Magic is a long shot. Bet on innovation instead.
Technology is the equalizer against bigger, better-funded opponents. Winning campaigns innovate faster.
What holds back Democratic tech innovation? Why do progressive tech startups struggle to reach the groups that most need their solutions? What can speed the flow of innovation to campaigns?
- Gatekeepers who recommend the most lucrative rather than the best campaign apps.
- Expensive marketing and conference fees that make it hard for startups to get visibility.
- Misguided funding to re-invent apps that already exist.
- An impartial source, independent of any financial considerations. to appraise new apps.
- Lack of a software distribution channel to provide campaigns apps from different vendors.
- A shared resource to train and support campaigns on apps from different vendors.
These challenges will take time to fix. In the meantime here are ten innovative apps to review. DemLabs has no investment in any of these vendors. No promotional fee was paid to feature them. No commission. Nada. We believe they're innovative and worth attention.
Dharma Platform is an affordable, flexible canvassing app that even works without connectivity. Its point-and-click interface makes it easy to quickly set up data collection forms. Choose from a range of inputs, from simple numeric, multiple choice, and currency types, to more complex barcode, image, and GPS formats. It can also verify participants’ identity or consent by capturing their signature on your device.
DiveIn helps find local volunteer opportunities and events, connect with local nonprofits, and share stories that inspire action. It helps users find local opportunities to do good right based on the causes that appeal to them.
Empower Engine offers campaign maps integrated with the Democratic data vendors. Campaigns use the platform to map model scores, track voter contact, and coordinate efforts. Organizers volunteers and funders use the platform to understand the campaign's strategy and operations.
Goods Unite Us is a free app and website that empowers consumers to vote with their wallets and revolutionizing how people shop. Users can browse the politics of over 4,000 brands and companies, including which politicians that company has given money to. It has over 150,000 monthly active users and a 4.7 star rating in the App Store. Details on how to invest in Goods Unite Us here.
Impact Slates empowers donors to bring about long-term change. It creates portfolios of 6-10 candidates (called Impact Slates) that are best positioned to flip seats in critical state legislature races. Donations are made with a single click and directed to vetted candidates in the most competitive districts. Impact Slates is starting in Virginia & Mississippi. Even small donations can shift a race as it enables campaigns to run digital ads or hire a field organizer.
Motivote reduces the drop-off between registering to vote and actually voting through behavioral 'nudges'. It helps would-be voters with the logistic, informational and confidence “micro barriers” that prevent them from voting. ("I missed the absentee ballot deadline, I'm confused, work was busy, I forgot.") Motivote brings together team-based accountability with friendly competition and incentivized plan-making.
Outvote empowers volunteers to organize their communities. Volunteers join their favorite campaigns or causes to find actions they can take to help. These include sending friends reminders to check their registration, get additional information, sending cold texts to voters, upload testimonials, share content on social media, street canvas and report back. Each action gives the volunteer a certain amount of points that can help increase their "rank" on the gamification platform. These points live on a leaderboard where volunteers can see their own activity and that of other volunteers and campaign staffers.
Politiscope strips away the unnecessary complexity of politics and empowers voters with raw, unbiased information about elected officials and the policies they support. It instills confidence in voters by educating them with factual, reliable, and easy-to-understand political information in a central location.
Strive is an affordable texting platform for grassroots organizing and movement building. It offers both broadcast and P2P style texting. Progressive campaigns and causes use Strive to capture, track, and activate supporters at scale. The platform includes customizable AI chatbots, unlimited dynamic fields for personalization, and cutting-edge targeting to help send the right messages to the right supporters.
TurnOut Nation helps activists identify friends who they can help register and vote, to keep track of those friend, support them, and know if they voted or not. It gives them the platform and tools to choose ten close friends or relatives rather than rely on cold calls and canvassing.
As Charles Darwin might say about politics: Campaigns that evolve survive and win.
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