CiviCRM is the first open source and freely downloadable constituent relationship management solution. There are significant differences in the ways that political campaigns.civicrm. and a whole range of other critical interactions? This was the goal we set for ourselves when we started to design and build CiviCRM. volunteers.org Sometimes an out-of-the-box solution simply won’t do – especially when it comes to CRM. and service-based non-profits operate. Spreadsheets disappear and years of organizational intelligence and organizing can be lost. advocacy groups. The non-profit world has a tradition of using too much paper. This chapter looks at developing a CRM system for international organizations and non-profits. It’s time for a better system. the United States). a standard solution isn’t a solution at CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 81 . This happens more often than people realize in the non-profit world. The reason is a simple one: you are unique. but for many organizations. advocacy groups. One of the unexpected first lessons we learned was that having a constituent relationship management system or application hosted within a content management system (CMS) had a lot of benefits. many nonprofits use 3 x5 cards or an Excel spreadsheet. Perhaps it’s even happened to you. it can reduce the burden of data entry on the organization by transferring responsibility for maintaining current and accurate contact information to your constituents. non-governmental space that is fully international and localizable from the moment you open the box? Most affordable CRM tools are not designed for this space. Those boundaries are blurring. memberships. and service-based non-profits operate. Those boundaries are blurring. reliable. responses to newsletters and other communications. For more information. events. Instead of tracking donors. Increasingly. Third. Most of us consider a database and a website to be two different things. Look for solutions that combine CRM with your website’s content management system. non-profit and nongovernmental groups. etc. Content management systems like Drupal aren’t just about publishing content. There are significant differences in the ways that political campaigns. How do you create a system that allows organizations to track and solicit donations. Or maybe they just use Outlook as an address book. easy to navigate database. – and your entire data program falls apart. visit www. your entire supporter or donor outreach program becomes vulnerable and. completely dies. However. International organizations that use their databases to handle contacts across geo-political borders should not have to settle for a single-language based system that only focuses on one country (usually. and constituents in a safe. program officers. volunteer skills. synchronizing the CRM system on one side and the website on the other allows you to host constituent information online and then selectively enrich it through interactions that happen online. a standard solution isn’t a solution at all. These kinds of castle walls have cracks. A content-rich interactive website becomes a place for constituents and staff to collaborate in the work of the organization – and a powerful tool for the organization to extend its reach. but for many organizations. How do you design an Open Source CRM solution for the non-profit. all it takes is the removal of one block – a staffer leaving the organization. Second. and when they crumble. a computer virus. it leads to creative communication that actually strengthens your community. constituent contact info and preferences.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. in some cases. Sometimes.

while other countries write their dates as day/month/year). your CMS (website content management system) and CRM (constituent relationship management) work as a team. event registration. not just people who sit in your office. PAGE 82 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . address formats. it may be difficult to find a programmer who can speak the languages of each country you work in well enough to create a system that responds to surnames in Arabic or streets in South Korea. If your organization operates outside of the United States. It allows the organization to track how often someone volunteers and his or her strengths. Sometimes your website also needs to be navigable in other languages. Brazil. likes. find a system that can speak all your languages. If you’re an international organization. you might consider placing a notice on your Website saying. Any time each of these transactional interactions occurs with somebody in your constituent base.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Most of us consider a database and a Website to be two different things. You can potentially share the cost and effort of translating the software with other organizations and institutions in your region. synchronizing the CRM system on one side and the Website on the other allows you to host constituent information online and then selectively enrich it through interactions that happen online For example. manage and organize a wide variety of content on a website. If you work in other countries. then you need a CRM program that works just as well in Spain. Next month. In short. After all. But a multi-lingual site doesn’t end with the translation of a few articles or documents. a software package that allows an individual or a community of users to publish. then the system records those hours and generates a thank you note. However.” If someone signs up who is not already in your constituent database. It’s not an easy thing to find: developers face many challenges in developing this type of program. Synchronization builds intelligence and history about your whole community into your database. you can end up with usability problems or even discrepancies in your database. we typically write our addresses as month/day/year. When this volunteer actually serves her time. that interaction becomes part of your CRM. then you should consider some of the following elements before you select a CRM program: • How many countries do you work in? How many languages? • Are the form labels and choices on the sign-up and donation pages of your website easily translatable? • Do the people you serve write their dates differently? • Are addresses written differently in the countries you serve? • Do you need to use a character set other than the Roman alphabet? • Do you need support for multiple currencies? This is an area where an Open Source program has many advantages: you can open up the development and translation process to people around the world. In other words. The trick is synchronization.org/. or the office of your CRM developer. then that person is immediately added and a follow-up message with instructions is immediately generated. when you’re looking for a volunteer to serve as event organizer. “Please sign up here. The need to be multilingual isn’t just a characteristic of your CRM. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET forums to wiki’s for community-contributed content. then all of these technical issues should be broached during your evaluation process. if your organization needs volunteers for a fundraiser next week. Currency is also an issue. You don’t need a backroom full of staffers or volunteers taking information from 3x5 cards and plugging it into a PC. and Poland as it does in the United States. Otherwise. Other language issues include things like date formats (in the United States. visit http://drupal. and character sets. content management systems aren’t just about posting articles on your site anymore. surveys and more to this mix. Make sure the form labels and form choices on your sign-up and donation pages are easily translatable. membership and volunteer signups. If you’re an international organization. Depending on your organization’s scope you may need a program that supports multiple currencies and currency formatting. For more information. you know exactly who to turn to. What is Drupal? Drupal is a free content management system (CMS). and dislikes. An integrated CRM system allows you to add constituent profiles. Many languages don’t use the Roman alphabet.

the homeless. In particular. with that donor. You need a platform that resembles a Craftsman toolbox – which has the flexibility to model a wide variety of data and transactions. the nonprofit brainstormed some of the fields that they wanted to include on each of their CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 83 . Find a solution that treats your constituents like constituents. People use technology differently in different countries. The community of users for an opensource platform can often be a good resource during this process. All his or her contact information is recorded. Search for missing person and unidentified person details The Plan The nonprofit needed a customized CRM system. Let’s start with CRM terminology. and why. You need a system simple enough to allow you to view who donates. I worked with the nonprofit to help them customize the CiviCRM platform and synchronize it with their Drupal-hosted Website. you can potentially share the cost and effort of translating the software with other organizations and institutions in your region. Anytime somebody donates on your website. and children from foster families. such as phone calls and faceto-face visits. By contrast. Case Study I recently worked with a nonprofit organization that helps families finding missing people who suffer from mental illness or substance abuse. and they didn’t have the in-house staff to do it. feel comfortable enough searching and analyzing the data to make good decisions. the end user. Non-profits who use CRM software must define what their transactions are. This means evaluating your existing work-flows and the data currently being stored to determine what’s working and what’s not. By choosing an Open Source solution. Think about your donors. Broadband-connected desktop computers may be quite prevalent among constituents of an environmental advocacy organization in the United States – making e-newsletters a great medium for communication.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Different parts of the world have different levels and types of technology penetration. Look for a system that allows you to incorporate all of these things into one database and potentially allows you to create visual presentations (charts and graphs) to help you better understand your donor base. it wanted to allow users to: 1. and who their constituents are in an open way. so reach them appropriately. engaging a professional service organization which specializes in database and work-flow design for non-profits can also help ensure that you get off on the right foot. when. You can try to squeeze a round peg into this square hole. not like customers. what the interactions are. This will help them decide how to track their communications and search their databases. Instead of working with companies and buyers. log offline communications. the nonprofit wanted to implement an Open Source CRM system called CiviCRM to synchronize data from its Website. he or she becomes part of the database. Classic CRM systems focus narrowly on the salesman/customer relationship. which in turn helps make sure that we can continually improve our support for locale-specific needs. First. This type of facility is proving to be a powerful means of propagating the software into multiple languages. but it might not always work for your constituents. transactions in the non-profit space range from obtaining volunteers for an event to getting people to donate to distributing services. households and organizations. If budgets allow. Goals In 2006. and where necessary. CRM platforms need to begin incorporating these modalities in order to stay relevant to these diverse needs. but complex enough to show details. The kinds of transactions that occur in non-profits are not limited to a phone call that leads to a sale that leads to an invoice. you need to devote the time and resources to planning your CRM implementation. how much. Submit a missing person form 2. All the data in the world is useless unless you. Even more importantly. organizations in third world countries (as well as organizations who target youth) increasingly rely on cell phones and text messaging to reach their audiences. Submit an unidentified person form (law enforcement and/or forensic investigator submit an unidentified form in the hopes that the public can help make an identification) 3. you’re working with individuals. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET The CiviCRM project provides an online tool for collaborative translations which requires a minimum of technical skills to use. However. such as which programs he or she cares most about. Look for a system that makes it easy for the end user (you) to generate reports.

Email Submitter Relationship Law enforcement agency Investigator Case classification Additional case details I supplemented the already created CiviCRM Profile with additional custom data fields that I created myself. Address. Do you want the information contained in this field to be viewable on your Website? d. Let’s use the additional location fields as an example. I compared those fields to the field names already included in CiviCRM’s standard data platform. Is this field required? b. Phone. The beauty of an Open Source solution is that you get to build on the work of others. then chances are good that it already has its own family – an active community of developers just like you. a nonprofit staff volunteer reviews and sorts it by placing it into several groups all contained in the CRM program: approved. If you choose an Open Source solution. Who can view this field once it is in your database? Who can edit this field? c. 4. work.” I then clicked the “Enabled” box and “Default. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET Web forms. The customizing is your job. do you want to give people who visit your site the ability to search for information PAGE 84 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . 2. such as location types. 3. where adapted from CiviCRM’s existing address fields. I clicked on New Location Type and entered “Submitter Location” in the box following Enter Name. Build on an existing system. I started on the CiviCRM profile and custom data page and clicked on Go to Location types (home. or an agency submits an unidentified person form. etc. Especially if you decide to create fields on your own. which include submitting a missing person and an unidentified person report.” When a user submits a missing person form. When building Web forms that you want to synchronize into your database. but many people can walk through the steps with a little support. Many of them may know the answers to your questions. Ask for help. Always save your work. Some of the fields. like CiviCRM. I clicked on vCard and added the description: “Person submitting form. birthmarks Medical conditions Clothing and Jewelry DNA sample available Dental Records Available Fingerprints available Contact Name. Email Submitter Name. Lessons learned 1.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. phone. ask the following questions ahead of time: a. The process wasn’t too difficult. If so.). That means that much of the programming work is already down for you. rejected or pending. do you want these fields to be searchable from your Website? That is. I then created custom data fields for all new areas: Standard CiviCRM Data First name Last name Birth date Gender New Fields Created for the Nonprofit Date of disappearance City/last known location City/location missing from Age at disappearance Height Weight (lbs) Hair Color/ Style Eye Color Race Aliases Distinguishing characteristics scars.

The Civic Fish Ladder When talking about prompting people to civic action I like to use the analogy of a fish ladder. Thank you all for coming. are very few examples of organizations that provide a place for members to become part of a true force for advocacy and messaging for the organization’s causes. and “Who We Are” pages with smiling headshots and bios.” filled to the brim with static content: mission statements. non-interactive site is quickly becoming unacceptable to the growing number of members who demand to be included in more ways than a semi-annual direct mail campaign asking for donations. With a clear set of objectives for your website. however. I’m sure the parallels between the critical life cycle of salmon and the equally important role of civic action in our society will not be lost on advocacy and political organization leaders. such as signing up for an email list.com. @ Advomatic builds Internet infrastructure for progressive political. grassroots and arts communities. watching salmon returning to Lake Washington from the Pacific Ocean to spawn. For more information. Too little and the fish cannot determine which direction to swim. you can help guide your members to action on behalf of your organization. collect valuable demographics from them. The most action they may be taking is the act of voting.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. downloadable PDFs.advomatic. until they reach the top and can continue on their way. and some new ways of structuring features. Here are some brochures. It is partly also due to the failure of many to look at what prompts a person to participate in the various levels of civic action. our goal is to help our constituents take their first jumps into the lowest pool and prepare them for the next jump – usually something very simple. people will become bored and fail to continue to move up the ladder. visit www. all while collecting the information you need without turning off supporters with scary datacollection forms. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 85 . For membership-based organizations and advocacy groups however. Signing up for their email list is a very small action that doesn’t take too much time. This type of site serves a basic purpose: to have a presence on the Internet for visitors to get information and establish a certain amount of legitimacy. This analogy applies strangely well to encouraging civic action and participation with people at almost any level of engagement. The solution to this problem is a set of ascending pools of water alongside the man-made obstruction that the fish can use to jump up. Interestingly enough. they realized that they had to provide some way for the fish to return or they would quickly die out. They might only glance at newspaper headlines or not pay attention to politics at all. All of MoveOn’s little jumps move upward from there. and avoid triggering common negative reactions to data collection? With a website that supports your constituent relationship management program. Now please leave. Beyond this. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 19 Your Website Is an Interaction Tool AARON WELCH ADVOMATIC mostly to feed the email list. In response to the growing role of online activism in our culture. Some have more sophisticated tools like online petitions and “send to a friend” features that serve MoveOn provides a great illustration of possible first levels of civic participation. Almost all the major membership organizations have online donations. too much and the fish become exhausted and unable to swim upstream any longer. organizational websites are “brochure-ware. disengaged population group that is functionally at the bottom of the ladder. this type of flat. Without some counter-current. As people began to dam and block the river ways that fish use to spawn. This analogy takes me back to my childhood in Seattle. The reason for this is partly because this level of participation is a fairly new dynamic between membership organizations and their members. In many cases. As political consultants and issue advocates. How do you promote deeper participation from your web membership. You might not be ready to take the next jump. a fish ladder will only work when the correct amount of counter-current is present. Members have begun to do more to promote the cause of their organizations than send checks and receive updates. one-by-one. but you are interested in staying informed. membership sign-ups and email lists. many organizations have made some progress towards fostering member participation. At the lowest level of civic engagement is a large.

comment on our blog. then some of my supporters probably already congregate somewhere online. MoveOn sends gigantic blast email campaigns in an attempt to prompt even a small fraction of its list membership to take action. First. What can we do to prompt real-life action to help get the campaign’s message out into our supporters’ communities and start filling our ladder’s first pool with new supporters? A lot of organizations take the shotgun approach and blast their visitors in the face with features. They are registered to vote and will most likely donate The perfect fish ladder for any organization ultimately depends on the specifics of the organization and its membership. invite their friends to sign up and identify our candidate as their choice.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. even if it is small. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET For example. Determining what pool your members are in. You need to know what you want to get from your site first and then determine which features will help you accomplish those goals. active membership the organization should ensure that there are people at all levels of participation. They may even go on other blogs and talk about how fantastic the candidate is. Further. how are you going to know what you want them to do? Build a road map. No one wants to be alone on the road toward greater civic participation. if you want to feed your party. we know our supporters are already as active as we need them to be online. and turn out at the polls to vote for our candidate. As political consultants and issue advocates. In order to build a better site. your online supporters may be too confused to continue. For a healthy. but how does one move from signing up on an email list to collaboratively authoring content on a wiki? When presented with so many options and no clear direction for my level of exposure and buy-in. they jump into the next pool of civic participation. First. Once people have signed onto their email list. When people make that call. Or. To continue with my previous example. at first. If I run a campaign for federal office. They are probably very well informed about the issues. Otherwise. Comparatively. from signing up for emails to running for office or working on a campaign. They have already made their way up a few steps on my fish ladder. if I have been courting them correctly online. You can use this same theory. a political campaign has much different goals. As a campaign. and what the steps are in between is critical to growing the population in the top pools of your fish ladder. we can make a lot of assumptions about what these people are willing to do in terms of spending time and energy supporting the campaign. More often than not. determine what the targeted level of participation is for all types of members: newcomers. then you PAGE 86 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . you do it one bite at a time. watch my videos. Building the Fish Ladder: A Working Example The perfect fish ladder for any organization ultimately depends on the specifics of the organization and its membership. All of the features listed above are perfectly valid tools. to use another metaphor. current supporters and even donors. what level you want them to be. with a well-defined set of steps towards greater participation will always yield better results. If the campaign is for a Democratic candidate. then I already have a community of people who read my website. our goal is to help our constituents take their first jumps into the lowest pool and prepare them for the next jump – usually something very simple. hoping that they will take advantage of some of them to achieve some possibly ill-defined goal. they lose many supporters along the way paved with WIKI! FORUMS! BLOG! TAKE ACTION! DONATE! ENGAGE! PLEASE SIGN UP FOR OUR EMAIL LIST FOR WEEKLY UPDATES! A focused plan. MoveOn casts an extremely wide net. then most of our core supporters are probably already on MoveOn. MoveOn might send out a call to action that asks its members to call their congressmen about an issue. Anyone who pays any attention to politics is a potential email registrant. They know our background. and the net effect is still enormous. and maybe post comments on my blog. If your end goal is to build a blog that contains all of your deepest thoughts. All this information is valuable in determining what steps the campaign’s fish ladder should contain. They are committed and have a great sense of identity around the campaign and candidate. you have to know where your audience is and where you want them to end up. The next step on the fish ladder is the holy grail of a political campaign’s web campaign: real-life action. Some people will stop at a certain point – a comfort zone – and that’s fine. They advocate for us on other websites. such as signing up for an email list. The fish ladder metaphor works all the way up the ladder of civic participation.

you have to know where your audience is and where you want them to end up. perhaps to help bring people to campaign stops and speeches. supporters and advocates online we have to know what their concerns and demographics are.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. These visitors need a much lower step to jump up to. Indeed. One way to do this is to create features that allow the forming of local groups. and provide campaign provided talking points. talk to other supporters in their communities. Make them field captains and give them responsibilities. One of the reasons why MySpace is so popular is the way it allows people to find friends. and the right amount of counter-current so they know the right way to go. I may even want to get together for coffee or engage in some civic action in my community with these very strangers.com and Howard Dean’s presidential campaign in early 2003. Knowing what is important to your members affects everything from the blog posts on the homepage to direct mail campaigns. you want to mobilize a massive get-out-the-vote effort. You probably don’t have to worry about learning much about your readers. The primary reason your blog has readership and your campaign has a community of supporters are the common interests that your candidate or values represent. You do this by helping them build relationships with each other. where are you going? Wait. promote your most active supporters up the next step of the ladder. friends of their friends. The dedicated supporters could be utilized to bring buttons and bumper stickers to hand out. Pick up the wrong side of an issue and you can bleed support and traffic. Balancing-act: Welcome visitor! Give me all your information. People go back to MySpace to establish relationships with other people and to see how they fit-in with their peers. MySpace. such as helping with meetings or leading small groups of supporters. speeches and public appearances. The other attractive characteristic of MySpace is the pictures. what they care about. trusted points of contact that your organization can use to organize attendance at rallies. We call this group “drive-bys” – visitors who come to your site for information. It also provided a way for those who were just curious about the campaign to meet. then you need to be able to call on local groups to do targeted tasks as needed. Before you begin. Once Meetup. I may even want to get together for coffee or engage in some civic action in my community with these very strangers. No one has ever said. “I’d really like to find a group of strangers who have nothing to do with me or anything I’m interested in. why they came to your site. Indeed. or to write and call local media outlets to combat some negative press. pick up the right one and you will benefit from swarms of cross-posts and new supporters. Photos provide a “see what you missed?” teaser. and it is certainly not how a federal campaign becomes successful. How do you encourage your core online community activists to talk to each other and their neighbors? A great example of this is Meetup. Next. These field captains can also serve as local. allow your stalwart supporters to declare themselves the as captains and organizers and give them something more to do. which prompts the visitor to click links for more information or to sign up for events. however. They provide a great foundation.” Finally. This was a perfect way to foster several levels of participation. Consider one of the most popular websites on the Internet today. If. Just put a blog up with comments. collect contact information of other meetup-goers. traditional methods of collecting the information are often the first barrier to participa- CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 87 . In order to best utilize and support members.com was offered to supporters as a tool to organize meetings in real life the campaign really took off. then you need a completely different road map and a completely different way of knowing and engaging your supporters. Unfortunately. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET don’t have much work ahead. In order to build a better site. If you want to accomplish a similar goal. Thousands of supporters had signed up on the Dean email list and were actively donating money and time online. “I’d really like to find a group of strangers who have nothing to do with me or anything I’m interested in. Wait.” That’s not how MySpace coalesces. No one has ever said. online chapters or small sub-organizations – another step up the ladder. and eventually move up the ladder to become advocates themselves. You also need to attract new supporters by providing steps for them on your website. don’t forget one of the most important elements: knowing your supporters. Who they are. and strangers with common interests.

online games or polls. then we can infer that that person is romantically interested in the other person’s profile. present your website content in a meaningful way. Start small and watch how your supporters use your website. all the statistics. . Look at some of the most popular social networking sites. One of the things that makes these sites so popular is their ability to provide ways for people to find other connections and common interests within the site member- ship. demographics and features in the world will not provide the ultimate online community of your dreams. Instead of investing all your time in a signup form. a doorto-door canvasser. if we provide a way for members to raise money and compete with other members. then pay attention to what they do on your website. but spends most of her time reading articles on homeland security.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Consider yet another way that your supporters communicate with you. Likewise. For example. Conclusion In the end. For example. activities on your Website. many will simply leave. even after spending the time to fill out the entire form. When faced with a lengthy information submission form. if someone visits the same profile on a dating site five times in one week. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET tion a potential new supporter faces. mouse hovering over the submit button. I personally have found myself frozen. Nine times of ten. and equally important. It doesn’t matter if the information you collect comes from a form. I close the browser instead of submitting the form. filled with requests for personal information. will inform all subsequent decisions. Activity patterns and interests are just as important as demographics – if not more so. what you expect them to get from you. It’s all about monitoring how people interact with your online face – your website – and changing your tactics accordingly. if someone says that her biggest political issue is abortion. such as MySpace and LinkedIn. you can also use browsing behavior to instruct you as to what that user’s interests are without asking them explicitly. then many people will be more willing to engage if the spirit of competition. Additionally. Peer pressure is also an excellent tool to get people to provide additional information and jump to higher levels of engagement. then you can assume that homeland security is also a big issue for her. If you want to know your supporters. PAGE 88 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . For membership and advocacy based websites the balance between the collection of demographics and low barrier of entry is most critical. When faced with a lengthy information submission form. filled with requests for personal information. I doubt this is unusual behavior. Notice that most of the data collection occurs after the sign-up process. and provide a public way to display these results. These things allow people to classify themselves in a more interesting way and provide a more rounded view of the individual. A good outline of what you expect to get from your relationship with your online membership. many will simply leave your website.

These are kids. They are very engaged in the cause. What can a nonprofit do when the heart of organization infrastructure – a CRM database – is unaffordably beyond reach? If this sounds like your problem. and most nonprofits can’t afford that. You need to know who gave you money last year. They are average folks who need a tool that works with the intuitive ease of a Yahoo! email account. What can a nonprofit do when the heart of organization infrastructure – a CRM database – is unaffordably beyond reach? Regardless of the size of your organization. In other words.000 to customize an open source application. so you can engage them in your cause and. Picture a small civic organization planning a creek cleanup. The next layer of knowledge is learning more about the people CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 89 . You need something different. similar organization and take advantage of the investments those that came before them have made. Their total budget is $700 a year. An open source resource like CiviCRM is used by over 4. Smaller organizations can then access the programming that went into that expensive system and adapt it for their own use. The kids at City Creek Cleanup should look for a flexible program that allows them to do what they need to do. For example. Even though they are an all-volunteer organization. but you have a lot in common with other groups.000 or less in development. so you can ask them again for money this year. one thing is certain: you need to actually know who you know. not full-time tech support or development staff. Not even the worthy ones. ask them for money.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. All the high-end tools and applications that nonprofits need to build community. The most common kind of failure you see in nonprofit fundraising is when the people who raise money can’t tell you precisely who they raised money from last year. and it comes with a consulting community that has implemented CiviCRM for many organizations within a community that culturally is eager to share their knowledge and expertise. They have a vision. Good service – the kind of service that really grows your organization – usually costs $1. You think your organization is unique. and build a database of donors cost a considerable amount of money. they still have some costs. They need something the can customize easily without a big price tag. You need data plans and applications that you can customize – with your budgets – and you can learn to use easily. a large advocacy group might spend $15. provide the solution. in fact. manage programs. and they want to raise money and organize their volunteers online because that is where they spend most of their free time anyway.000 a month for a database system that will put all of their operations online. An open source solution carries with it institutional knowledge about each of these areas and more that a small organization might not otherwise be able to afford. customers that can afford to pay build the first general advocacy profile for an open source database that is then used by less affluent groups who can only afford to invest $2. Four kids in high school decide they wanted to do something good for the environment in their community. In this way. Donor databases and email are generic technology tools. such as the price of garbage bags. an open source solution can allow you to learn from and use tools developed by other groups. yes. Knowledge comes in layers. and they raised most of it from their parents and families. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 20 Small Nonprofits Have a Seat at the CRM Table DAVID GEILHUFE CIVICRM Providing technology solutions to nonprofit organizations and civic groups is a $100 million a year industry. such as a database. Clearly you want to ask everybody who gave you money last year for money this year. people get excited about their idea and their idea grows. An open source solution potentially allows the City Creek Cleanup crew to find software developed by another. You need to know who visits your Website. such as the ability to receive online donations or send email. What should a group this size look for? City Creek Cleanup needs two things in a database program: simplicity and affordability. Unfortunately.000 organizations.000 a month. then open source CRM programs may. they cannot pay $500 to $1. This minimizes required customization and cuts down on costs. Many nonprofit organizations have different purposes but possess common elements. and they organize a City Creek Cleanup. Now they want to run creek cleanup efforts once a week.

Some open source solutions. then you know he or she cares more about your organization than the average member does. This is a social network where your donors introduce you to more donors. Track what your members do on your site. The great innovation in fundraising technology has been fundraising pages where an individual can create a web page and then point their friends to it to donate to the organization.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. if someone creates a fundraising page on your Website. The information you collect will help you make decisions about targeting and segmentation. For example. How do I do it? Here’s what you need to know if you want to build social networking programs into your database system. 4. Use the information you collect to build a better a relationship with your members. 2. in this case with the Drupal content management system. Use a content management system (CMS) with user authentication so that you know who is visiting your website. like CivicSpace. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET your donors know. You want them to log into your site so you know who is raising money and who is not. 3. Acknowledge their effort in your newsletter or send them a thank you note. PAGE 90 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . pre-integrate the CRM and CMS. Integrate your Website’s content management system with your CRM database. This will allow you to provide member-only content for your donors and supporters. 1.

local. MoveOn. in the “old world” of database marketing. A decade ago. From The American Lung Association’s perspective. groups from Planned Parenthood to AFL-CIO to MoveOn.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. The subsequent questions are relatively standard for any marketing outreach campaign: What are you trying to accomplish? What is your offer? What are your goals? All of these questions are similar to those that need to be answered prior to the design and launch of an email advocacy campaign. @ Convio is an Internet software and services company that provides online Constituent Relationship Management (eCRM) solutions for nonprofit organizations. The Internet provides a unique medium in which viral marketing is instantaneous and virtually free to organizations. Specifically. From an advocacy organization’s perspective. For example. e-newsletters. Through the use of basic emails. Preferences/Topics of interest – Are you able to discern the preferences or “hot buttons” for each of your list members? To gather this level of information. and in many ways. whereas snail mail requires much more lead time. and action alerts are shared with friends who have similar interests. organizations are able to quickly and effectively increase the size of their lists without incurring significant costs. It allows groups to respond immediately to events that occur in the news. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 21 The E-mail Factor: Tailoring Your Communications Program SHEERAZ HAJI CONVIO The online world has dramatically changed the way in which people interact with each other. the higher the cost of the campaign. To some people. for example. org use email to communicate with their supporters.com. However. the size of the list would heavily influence the parameters of the direct mail campaign because with traditional mail. you need a list in order to communicate with people. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 91 . However. For more information. yet it has become one of the most powerful advocacy groups in the country by using email as the foundation of its communications strategy. – What do you know about each of the individuals on your list? Your organization probably has some high-level demographic information for each member. west coast group focused on surfers) to reach people around the world and gain the support of surfers in Australia. As emails are forwarded. and Asia. and thus has a lesser impact because of the inherent lag time. the next question that an experienced marketer would ask a client would be “How big is your list?” With a direct mail campaign. the larger the list. mile away or on the other side of the planet.convio. The power of email lies in both its immediacy and its ability to transcend geographic boundaries. email might seem like a different communication medium. the increasing importance of targeted campaigns should not begin and end with demographics. it is like traditional database marketing tools. an organization’s list grows organically. without additional investments in list buys or direct mail campaigns. Demographics. Europe. Email is not restricted by distance. and perhaps age group or occupation. in many ways. it is important to know if each list member cares more about tobacco issues or clean air issues. An organization can have a message reach all of its constituents at virtually the exact same time – whether they are one 2. to what extent can a simple.org has a staff of five people and an annual budget of $3 million. however. Email’s virtual nature allows organizations like the Surf Rider Foundation (which started as a small. it already has. A major difference between traditional direct mail campaigns and online email campaigns is an organization’s ability to grow its list. so does its ability to segment its database of constituents so that it can launch targeted campaigns that resonate with the intended recipients and foster an environment that builds community. the Internet has provided a new cost-effective and efficient communication channel to reach out to constituents. including gender. inexpensive tool like email change what smaller groups with fewer resources can accomplish? The answer: significantly. but first and foremost you need to know with whom you are trying to communicate. As an organization’s list grows. Today. and online action alerts. After the target audience has been established. advocacy groups had to spend a lot of money to communicate with people. Data needs to be examined from various perspectives and is most easily divided into three major categories: 1. geographic location. you need to ask each of your constituents about their interests. visit www.

Instead of sending a generic email to people who had participated in previous action alerts. in this case an upcoming vote on an amendment to the 2005 Energy Bill. Today. in addition to other behavioral data. They knew that these activists had already responded to previous action alerts on global warming. CASE STUDY A Environmental Defense A good illustration of this kind of targeting is Environmental Defense’s campaign on global warming. and campaigning for change. For more information. Therefore. Instead. At a more sophisticated level. however.org/. provided an update about the campaign’s progress. strengthening communities. visit www. enabling them to feed their children.000 members. People who didn’t take an action in response to previous emails received a very different. They also knew that they could update these activists in the future and ask them to take further action. oxfamamerica. EDF has 500. which was focused on lobbying Starbucks to sign a licensing agreement that will allow coffee growers in Ethiopia to control the names of their coffee. environmentaldefense. The email was a strong sell. discussing the importance of the issue. they spoke to their core activists in a completely different tone. They didn’t have to give them extensive background on the organization and what they wanted to accomplish. The agreement would allow Ethiopia to determine an export price that guarantees farmers receive a fair share of coffee profits. past participants were sent an email that thanked the person by name for taking action. and specifically explaining why it was important to get involved and take action. and get better healthcare. The former group cares most about the @ | Environmental Defense was founded in 1967 as the Environmental Defense Fund. behavioral targeting is something that is more easily leveraged through online campaigns. they went right to the issue. informational email that brought them up to date on what Oxfam was doing on the issue of fair trade. At the simplest level.g. Oxfam knows that not all members will respond to a request to take action the first time it is received. While demographic and preference data have long been a staple of targeting and segmenting within direct response email. PAGE 92 CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . @ Oxfam America is a non-profit organization that works to end global poverty through saving lives. send them to school. beyond the basic information they provided when they signed up to receive online communications from the group. visit www. Additional communications that contain new information about the subject may compel them to take immediate action. CASE STUDY C American Lung Association The American Lung Association found that its constituents primarily donated for one of two reasons: either they had personal experience with lung conditions (such as a family member with asthma or respiratory problems). CASE STUDY B Oxfam America Oxfam America (Oxfam) employed targeting based on previous actions taken for a 2006 fair trade campaign. Oxfam included an advocacy alert in its early online campaign. Behavior – How do your constituents behave online? It is essential to track clickthrough data.org/. The campaign led to the passage of a Senate Resolution putting senators on record in favor of supporting a mandatory cap on pollutants that contribute to global warming. For more information. or were vehemently opposed to tobacco.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET 3. clicking on a link or forwarding the email to a friend). The ability to track and analyze the behavior of each list member enables an organization to gather valuable information about the person’s interests. gathering behavioral data involves paying attention to who takes an action in response to an email (e. the organization also knows that this initial lack of action does not necessarily mean that the member is uninterested in the campaign. conducting a detailed analysis and review of results following the launch of an online advocacy campaign or email appeal allows an organization to modify future campaigns based on past behavior. and articulated their five goals for getting the bill passed. it wasn’t necessary to sell the importance of the issue to them. For example. email open rates. and email forwarding (tell-a-friend) information. People who had taken action on the original campaign received a very different message than those who had not. and then conducted followup communications with its members. and asked them to forward information about the campaign to friends and family.

This is a great example that demonstrates an organization’s ability to think about issues from a constituents’ point of view. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET air quality in their local area. visit CARE’s life changing projects in-person. when using targeting to build community. Similar to email. topic. Second. Regardless of the message. rather. for individuals struggling with the effects of lung disease. it makes your message relevant. start planning early and set specific goals. both online and offline in CARE’s community. @ CARE USA is a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. People are looking for an idea so compelling that it drives them to take action and engage with an online community. The Humane Society of the United States achieved success with a very specific campaign called “Petition for Poultry. the American Lung Association’s website offers a message board titled “Living with Lung Disease. generic statement. The latter group wants to help the American Lung Association lobby against the “big tobacco” companies. However. If the American Lung Association uses the same generic voice to address both audiences. constituents and stakeholders are two different audiences (defined by their level of engagement with an organization). The best way to engage website visitors is to offer specific features which help build community. and each group responds to different types of messages. attending an event.org/. In communications with this group.” Devoted volunteers are able to create and manage their own personal Web pages which can then be used to recruit friends and family to donate. The goal is to try to engage them in a way that encourages them to eventually progress to a higher level of engagement. and timely (launched just before Thanksgiving). care. rather than a very broad. these are two very different constituencies. People understood the nature of the issue because it was specific. Therefore. focused topic. and is interested in hearing about lawsuits in the tobacco industry and the latest legislation on tobacco control. has a program called CARE Corps. For more information. and receives more email than they want. or to encourage people to participate in advocacy campaigns. targeted. People are passionate about this type of personal interactions and community-based involvement. Instead of encouraging people in this group to become actively engaged in the organization. and provide moral support for others who find themselves in a similar situation. CARE Corps members are offered “a unique opportunity for select groups of CARE supporters to Remember These Three Things First. CARE USA employs a very different strategy than mass emails.” which focused on the ethical treatment of poultry. don’t wait one or two years to move your organizing online. as well the latest news about respiratory illness. it is important to develop unique strategies to build relationships with the members of each group. choose a specific.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Put yourself in the shoes of your constituent: a busy person who works full-time. or participating in an online community? One of the most important elements of using online tools to engage your audience and build community is to have a compelling story or value proposition. Obviously. How is your organization going to capture the attention of these individuals and engage them in a way that compels them to become involved by responding to an email. CASE STUDY D CARE USA In the end. CARE USA. then the response to any communications would be low since the message was not customized to the interests of the target audience. visit www. visit www. for example. For example. targeting does not simply fulfill a marketing purpose.org. Its mission is to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Do it now.” This community-based forum provides an opportunity for people to share their stories. and presents the same generic piece of content. Finally. which targets its most engaged supporters and volunteers. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 93 . both from traditional measurements of response rates and from the perspective of building community online. lungusa. the communication tactics change slightly and are more informal when it comes to CARE’s less active supporters. seek advice. For more information. @ The American Lung Association is the oldest voluntary health organization in the United States. each of which is looking for very different information. Many advocacy groups are too busy to step back and ask themselves about their goals again: Do they want to increase donations? Engage people and communicate their mission? Educate people? Push a big public policy initiative? Articulating goals that specify why an organization is trying to engage people and build community online is critical to driving success. a website should contain elements which attract the attention of the target audience and encourage them to become involved with the organization. CARE asks less of them. or goals. The value of targeting is significant.

INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET PAGE 94 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS .

then you probably already use some CRM principles. You just call it something different: correspondence management. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET PART IV Managing Constituent Communications in Elected Office One of the “Top Takeways” of this publication is that CRM doesn’t end on Election Day. The authors in this section discuss practical approaches to merge the correspondence management programs you already use with a full-blown CRM system. They argue that building integration and interactivity into your existing correspondence program can help your office handle constituent mail and build better relationships with your voters. If you work in a congressional office.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 95 .

The ideal solution appears to be a good CRM system. in the early to mid-90s. one opportunity to respond effectively to a constituent is lost. Think about the thousands of emails. and a decade can seem like a lifetime. For example.000 emails in a year. This is particularly true of Congressional staff and CRM systems. and pieces of snail mail that each congressional office receives on a daily basis – not to mention the amount of messages sent to constituents from the office. but the newer systems have been built with the older (and archaic) mentality. it should be viewed as a way to build an email list of 50. For more information. And now they can use that information to communicate with these constituents at virtually no cost and with a fraction of the staff time that it takes to send out letters on issues that are very specific to their heart. Those early programs required a software program that had to be loaded onto an office computer. The Problem: Too Much Email. many offices have moved to web-based correspondent management systems (CMS). and the specific bills that they care about. go unsorted or unanswered. postcard campaigns. leaving staffers ill-equipped to manage the massive amounts of inbound email. In fact. Rather. even in the most diligent offices. With each communication. and phone calls. which is a step in the The problem with the way constituent communications are handled on the Hill is not that members are receiving too much email.000 to 75. the software tool used by congressional offices to handle incoming communications. when the vast majority of inbound communications to Congress occurred offline – through personal letters. Too Little Technology Most members of congress in fact do not have a PAGE 96 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS .com. While the number of phone calls and faxes to congressional offices has stayed relatively stable. sometimes even the most hard-working offices fall back on outdated applications that can actually create more work and are less effective than new systems. and.000 individuals in your district. the problem is that they are not recognizing the opportunity to listen to those emails and respond. phone calls. visit www. the problem is that they are not recognizing the opportunity to listen to those emails and respond. and elected officials. as it occurs in the House. the platform that Congress currently uses to handle constituent communications was designed a decade ago. The problem with the way constituent communications are handled on the Hill is not that members are receiving too much email. A decade later.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. a few years can seem like a decade. faxes. CMS vs. shouldn’t be interpreted as a threat or a bother. and yet congressional offices have yet to adopt a complete CRM program. the issues that they are interested in. associations. Yet. When we look at the evolution of technology. such as email. faxes. Rather. the way people communicate has changed. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 22 Turning Problems into Opportunities: Why CRM Makes Congressional Offices Proactive JEFF MASCOTT ADFERO GROUP right direction. @ Adfero Group is a strategic public affairs firm that provides innovative online and offline programs and campaigns for high-profile interest groups. CRM In this chapter. tagged by the organizations that they are affiliated with. During the past decade. receiving 50. CMS refers to correspondent management software. the number of email communications has exploded. These form an unceasing deluge of constituent communications that pile up.adferogroup.

Overall. staffers do not have a way to determine that. but they do receive electronic communications through forms either on their own Websites or the official House of Representatives Website. They wanted these groups to direct their members to the web form on each congressman’s site.e.594 letters). sometimes the needs of the staffer (who simply cannot handle the amount of email) differ from those of the elected officials they serve. Likewise. In fact. members of Congress love receiving as 43 “Congress Begins Blocking Constituent Emails. collecting data about individuals. whether a handwritten letter or a postcard campaign. Newswire. Second. and responding individually. he or she must fill out a Web form. House Information Resources (HIR). and technology companies that work with these groups rapidly began to develop ways to solve the congressional logic puzzles. all those emails may actually be a gift – not a threat or hassle – as I will explain a little later. like email. To say that the logic puzzle antagonized the advocacy groups is an understatement. Yet. Since email is so easy for constituents to send. HIR decided that they would add a logic puzzle to make sure that individuals were sending the emails. that scans email content and finds patterns within a stream of emails – for example.993 different communications. VP of Grassroots Enterprise summarized their disbelief: “What’s next. designed before the advent of the Internet and email. Congressional offices still use a software tool called Correspondence Management Systems (CMS) to process all incoming communications from constituents and respond. they do not handle email in an intelligent. The benefits of using a web form are twofold. asking you the average airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?”43 Another wag quipped that it is easier to serve a subpoena on a fugitive than to deliver an email to a Representative. First. more than 60 members signed up for the service. which is designed to filter out non-constituents. Third. the member is able to collect a physical address location. Yet. As a result. with postal letters. elegant manner. the website of an advocacy group or organization. June 28. Why is email important? Consider the following research from the Congressional Management Foundation: Congress received four times more communications in 2004 than 1995 due to Internetbased communications. that email can be posted on a public system that shares information with other offices about who is behind the email and what the email is about. these platforms do not posses an artificial intelligence system. The software packages they use do not have sophisticated tools for staffers to organize and respond to the increased amount of incoming communications. However. In 2004. advocacy group. “35 emails today came from members of the American Dental Association. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 97 .399 online compared to 10. Staffers were overwhelmed. staffers now have to respond to a great deal more mail. a Survivor style challenge to give your letter to the postman? A guard at the office door. The same is true of the senate (83. and the platform scans Outlook and pulls the information form out. These CMS systems. Only recently have these platforms been modified to handle email. several emails that have the same first sentence or it talk about HR-123 or that mention partial birth abortions. congressional offices do not have the software tools to manage the explosion of inbound electronic communications from their constituents. so that if one office detects a new in-bound email. However. they still feel overwhelmed. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET public email account. Most email into congress comes by way of an effort by an organization. were primarily used to respond to inbound postal communications. Of this. However. They were enraged. it prevents spam messages.000 online compared to 7. When a constituent sends an email through a congressional Website.053. for example.” U.. it ensures that all inbound electronic communications are received by constituents from the state or district that their member represents. The email then gets sent into Outlook. there are no good sharing mechanisms among offices. which gives the office to respond through either email or postal mail. Eventually.000 letters.” Collecting this information will allow them to determine dentists in their district. 2006. not the website of a representative).935. there is no way to prevent these outside groups and their vendors from processing email from legitimate constituents through congressional websites en mass. During its first two weeks on the market. But even when offices use these web forms. New Coalition Launches Campaign to Stop Use of Logic Puzzle Web Forms. this means a total of 200. Unfortunately. a group that is responsible for implementing technology solutions on the Hill. John Hlinko.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. The fact is.400.388. the House received about ten times more online communications than letters (99. or movement. developed a way to manage constituent communications by curbing the number of emails sent from groups through an outside website (i.S. as most corporate CRM platforms do.000. at the end of the day. this is exactly the thing that congressional offices should be doing: tracking patterns.

Scanning can also help congressional offices detect trends in email writing. – This includes the method of contact. Congressional offices need a system that allow s them to organize inbound communications using four different types of tags: PAGE 98 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . Further. The franking committee looks at all the details. So. such as a letter or email.200 people who are interested in immigration issues.” However. Why? Most systems lack automation – a valuable way to cut down on time and make the process more effective. the National Association of Coffee Growers urges its constituents to contact their members of congress about a bill that affects coffee growing. Scan inbound email. There is a solution.R. Even though hundreds of people write letters. nonhierarchical set of tags called “affiliations. Ideally. such as measuring the size of photographs in the mailing and how often the members’ name is used. Automation does not mean that responses are sent out without at the very least a staffer checking the inbound communication and the response to make sure it is appropriate.” Once the first email from a member of NACG comes in. Many aspects of a good constituent relationship management system can help – if you know how to use them. all the emails that contain the phrase “oil tax” are sorted into one pile. since it occurs at the click of a button. and both sides have to approve each mailing. – When an office receives email. All of this is. Simply tagging all keywords as “affiliations” doesn’t cover the detail or nuance of most communications. When a member of congress responds incorrectly. the staffer tags it for the phrase. if an email contains the phrase “vote no on oil tax. there is a chance that it may end up as a letter to the editor in the local newspaper. then he or she has to obtain approval from the franking committee. They simply do not realize that 90 percent of the work can be done for them. a member of Congress wants to send out a mailing to the 1. htm. Gather Communications Currently. Technology is a wonderful tool. How does it work? Automated systems 1. 2. the ideal scenario. and the name of the bill. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET many communications as possible from their constituents. Many offices worry that automating corre- spondence management will make it sloppy. The Solution: Using CRM to Communicate More Effectively Congressional offices need a system that allows them to plan ahead and sort and respond to constituent communications intuitively. The Franking Commission Any congressional letter campaign over 499 pieces of mail with the same topic has to be sent to the Franking Commission for approval. 1. For more information. of course. no one solution helps congressional staffers effectively handle the massive amount of inbound email they receive. but it is simply too hard to get past the fact that congressional staff are too overwhelmed to take email communications to the next level. The stakes are higher for a member of Congress or the Senate than they are for a business. the issue. house. Automation is a scary concept for elected officials. email should be a lot easier to respond to than snail mail. visit http://cha. the system makes assumption about the nature of an email. the system scans the subject line and body for key words and phrases. for example if after a floor vote. the coffee growing bill.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS.” 3. 2. For example. a good email system should allow them to build and update their databases and tag individuals each time they attempt to communicate with their elected representatives. All future emails with that phrase generate the same follow-up or response. For example. Each communication means more opportunity for them to build relationships. Build a Database with Granular Information The current CMS system uses one linear. 11. The same is true if that same office wants to send out a mailing to all the seniors in the district. they fear a person who emailed with a line about “treating people like animals” is actually sent an email response that addresses the issue of animal testing and not the prisoner abuse concerns they wrote in about. Make assumptions about the nature of the email.gov/services/franking_commission. and the constituents who write those letters are just as unique. constituent correspondence comes in many different forms. The franking committee comprises both Republicans and Democrats. and the content of that communication. most contain a similar phrase “I urge you to vote for H. For example. – Based on data collected over time through the scanning process. For example. such as when an organized advocacy groups asks its members to contact your office about an issue. Suggest a follow-up or response.

For example. An office could flag two suspension bills on a Tuesday.” It takes about 48 hours for the legislative assistant to draft email text and get it approved. but because estate taxes are such a specific issue. and then the member’s own big bill on Thursday. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET 1. 2.” she receives a reply about estate tax cuts. Email does have one downside: it is not printed on official. Organization – Does the sender belong to an organization? This is important because you can learn a lot about the individual based on which group he or she belongs to.sentence emails. The system also tags her to receive future email about tax relief in general. such as. creamcolored paper with a seal on top.” There should never be one big “pro” pile and another big “against” pile. An email about secondary education probably shouldn’t be sent to an elementary school teacher. I wanted you to be the first to know. so that if someone writes a letter that is “pro estate tax cuts. both elementary and secondary teachers can receive general email about education. the staff will say. they can also send a full-color email that looks like it is official stationery with the seal at the top and the member’s name in Times New Roman font. members theoretically can re- Which is more effective: receiving an email that says. “I just got off the floor 15 minutes ago and wanted you to be the first to know. then you need subcategories for elementary teachers. she will not receive future email about capitol gains tax. 123. Every representative has learned to seize any opportunity to use official stationary. members should use both. Further. and doesn’t receive approval for two to three days after the vote. secondary teachers. Issue – What is this constituent writing about? This category is hierarchical. special education teachers. Without strategically planning constituent mail. It takes the office another 48 hours to print all 1. since most people now communicate with their representatives online. “The big vote was today. if you have a category for teachers. It passes through three rounds of edits. etc. and there is still some benefit to mailing a letter directly to someone’s house. and post it. However. using a constituent management system and emails. At the beginning of each week.R.R. Email seems to work best for two or three short messages a week. 4. Knowing of your interest in the issue. communications can be sent out to subcategories or to the whole group. your office can follow up with a specific response and send out very specific communications everyday there is a vote. congressional offices send out mail based on a vote the member cast.” or eventually receiving a piece of mail a week-and-a-half after the fact? Actually. so we have to send a letter to everybody who contacted us about it.200 letters.to three. Affiliations – Who is the writer? This category is also hierarchical. However. stuff the envelopes. rarer communications. Instead of being trapped in the 48-hour process of drafting a two-page letter. but they should do so strategically. For example.” Which is more effective: receiving an email that says. a staffer should be able to look at all the bills going to the floor and flag four or five bills that they can legitimately use to update their constituents. then you have a better chance of sending out targeted communications in the future. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 99 . 123” or “against H. 3. This way.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. “I just left the floor 15 minutes ago.” or eventually receiving a piece of mail a week-and-a-half after the fact? Simple relationship management steps like these represent just two of the many possibilities that elected officials can employ to build support amongst their base while in office – and gain loyalty before the election season commences. which means the constituents do not receive that mail until a week-and-a-half after the vote. At the same time. By then it is old news. one bill on Wednesday. “I just got off the floor 15 minutes ago and wanted you to be the first to know. email will offer congressional offices the opportunity to communicate with their constituents about an issue before they hear it anywhere else. 3. if you know someone is a social conservative or a member of an environmental group. for example either “pro H. People are already talking about the next big thing. Proactively Send Out Communications Typically. they can draft two. Bills – Is this email for or against the issue or bill? Emails should be tagged very specifically. And that’s just the beginning. This way. Snail mail seems to work best for longer. spond faster and more efficiently to most of their letter writers. where I voted ‘yes’ on HR 123.

all kinds of automation can be provided by a CRM program. Read all the “channels. a CRM program can provide greater functionality to process inbound emails quickly and efficiently. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET Best Practices for Using CRM in Elected Office 1. For instance. rules can be created that monitor legislative action to automatically provide a brief update to a constituent on any actions taken on bills they have previously expressed interest in. – One of the promises of the 21st century has been the “paperless office. 3.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. a CRM platform provides a workflow for all tasks and staffers then have their various roles. but also any public comment or discussion on the Internet. Furthermore. Automation – Extending on this principle. This holistic approach only further enhances CRM’s prowess in a proactive messaging role. approved. A comprehensive view of a constituent would not only include the communications with a member’s office. 2. for instance. PAGE 100 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . that allow a letter to be drafted. Paperless workflow and assignment roles. but it is a feature of a CRM platform that can greatly increase the efficiency of a member’s constituent mail and casework program. Likewise. The Internet provides a multitude of avenues of communication and opinion making. rules based on keywords or phrases can be used to filter inbounds or automatically reply to a known message appropriately without any burden on staffers to process and identify the incoming form. a rule can be created to automatically send a follow-up to every legislative correspondence.” This vision of a completely electronic infrastructure has perhaps been forgotten. This level of automation also allows offices to provide additional communications that they would not otherwise be bothered. CRM can provide automation in this workflow with assignment rules. Specifically. For instance. printed and sent by different staffers without needing any paper printouts.” – Another best practice that can be adopted through a CRM platform’s flexibility is going further than just processing mail and casework in building out your constituent’s profiles. It can also recognize the bulk receipt of emails through a messaging platform and automatically batch the responses and recommend a form letter reply. This follow-up form would be schedule to send 2 weeks after the closed response and include additional information related to their issue of concern.

the primary basis of identity and validation is that the constituent is a registered voter. @ iConstituent provides ecommunications technology for State and Federal office holders. and “interactions” from the receiver or constituent. any click-throughs or surveys are easily tabulated and recorded. followed by a continuing response for the next few days until the total was almost 60% or 6000 of those constituents who opened the e-newsletter. The basic personality of the Internet is interactive. Although some skeptics are worried about privacy. there are a few congressional members who believe that all constituents are equally important regardless of whether or not they vote. before Web 2. In the old days of “legacy” communication methods. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 23 The basic personality of the Internet is interactive. For more than 200 years. And the receiver must be able to send back some form of action through the platform in use. the constituent would most likely receive a response by letter from the member within a month or longer. A broadcaster or mailer of content has only to wait for their recipient to click on a link or an image and interactive networking begins. For more information. For most elected officials. and accordingly. and newsletters a few times a year to the registered voters in their districts. But.000 constituents filled out the surveys. such as iConstituent’s Gateway.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 101 .iconstituent. this format and practice is on the wane. Surveys are the “Killer App” of e-newsletter communication. the universal acceptance of email as a primary means of communication and the penetration of high speed Internet access.). two way dynamic relationships with constituents without direct personal contact. a constituent could only call.com. And yes. What is an interactive relationship? It is basically a two-way relationship and a give and take of information and content.000 constituents. visit www. or visit the office of the member. As a result.0. One congressman emailed a welcome letter to launch his service with numerous surveys to 40. For this relationship to be effective. iConstituent generates between 25% – 60% survey response rates (these are percentage-based on open rates or the views of the e-newsletters. Every email e-newsletter that is mailed out through an enterprise-based software system. Although most congressional offices still mail out “Franking approved” postal letters. the citizens of America have focused on election cycles to produce their representative governments. more than 4. SHAPIRO ICONSTITUENT The Internet has forever changed the paradigm of representative government. Email e-newsletters have been the key to the breakthroughs in this new and dynamic stage of active interaction. printed flyers. Then. The prevailing attitude today is that only registered voters count because only they can make the difference in elections. the constituent must be recognized in the member’s delivery system and database as a person with a validated name and email address. will carry a “tag” such as an XML code that allows everyone receiving the enewsletter to have a separate and identifiable uniqueness within the database of the software system for each e-newsletter. The sender or elected official must have the ability to receive information. our elected officials had no opportunity to create active. However. those members will attempt to communicate with as many constituents as possible regardless of whether they vote or not. Now with the advancement of technology. This enables the software to keep track of every interaction with that particular recipient of the e-newsletter. there have been town hall meetings forever and constituents can always visit a regional or Washington. the advent of interactive constituent communication with our elected officials will usher in a new form of democracy: Interactive Democracy. Sixteen percent of the Interactive Democracy STUART S. there is strong evidence that constituents are profoundly supportive and want their elected officials to know them and to know how they feel about the issues. and dynamic Internet-based surveys are the foundation of Interactive Democracy. Within three hours of mailing. The excitement about surveys is based on the incredibly high survey response rates and the speed with which they can be delivered. The Internet was built for people to communicate with each other in real time. write. DC office.

these surveys are from voters and are more “scientific” because members know who is filling out each response and where they are located in the district. some offices have between 10. House of Representatives district contains about 600. it is the legislation and laws that pass through our representative branches that are the primary governing and influencing factors in our life.000 constituents opened the e-newsletter.000 opted-in constituents and the goal of many offices for 2007 is to build their opt-in lists to 20. and of those.000 constituents of whom. have more than 50. approximately half or 350. It is inevitable that new forms of voting using the Internet will emerge in the next decade as the time and access to voting is expanded. These statistics are based on a single mailing. it is the communication bond between the politicians once elected and their individual constituents that will be the foundation of real-time Interactive Democracy. At that point the electronic representative power of government through interactive real time technology will come of age! Remember. the total number of constituents who are being contacted and are responding tends to be double that of a single mailing. and the average survey response rates are 25% of opens. Over four or more mailings.700.000 – 7. the average open rates of an email e-newsletter mailed only to an all opt-in list are 25% – 50%.000 or approximately 50% of the registered voters in general elections.000 are registered voters.000 opted-in constituents.000 voters and only 50% of the registered voters show up to vote in a general election.700.000 constituents of whom. In the new web world. there are now many emerging platforms and tools that are expanding the universe of Interactive Democracy in Congress.000.000-200.S. we elect our government every couple of years. generate response rates in the 50.000 constituents. The average mailing of congressional member’s e-newsletter is sent to about 40. During these interactive conferences.000 – 50.000 constituents. Currently. But it is the legislation and laws that are passed that affect our lives.000 constituents. hopefully. The average primary registers about 55.000 – 100. approximately half or 350. Did you know? The average U. and the average survey response rates are 25% It is important to remember that these figures represent only the early years of this technological communication revolution. However.000 are registered voters.500 opt in to continue to receive communications regularly.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS.000 in congressional district primary. The average U. This is when it starts to get really exciting! What happens when more people fill out a realtime survey than actually vote in a general election? What happens when a majority of congressional member’s constituency supports an issue that the member does not agree with? What happens is that Interactive Democracy might control the vote and the elected official might represent his or her constituency according to its “survey” will. Within six years it is plausible that the average congressional e-newsletter will successfully reach a view rate of 150. Surveys consistently exceed the click through rates of other web based information. In addition to e-newsletters and their embedded surveys. It is important that these surveys are in real-time and that the speed of response is so fast that an elected official can send out an email with a survey to find out how constituents feel about an issue and have the answers within minutes.000 – 15. and surveys will consistently PAGE 102 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . constituents can ask the host questions directly and participate in live interactive The average open rates of an email e-newsletter mailed only to an all opt-in list are 25% – 50%. While average open rates of a mass email e-newsletter are 7% – 15%. citizens and registered voters will become increasingly better informed on policy issues facing them. iTown Hall Telephone Meetings have recently shown excellent results by connecting with hundreds of constituents through a live hour long teleconference with a congressional member. 150.000 range. The communication bond between the politicians once elected and their individual constituents that will be the foundation of real-time Interactive Democracy. Compare these numbers to how many constituents vote: 52. In addition. Yes. about 5.000.S. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET deliverable addresses or almost 11. an individual citizen’s right to voice an opinion will carry a new ability to directly influence the outcome of legislation and then. House of Representatives district contains about 600.

INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. because of the extended work schedule. technology has enabled Interactive Democracy. then the vested interactive process starts to flourish for both parties. Blogs are another excellent example of interactive media and publishing. can reach new constituencies and are an excellent means of instant alerts when a member is on TV or holding a conference. Ipods will become so connected and powerful that we will just carry them around with us to time shift what we want to watch and play on our High Definition computer/TV flat screens. allowing the user to choose and control what media to watch and listen to as soon as it gets published. telephone conferencing with constituents back home will be increasingly more popular and effective in outreach. At that tipping point. In the near future. Podcasting is just starting to take off and will soon develop embedded surveys and various new forms for interactivity. This was the beginning stages of Interactive Democracy. one vote in real-time and all the time. These interactive Telephone Town Hall Meetings or iTown Halls are like radio call-in shows. web videos. when constituents also get to speak directly to the member. The opt-in process is fundamental to enacting a real time interactive bond. and the understanding of issues and positions reflects an honest relationship which will ultimately lead to greater success for the elected official at the polls thereby producing long term incumbency protection. most elected officials are afraid to participate actively in the commenting and interactive forum aspect of blogs. SMS. When the House allowed opted-in email to continue through this otherwise prohibited period. one woman. At that point the democratic process integrated into the congressional constituent contact systems will generate a representative and responsive form of government that will resonate one man.” Once this bonded relationship is started. In the House of Representatives. the opted-in constituent takes on uniquely important role. are another excellent example of connected interactivity. a congressional opted-in list will exceed 150. These new forms of communication technologies enable this unique relationship to grow like never before in the history of democracy. Soon podcasts. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET surveys.” Good government crosses party lines and closes the differences between issues. which regulates congressional constituent contact. Note that 90 days prior to an election or primary. further building the new foundations of Interactive Democracy. which are integrated into podcasting and numerous other forms of content. Both sides take each other more seriously and the rewards are obvious in numerous ways. I want to receive these email newsletters. RSS feeds. In the current 110th Congress. a congressional member’s survey might generate 100. The receiver or constituent must take the affirmative action by saying: “yes. Congress ruled that as long as a constituent has opted-in to receiving electronic or other forms of communication using the proper language and forms. The open rates grow substantially. Podcasts are like a personal Internet digital recorder and playback application and aggregator of content. I want to receive these email newsletters. The opt-in process is fundamental to enacting a real time interactive bond. Perhaps the most important use of SMS is the ability to opt-in constituents on impulse using their mobile phones instead of a computer. However. You can download your audio/video content and listen to or view it wherever you want. offices will post the short code and keywords (Member’s name) in all printed material and in district offices. Again. These guidelines are generally controlled through the Franking Commission. the trust between both parties flourishes. or mobile phone short text messages. Whether Democratic or CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 103 . they ushered in the new electronic and Internet era of Congress and its constituencies.000 responses on an issue in less than two hours. then the member has the right to communicate with that constituent without any blackout before an election. Blogs can add a more personal touch to communication with a constituency and hopefully will become more widely used once members get more comfortable with the process.000 constituents. and choose to mostly post and publish without commenting in real time. This election cycle will be the breakthrough of podcasting for distributing political commercials. a member of Congress may not use taxpayer’s dollars to send out mail or contact them unless they have chosen to opt into correspondence by requesting to be signed up to a e-newsletter or other forms of constituent communication. In 2003. The receiver or constituent must take the affirmative action by saying: “yes. The conferences can also be recorded and posted on the website for future listening. In the not too distant future. ask questions and have real time dialogue. RSS feeds will all have responsive surveys embedded in the content so that the constituents can communicate their values and impressions in a dynamic real-time environment.

and democracy will empower the constituent base of our great United States in a way that our founding fathers envisioned would be the representative republican democratic democracy in a pure form. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET Republican or pro or con an issue. democracy will take on a new form power in the hand of the constituent. However. empowered through the riches of technology. At that moment in time. It will take on many forms of communication systems. that would be the tipping point of representative real time Interactive Democracy! It’s not far away.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS.000 constituents tell their member of Congress: “Vote yes on Bill 101”. the defining foundation will be real-time interactive dynamic Democracy: a bonded relationship between elected official and constituent. and new tools and tags every year. PAGE 104 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . many different platforms. if 100.

For example. For more information on tagging. – Congressional offices receive many different requests: question about a federal agency. Manage the process. Most responses to inbound communications are form letters. automatically-generated response by email or snail mail to each piece of correspondence they receive. For example. who turn out on Election Day to re-elect them. last week your congressional member made a speech on immigration related to an upcoming vote on the floor. 2. A good CRM program for congressional offices should accomplish each of the tasks outlined in this chapter. most utilize a software tool referred to as Correspondence Management Software (CMS). pro more money for border security. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 105 . It is constituents. Is he pro amnesty. Use pre-approved templates for everything. after 10 or 12 weeks. Make it easy. but they are neither easy-touse nor fast. All inbound communication needs to be tagged and categorize. 1. 2. Send individualized responses. Answering Inbound Communications Inbound communications – all the letters and email that accumulate daily and that require a lot of staff time to answer – exist at the heart of every congressional office. Most CMS programs on the Hill are too cumbersome. the process oftentimes is insulated and far removed from the daily legislative business. Efficiently handling legislative mail and casework requests is the foundation of the services that congressional offices provide. Finding the Ideal CRM Program for Members of Congress KEN WARD AND NICK SCHAPER ADFERO GROUP 4. An ideal CRM program will help your office identify form emails. Sometimes they can even be ineffective. Unfortunately. offices have always placed a strong emphasis on the services they provide to their constituents. log them.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. the program prompts your staffer to call the constituent and let her know that you office has not heard back from the agency. flag requests. etc. And you directed people back to your site for more information. Each stage of these tasks should be scripted and should follow a similar formula. service academy nominations. Send follow-up correspondence about the issues they care about. anti amnesty. Case Work and Constituent Services Handling case work and constituent services well is a good way to build support in your district. after all. or pro building a big fence along the border? Before the day is out. email and letters from people who care deeply about immigration. see chapter 21. you can focus on individual constituent responses and tag them appropriately. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET CHAPTER 24 3. Those responses should be individualized – something that a CRM program can help you manage without creating extra work. An ideal CRM program’s first role is to make answering those communications easier and less time-consuming. Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) promises to streamline the process – if you know how to use it. 5. On Capitol Hill. Automate responses. Don’t miss the opportunity to communicate with your constituents. Sure. tours of the Capitol. all of the email is sorted and all have received a response. Once the bulk of form emails removed out of the inbox. Keep the following principles in mind when developing a CRM program for your office: 1. and assign them to receive a form letter. Your CRM program needs to make it easy for you to match up your response to the person and topic. Good services equal job security. You need to log inbound com- munications quickly so that you can answer them quickly. they can sort inbound email. Your office was flooded with phone calls. – A good CRM program can prompt the right staffers to take the right actions when handling a case. Derive as much information from your inbound communication as possible. Offices need to send an initial. Offices all have varying procedures and goals for the response and turn around time for these communications and to assist in organization. Which organizations are lobbying on the issue? Are those organizations pro or con immigration? Derive more information about each constituent. Respond often with follow-ups.

This includes: a. Bill logs a social security agency request in to the database. However. Who do you contact first? A CRM program will help you generate a list that includes the right mix of media – everyone from the reporter who covers the government reform beat at the Washington Post to the reporter who profiles mavericks on the Hill to bloggers who write about campaign finance issues. people who are frustrated with airline delays. Identifying targets (based on district. he calls Janet and tells her the good news. For example. The letter tells Janet to expect news in four to six weeks. airports. Proactive Communication This chapter isn’t just about using CRM to answer and send email. 1. 2. what the party is trying to do. assesses the problem. you may need to change the way you look at managing your press contacts. the CRM program prompts your office to send another letter to Janet to tell her that the Congressional office submitted her appeal to the social security administration. You want to keep them informed about what you are doing and develop relationships with them. and then send people back to your website for more information. district news. 3. – Do they cover national news. This triggers a message two weeks later thanking Janet for coming to your office and expressing how glad you are that her request was successfully fulfilled. or daily email? Categorize members of your press list by their beat. your congressional member is about to hold a press conference about campaign finance. what your boss wants to communicate. Bill can start processing the request on the spot. when Bill hears that Janet’s check reduction was in error and that the full amount would be restored and reimbursed. You talk about potential targets. She thinks there is a mistake. You probably want to generate two different emails to both of these groups. A month later. You probably also want to target the members of your PAGE 106 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET 3. that have a hat in the ring. Her monthly check decreased by $200. Drafting messages that can be used down the road. Keep the following principles in mind. Members of your press list can receive a simple announcement. Janet and Bill have a long talk. Your CRM program can also help you generate a secondary list of third party surrogates: associations and advocacy groups. – or even the entire Congressional session. you want to target people who care about roads and safety. 2. – Do they prefer to subscribe to your media releases by RSS feed. Media and Press Sure. She is having trouble with her social security check. but she still hasn’t heard back from them. Janet Trilby is a senior who resides in your district. Allow the press contacts to determine their preferred method of delivery. As a last resort. Janet tried calling the Social Security office. but did you know that it can also help your media outreach? Before you buy a system. Or inform them about a bill they care about and ask them to take a survey about the issue on your website. – The shorter your emails. and you decide that since the transportation bill deals with highway funding. This automatically prompts two letters: one for the staff assistant to print out and mail to Janet and the other to the agency. however. Janet walks into your district office on Wednesday afternoon with her recent check stub and tax documents from the past two years. and she’s not sure why. After Janet leaves. CRM isn’t just a “quick fix”: it’s also an effectively tool to help you develop long-term communications strategy. Follow-up. you might consider sending talking points to the members of your third party list. commuters. Bill. Plan your communications program for the week ahead or the month. things you are identifying among your constituents). you determine that the big bill for the week is about transportation authorization. like Common Cause. At your weekly staff meeting. b. or print? Generate reports. Make your communications concise. and arranges a meeting that day with the case worker in your office. television. The case worker closes the case with a favorable outcome. For example. CRM can manage constituent communications. and Bill enters all the information he needs about Janet’s case in your CRM program. This is an opportunity for your district office to shine and be helpful.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. – Let your constituents know that you’re still working on their request. and Homeland Security. – Reports will help you determine successful and unsuccessful pitches. 1. Your constituents probably do not have a lot of time to scroll through an entire issue paper. and people who care about security. Bill fills in the blanks email with Janet’s information and immediately sends it. fax. Three days later. the better. The staff assistant greets Janet. Use your online communications to introduce an issue.

Discuss “new media” strategies like blogging to engage your constituents. Your office sends an initial email. and a survey. casework and outbound messaging. email addresses and opt-in subscribers in your database. telling them how the vote went. Restructure your staff workflow for mail. You ask your legislative assistant to draft three brief emails that cater to each of those audiences. • Review your website’s traffic (visits and pageloads). • Examine your current IT infrastructure.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. your office sends a follow-up email. Each of those emails will link to the floor schedule for this week. – Today. Discuss any offline activities (like town halls) that you want to track. • List the activities you currently track in your CMS. • Examine your budget. Integrating multiple platforms may require extra funds. • Aggregate a report of your previous unsolicited activities. Set reasonable goals for the turnaround of mail AND the growth of your opt-in list. letting your constituents know about the upcoming vote. • Educate both DC and district staff regarding the CRM philosophy. Plan out what metrics you want to monitor. • Evaluate current organizational hierarchy and needs for staffers. Begin targeted emails engaging constituents on weekly topics. Set up procedures for regular reporting on your metric with an eye towards modifying tactics to achieve your goals. Weeks 5 – 8: Plan • • • • • • • Identify targets for communications and construct outreach strategy. they must tackle one obstacle which will grow rapidly in importance over the course of the next few years: the list. the member’s most recent press release. and which topics to discuss? 1. Implement new “approval” workflows. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET constituency who work transportation. websites have become one of the large frames through which people interact with their elected of- The 90-Day Plan for Your Congressional CRM Program Weeks 1 – 4: Evaluate • Evaluate your current CMS strengths and weaknesses. Additional Data Collection Before congressional offices can begin to develop more effective constituent communications strategies. How do offices know who to email. an issue paper. At the end of the week. Clean up your current database and affiliations. however. • Determine the total number of constituents. Identify the top four priorities/issues for the office to coordinate on this year. Engage constituents with a wide range of issue surveys. Weeks 9 – 12: Implement • • • • • • Map out activity templates for casework and district offices. Ask questions. who to snail mail. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 107 .

An effective CRM tool will also allow staffers to generate an email three days after someone signs up for the enewsletter list that says. – An integrated system automatically updates your website after people fill out a form or take a survey on your website. Actually. his or her information is automatically updated in your database.” A week later. I wanted you to know about all the services my office can provide for you. “I just wanted to follow up with you in case you have not visited my website. Both of the above examples seem to suggest that CRM is just for email and newsletters. “In case you or your family member or somebody in your neighborhood is having trouble with any agencies in the federal government. The same is true with newsletters. which instantly generates an email back to the constituent thanking him or her for signing up and encouraging him or her to click on a link to fill out a more-detailed survey that collects additional information on the issues they care about. email and online communications are just one set of tools that offices can use to meet a larger goal: building relationships with constituents. Ask your visitors what they think on your website. the system can generate another email that says. This lets you know who’s responding in real time. When someone signs up to receive a newsletter. Find an integrated system. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET 2. ficials. 3. – Want to generate more list signups? Give people something in return – updates about the issues they care about. Send newsletters. Click here and learn more about how we can fly flags over the Capitol. Go where the people are. or how you can contact my constituent services office in the district if you have any trouble.” PAGE 108 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS .INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. click here to learn who the staff person is that you can call to help facilitate the process of getting something done.

Burton has testified several times before Congress and has lectured widely in the US. which have appeared in Foreign Affairs. helping to start Internet companies in Colorado and California. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Democracy and the Internet. including co-writer of “The Net Effect: How Cyberadvocacy is Changing the Political Landscape” and was a columnist for The Cloakroom. Bobby Clark Deputy Director. Daniel Bennett received a BA degree from Hampshire College. a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a Diplome de Langue et Civilisation Francasies from the Sorbonne. online privacy. where he successfully managed the 2006 Politics Online Conference. Daniel F. MA. He has also served as a Fellow Peter Churchill Associate Director of CRM and Outreach Technology. He is a writer on technology and politics. Prior to joining salesforce. Burton has edited three books. Burton has played a leadership role in the development of US technology policy for over twenty years. Before joining the Council. ProgressNow has played a major role in changing the political landscape in Colorado and has created a national model for grassroots network development and alternative media strategies. Burton. Peter originally hails from the UK. Burton was the Executive Director of the Economic Policy Council of the United Nations Association-USA. Senior Vice President of Global Public Policy. Foreign Policy. a first-of-its-kind state-based advocacy network.com Mr. Peter spent three months as a database analyst at the Webb for Senate Campaign in Virginia. He previously was president of the House Systems Administrators Association. education and R&D. representative from California’s Silicon Valley. a web site for the National Journal.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS.com in January 2006. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 109 . Bobby worked as a marketing executive. in the US-Japan Leadership program and done economic development work in West Africa. where he handled such issues as Internet security. The New York Times. Democracy & the Internet Daniel Bennett founded DotGov Communications. Jocelyn Bowman joined CMDI’s team of dedicated professionals who support political and nonprofit fundraising campaigns with data management systems and data processing services. Bobby helped pioneer the campaign’s groundbreaking Internet outreach and fundraising programs that raised a record $25 Million online in fourteen months. intellectual property. Bobby has consulted with political campaigns and nonprofits across the country. Peter also worked at the Institute for Politics. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET APPENDIX I Author Biographies Jocelyn Bowman CMDI In 2004. Mr. Europe. Prior to joining the Center. Daniel Bennett Practitioner-in-Residence. The Washington Quarterly. and she partners with them to ensure that their messages reach the intended audience. Scientific American and Issues in Science and Technology. Asia and Latin America. He moved to the political arena in the 2002 election cycle. SalesForce. and written numerous articles on technology policy and competitiveness. With a background in corporate strategy. including Vision for the 1990s: US Strategy and the Global Economy. Prior to joining Dean for America. ProgressNow Action Bobby Clark currently serves as Deputy Director of ProgressNow Action. Mr. the first private webhosters for Members of Congress. co-chair of the Legislative Documents Technical Committee of OASIS/LegalXML and winner of the Federal Computer Week’s Fed 100 Winner in 2000. helping them utilize the Internet more effectively to build their base of supporters and engage those supporters more effectively for outreach and fundraising. He holds an MA in political economy from Columbia University. Jr. appropriations. Institute for Politics. As one of the earliest staff members of Howard Dean’s presidential campaign. Mr. he was Vice President of Government Affairs for Entrust (2000-2005) and Vice President for Government Relations for Novell (1995-2000). Amherst. Center for American Progress Peter Churchill is the Associate Director of CRM and Outreach Technology at the Center for American Progress. having graduated this summer with a Master’s Degree in Political Management from GW’s Graduate School of Political Management. He set up the first federal legislative branch RSS feed. serving as Deputy Campaign Manager for Colorado’s Election-Day Voter Registration Initiative. Daniel was Technology Liaison for Congresswoman Anna Eshoo. he was President of the Council on Competitiveness where he was a pioneer in the effort to establish appropriate government technology policies for the US high-tech industry. Previously. Jocelyn works closely with her clients to understand their overall goals. While studying.

During the ClintonGore Administration she served as the Acting General Counsel of the U. She’s worked with dotOrganize to help develop technical solutions that support social change. Julie is the principal author and editor of several publications.S.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. a public interest group working on various media reform issues. She’s a graduate of Columbia College at Columbia University and the University of California.org and worked with Mainstreet Moms’ Leave My Child Alone. Democracy & the Internet Julie Germany serves as the deputy director of the Institute for Politics. Democracy & the Internet at The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management.. including Person-to-Person-to-Person: Harnessing the Political Power of Online Social Networks and User-Generated Content. She also holds a Graduate Certificate in Public Health Policy from the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. Inc. She has worked in a number of presidential campaigns. She received an M. During 2006. helping to build a program that mobilized progressive volunteers to make more than 7 million phone calls. and mentored at-risk youth into high-tech employment. she worked to find drop-off Democrats and supportive independents in more than 60 competitive Senate and House races for MoveOn. developed venture-funded enterprise software systems. She served as the General Counsel to the Democratic National Committee in the 1992 election.A. She began her work in progressive politics in 2004. Department of Commerce.MomsRising. including as Chief Counsel to the Dukakis/Bentsen Julie Barko Germany Deputy Director.S. Institute for Politics. She then served as an intern from January to August of 2001 in the legislation department at Common Cause. Kendra Ann Crowley Kendra Ann Crowley began her political work experience as an undergraduate student at the George Washington University. when she took leave from a public health research position at the University of California. San Francisco to manage precinct and voter targeting for MoveOn’s 17-state Leave No Voter Behind program. She is expected to graduate in July of 2007. Institute for Politics. whose mission of the Institute is to promote the development of U. Following her tenure at Common Cause she continued her work on Campaign Finance Reform on Capitol Hill in the office of Representative Christopher Shays (R-4th/CT). Democracy & the Internet.D.org Political Action’s Call for Change campaign. Kendra moved to Lewiston Maine to serve on the field team of Chellie Pingree’s campaign for the Senate in 2002. Between elections she helped launch www. and a B. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET where he spent nearly ten years working in Europe and the USA designing and building contact management solutions for the corporate sector. Upon graduation from the George Washington University. Carol Darr has spent most of her career in national politics and government. a co-sponsor of the BCRA legislation. David Geilhufe has been in and out of nonprofits. Upon returning to DC she began work at the Alliance for Better Campaigns. Committee in 1988 and as Deputy Counsel to the Carter/Mondale Presidential Committee in 1980. a national non-profit and non-partisan advocacy group located in Washington DC.Litt in History from Christ’s College. Kendra was the Program Assistant at the Alliance for Better Campaigns until she returned to the George Washington University to pursue a Master of Arts in the Graduate School of Political Management. David Geilhufe Managing Partner. and a J. Catherine Geanuracos Data Analysis Consultant Catherine Geanuracos is a voter file data management and analysis consultant. online politics in a manner that upholds democratic values and increases citizen participation. a membership organization that works towards a more open and accountable government and was part of a successful effort to pass the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002. In September of 2001 she was hired as a member of the full-time Common Cause staff and worked as the program operations assistant until January of 2002. Cambridge University. technology and the private sector throughout his career. Berkeley and is currently based in Los Angeles. Democracy & the Internet Carol Darr is the director of the Institute for Politics. As part of Grassroots Campaigns. she also helped design and manage the field programs for Call for Change and Operation Democracy. Kendra was the volunteer coordinator and get out the vote coordinator for the 13 precincts in the towns of Lewiston and Auburn Maine. from the University of Memphis. CivicSpace Born and raised in Silicon Valley. open source. Carol Darr Director. She is a member of the Adjunct Faculty of The Graduate School of Political Management of the George Washington University. as well as The PAGE 110 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . In September of 2000 she began interning at The National Network for Youth. and her interests include GIS mapping and academic analysis of progressive political initiatives. He has founded non profits and open source projects.

EDI and cash management products that were licensed to 400+ banks nationwide for use by their commercial customers. and Association of Fundraising Professionals. the first Internet-based knowledge exchange. and NBC. Dave is a co-founder of two successful for-profit ventures. the ePhilanthropy Foundation. Sheeraz led a product management team at Digital Impact. He has also worked as a strategy consultant for McKinsey & Company. Before GetActive. and Redpoint Ventures. Haiti and the United States. He is an expert presenter at multiple industry events sponsored by such organizations as Politics Online. as well as in Edinburgh. International Asset Systems. Scotland. the local chapter of an international community of mobile technology experts and enthusiasts. which connected people who had questions to people who had answers. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET Politics-to-Go-Handbook: A Guide to Using Mobile Technology in Politics and The Political Consultants’ Online Fundraising Primer. Philosophy and Classics at Messiah College. She worked as a writer. NPR. software engineering. com. Julie also studied at Keble College. Clay’s work at KnowPost included building a community of over 100. quality assurance and professional consulting teams. including MSNBC. she studied Literature. He has many years of experience building online communities and has played an integral role at the forefront of Internet technology. In addition. DC. Under Sheeraz’s leadership. Ukraine. Past clients have included Intel. Prior to North Tower.Washington. including starting and directing three of his own companies. Fox. Julie previously served as the assistant to the president of ROME Foundation International. he formed DEMPAC with Webb campaign grassroots leaders to develop an online tool connecting volunteers with local candidates. Sheeraz heads the Company’s partner program. Chapter. Julie is a founding board member of Young Champions. Dave Greenberg CiviCRM Dave Greenberg has 25 years of experience in the application software. Clay founded KnowPost. and the Association of Fundraising Professionals . As a college student. Blue State Digital Clay Johnson is a founding partner at Blue State Digital and is responsible for business development at Blue State Digital. Howard Dean’s presidential campaign. North Tower Technologies provides web application and eCommerce engineering services to a variety of industries. DEMPAC Dave Hannigan served as Field Desk Co-Captain for the Webb campaign. Clay Johnson Founding Partner. Clay was the lead national software engineer behind the online grassroots organizing technology for Gov. he directed the development and delivery of a suite of electronic commerce. and media. electronic commerce and banking industries. Inc. where he served both nonprofit and for-profit organizations. where she was a University Fellow.000 people who participated in this information exchange. She has appeared in national and international newspapers. She co-authored Putting Online Influentials to Work for Your Campaign. Mr. from The George Washington University. His management of GetActive resulted in the attainment of over 800 clients. org where he lead the product design effort for their online donation and email broadcast services. He built numerous Sheeraz Haji President. Sheeraz is an active member of the Board of Directors for Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network (N-TEN). and a co-founder of Mobile Monday DC. She received an M. Greenberg was a senior consultant to Groundspring. a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing health care in emerging countries. editor and program manager for international initiatives in Korea. Clay’s interest in knowledge management also led him to work at Ask Jeeves as their lead syndication engineer. At MAXXUS.. As President of Convio. magazines. Dave managed the product design. NTEN. in 1985 where he served as Vice President for Product Development (MAXXUS was acquired by Sterling Commerce in 1995). Prior to co-founding CiviCRM. Sheeraz has a BS from Brown University and an MS from Stanford University.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. a provider of online direct marketing solutions for enterprises. Hewlett Packard. As an undergraduate. Dave co-founded MAXXUS. In February 2007. Before starting Blue State Digital. as well as the customer billing systems. Oxford University. She was a Pew Younger Scholar of Literature at the University of Notre Dame. the integration of the two foremost eCRM software and services vendors within the nonprofit sector. Inc. CSPAN.A. Inc. a non-profit that addresses youth health issues. former CEO and cofounder of GetActive Software Sheeraz Haji is leading CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 111 . Convio. GetActive become a leading provider of relationship management software for membership organizations. National Council for Nonprofit Associations. PBS. CBS. David Hannigan Co-founder.

His article on the ‘Internet and the Future of Democracy’ awarded him first prize from Ohio State University’s national public policy essay competition. Adfero Group Jeff is Managing Director of Adfero Group. interest groups and Fortune 500 companies. and our services have expanded to include online donation processing. org. He recognized a need for better software that could streamline a campaign’s operations. CTIA and NFIB. email hosting. and other prominent media outlets. In 2003 he received the Golden Dot Award for best congressional campaign site. writing on a range of topics from politics to schools to crime. Jeff served as the primary online communications consultant at the House Republican Conference under former Chairman U. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET software programs. Jonathan is a Sagner Fellow and a frequent speaker and correspondent on the Internet in civic life. J. for Congressman Mike Michaud (ME-02). Jonathan has written extensively on the role of the Internet in American elections. Some of the clients Jeff works closely with include the U. AARP. Mr. TIME. Founder and President of Liberty Concepts.S. Clay has been featured in the New York Times Magazine. compliance reporting and general consulting. As On Deck’s creative director. a Washington-based political graphic design firm that works with Democratic candidates to create and deploy strong. He later founded a political consulting firm offering services in data management. A frequent speaker and often interviewed expert on the intersection of public affairs and the Internet. Jonathan co-founded letnaderdebate. Jr. As a former editor at the NetElection project. DEMPAC Dave Leichtman is a specialist in online community development and helped manage the Webb campaign’s CRM database and other web tools. He specializes in strategy development. The Chicago Tribune. Chamber of Commerce. Ian holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from Villanova University and a master’s degree in political management from the George Washington University. Ian Koski Founder and Creative Director. share and transmit information between campaign staff.INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Jonathan Karush Founder/President.” Jeff also organized efforts to improve PAGE 112 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . Jeff’s insights have been featured by the USA Today. Katz started that project and founded CompleteCampaigns. a nonpartisan think tank that promotes management reform in federal.com Ben Katz began his career as a political operative in San Diego. and online voting.S. as well as the creation of integrated campaigns for clients. Jeff Mascott Managing Director. the nation’s leading provider of civic and campaign websites. Ian had previously been a reporter for several newspapers in New York and suburban Philadelphia.gov website praised by The Congressional Management Foundation as “pushing the boundaries of what is possible for Congress on the web. and local government. Liberty Concepts Jonathan Karush. voter tracking. The company has grown to serve over 700 clients in nearly every state in the nation. he formed DEMPAC with Webb campaign grassroots leaders to develop an online tool connecting volunteers with local candidates. Senate. state. Jonathan has a B.000 phone calls to undecided voters. Mazda.000 people to write letters and make 50. fundraising. clear and precise visual identities. including associations. The Washington Post. CNN. and constituent management products for elected officials. he has also been interviewed on CNN.com. Prior to Adfero.com. CompleteCampaigns.C. cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with distinction in political science and is completing his Masters degree at Harvard University. In 2000. Dave Leichtman Co-founder. Chronicle for Higher Education and USA Today. website content management. including one that enabled over 300. Ian was the director of public policy and communications at The Performance Institute. He has the distinction of designing the original GOP. Benjamin Katz Founder/President. Rep. consults to democratic campaigns and numerous high profile nonprofits. He worked for a variety of campaigns ranging from city council through U. In February 2007. Jonathan has consulted to over 75 federal campaigns for strategy and Internet development. Katz sought to provide tools that would make it easy for every campaign to effectively manage. Entrepreneur. He is an advisor for the New Progressive Coalition and is a founder of Georgia for Democracy. On Deck Communications Studio LLC Ian Koski is the founder and creative director of On Deck Communication Studio LLC. Ian builds strategic and creative Internet campaigns and designs highly effective direct mail pieces. National Public Radio. one of the infamous ‘nader-trader’ vote swapping websites.S. Watts. In 2000.A. Before founding On Deck in 2005.

INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Woodstock. Impact and Slammin’ Rap.com). Mr. Shapiro is credited with producing the 72 hour live Webcast of Woodstock99. Night Flight. CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS | PAGE 113 . Shapiro created. She has also created Internet strategies. a history of NBC’s Today Show. He also produced numerous feature films including. the largest Internet live music event in history.C. at the time. Callie. a joint venture with BMG. Quinn Founder. Florida. the leading provider of e-communications technology to elected officials throughout the country. trade and transportation. on Capitol Hill. Laura worked with Alder Consulting to help nonprofits create Internet strategies. Shapiro began his career as an independent concert promoter and manager. Shapiro launched ArtistEnt and Patronet.C. In 1974 he became president of International Harmony. the soundtrack which contained the original now famous Mazda song. D. Prior to joining Adfero. This is Today. Nick advised the Congressman on issues relating to appropriations. Shapiro is one of the pioneers of constituent ecommunications and one of the first to use Email as a form of mass marketing constituent communication for elected officials. a film production and distribution company that released cult classics such as TunnelVision. Shapiro’s diverse background as an author. Pink Floyd’s Live at Pompeii. Mr. Quinn directs Idealware’s research and writing to provide candid reports and articles about nonprofit software. Jimi Plays Berkley. select appropriate software. Jenn. Prior to Idealware. Country Music. He and his wife. A native of the Washington. Inc. in Political Science from the University of Central Florida. iConstituent Stuart Shapiro is President of iConstituent. and then build sophisticated websites on a limited budget. including. iTownHall telephone meetings. These original series included MetalHead. Christopher worked as an Information Systems auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP where he was involved in the implementation of the ERP solution SAP at a Fortune 500 company. which series ran for 8 years on the USA Network. with cofounders Danny Goldberg and Todd Rundgren. D. producer and director include the DVD and book titled. Chris became more deeply involved in politics in 2002 serving as a campaign treasurer and fundraiser for a state representative. “Zoom Zoom Zoom. Nick holds a B.com and Firstlook. Mondo New York. and the Sex Pistols’ DOA. Laura S. Nick is an avid angler and lives with his wife. Christopher served as Finance Director for Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ). He is originally from Orlando. Comedy’s Dirtiest Dozen which helped launch the careers of Tim Allen and Chris Rock. foreign affairs. elected officials and politicians. a book and DVD-ROM featuring the best of Flash art from the Internet. Laura S. Dance International. Neil Young’s Rust Never Sleeps. and SMS text messaging. area. The Company provides a comprehensive suite of solutions and software for mass email communications. Christopher Massicotte Director of Sales and Marketing. Shapiro is a founder of several Internet communication ventures. directed and produced the award winning series. and J-Men Forever. AskDrMao. Nick works with all congressional clients on projects ranging from website development to constituent relationship management.com. and as a volunteer field director on Pennsylvania Governor Rendell’s 2002 campaign. one of the first Internet artist music subscription services. as well as resolving all technical issues. where he also studied computer science and marketing. data. Laura is a frequent speaker and writer on nonprofit technology topics. Mr. and Flash Frames. Stuart Shapiro President. Mr.” Shapiro pioneered Music Video Magazines in 1989 and produced and distributed them through VPI/Harmony. Jeff is an alumnus of the University of Maryland. Just prior to joining NGP Software as the Director of Sales and Marketing in 2005. He has a degree in Accounting from Villanova University and a Masters degree in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania. and Only The Strong.A. defense. the Senate and numerous other state legislatures.com. Mr. Christopher has an extensive business and political background. including members of Congress and state legislatures. Mr. websites. (iconstituent. Bob Marley’s Reggae Sunsplash. for the House of Representatives. While there. NGP Software. area. Nick Shaper Adfero Group At Adfero Group. Nick served as Legislative Assistant and Systems Administrator to Congressman Ric Keller of Florida. reside in the Washington. In 2000. selected software. Idealware As Idealware’s Founder and Director. He then fulfilled the role of IT Auditor at the University of Pennsylvania where he concentrated on improving the protection of private information of patients at the University’s five hospitals and for the University’s student body. designed interfaces and conducted user research for multi-million dollar software and Website implementations with such companies as Accenture and iXL. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET online communication between members of the House of Representatives and their constituents.

including CTIA. Aaron was one of the first contributing developers to the Open Source content management system (CMS). information systems. After building websites for various theatres as side projects. Aaron also manages the specialized hosting platform Advomatic offers. Jon Thorsen is vice president. Aaron Welch Co-Founder. Koch Industries and Congressional accounts. He also worked in Government Relations with Copeland Lowery & Jacquez and on the Central Valley Republican Victory Campaign. Adfero Group Ken is Vice President of Adfero Group. At Georgetown. donor relationship management. Prior to working at Adfero. DemocracyInAction. Jon spent his career in higher education. the leading provider of software as a service for the nonprofit community.S. Strategic Solutions. which brought together development research. Jon spent five years at the national headquarters of the American Red Cross. PAGE 114 | CRM: THE NEW LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF POLITICS . Always finding new ways to streamline development processes and infrastructure management tasks. which focuses on highly available. Virginia and is engaged to his fiancée. and donor recognition and stewardship. Institute American in France. Advomatic Aaron’s background was originally in the live performance and arts arena. Ken Ward Vice President. Erin. He coordinates the planning. He holds a political science degree from Lewis & Clark College in Portland. He earned his BA and MLIS degrees from the University of Wisconsin. Shortly after his work on the Dean campaign ended. and The Non-Profit Times. There he started programming show control software for automation systems and custom hardware interfaces. Corporate Giving Watch. Aaron spends most of his time developing and running the business side of things. He also created the Coalition’s email newsletter and online advocacy programs. he now lives in Arlington. he ensures that Advomatic can continue to grow at the astonishing rate it has in the past few years. APRA Connections. he went on to develop web applications for a variety of institutions including the Museum of Glass: International Center for Contemporary Art and Dean for America’s Iowa Campaign. Shapiro is a graduate of Union College. CivicSpace. WA. Aaron’s specialty is integrating external applications with Drupal.org Jason Zanon is the Director of Outreach & Development for DemocracyInAction. having done so with many broadcast email and CRM systems for a wide variety of clients. DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET Mr. with a minor in Mathematics from Georgetown University in Washington. he went on to found Advomatic. Ken has a unique blend of Capitol Hill insight and Internet knowledge. strategic solutions for Kintera Inc. Originally from Newport Beach. Jason Zanon Direcotor of Outreach & Development. in Computer Science. Milwaukee and worked as a college librarian and instructor before joining the development profession in 1987. In his spare time he scuba dives and eats fire.C. deployment and ongoing efforts of most Adfero accounts. California. Kintera Inc. Prior to joining Kintera. where he eventually served as Interim Executive Director. and received the APRA Service Award in 1999. Civicspace is a distribution of the powerful Drupal CMS and his work often involved parallel development for both systems. He cut his nonprofit teeth in the development office of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. where he created the development resources team. He has built a variety of integral modules for Drupal. Ore. Jon is a former president of the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA).INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS. Ken worked as a Legislative Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary for Rep. Prior to joining the Red Cross. holding a BFA in Performance Production from Cornish College of the Arts.. Ken earned his B. accidentally transitioning his career into nonprofit technology and online communications. Jason has dabbled in freelance journalism and nannying children. Foundation Reporter. government and foundation grants. NPRA. He is a frequent presenter at local and national conferences of APRA. in Seattle. Outside of the office. At Advomatic. he served as director of development research at Princeton University during a comprehensive fundraising campaign that raised over one billion dollars. Ken served as the captain of their National Championship winning sailing team.org. D. He began his career working in live theatre in the Pacific Northwest as a sound designer and production engineer. and his articles on fundraising have appeared in such journals as CASE Currents. highly scalable clustered Drupal hosting. which gives him unparalleled insight into the needs of Adfero clients. CASE and AFP. Most recently. Ken has spearheaded the development of Adfero’s Constituent Relationship Management tools for Congress. Ken enjoys both golfing and sailing. An inveterate traveler. Richard Pombo. Jon Thorsen Vice President. and Worcester Academy. as well as a few patches to the core system.

1003 ipdi@ipdi.The Institute for Politics Democracy & the Internet The Graduate School of Political Management The George Washington University 805 21st St. NW.ORG G R A D UAT E S C H O O L POLITICAL MANAGEMENT .org INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS DEMOCRACY & THE INTERNET T H E G E O R G E WA S H I N G T O N U N I V E R S I T Y THE OF WWW.994. Suite 401 Washington.IPDI.. DC 20052 202.

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