When It Comes to Campaign Tools, Start with the Obvious
Political campaigns are pretty conservative when it comes to adopting new technology. This has left some campaigns behind, but for others this search for a silver shiny ball has made new technology a distraction for them. Whether you are building an advocacy or political campaign, a good place to start is to find useful campaign tools.
This is the ultimate starting place for obvious campaign tools. There are a ton of choices when it comes to voter files. You can dig into this with other posts, but the bottom line is you need a good source of voter data to communicate with voters (where legal). Make sure the voter file is updated and easy to get data in and out of.
Most voter files have some kind of canvass campaign tools integration —you should use one or two.
Website with a Content Management System
A campaign website is no longer something you can set and forget. It is a core campaign tool. You need to commit to your campaign site, and make it a place that you’re updating to inform and connect with voters.
A good database is a core campaign tool for organizing. Whether you are gaining donors or collecting names of advocates, you need a CRM to manage it all. There are lots of good options out there. Pick one that integrates with your data source.
A Way to Call Voters
Calling systems are a must for political and advocacy campaigns. There are a lot of good ones. From traditional calling programs, like CallFire, to SMS systems like Hustle. Being able to connect with potential supporters en masse is something every campaign tool box needs.
Email still matters. Need a way to a/b test emails and measure your impact and approach when it comes to email? Try Mail Chimp, Constant Contact or a more integrated tool set, like EveryAction.
Merchant Banking Program
Your campaign won’t raise the amounts that Bernie or Hillary will, but like them, you will still need to be able to raise money online. Whether you use Act Blue or NGP VAN, fundraising integration is a must.
File Sharing Service
I am such a fan of cloud sharing services. From Google Drive to DropBox, these off-the-shelf campaign tools give security and flexibility.
Here is a list of obvious Campaign Tools:
- ActBlue: We love ActBlue. a nonprofit platform with built-in audience to raise money. It is a good place to start your campaign fundraising.
- Dropbox: The ubiquitous storage platform that lets you easily share documents and files.
- Drupal: A free, open source software that you can use as a platform for your website.
- Evernote: Keep organized, assign tasks, and keep those ever-growing campaign lists in one place. Evernote syncs on all your devices, so notes you make on your phone will update on your laptop as well.
- Filemaker: An old-school, off-the-shelf database that has grown up over the years and works well to run basic database functions.
- Google Drive: Share information and collaborate easily with your team.
- Instagram: Easy to use photo sharing social media channel.
- Istock: Don’t want to spend on stock photos? Istock has lots of options.
- Mailchimp: A straight-forward newsletter service that makes it easy to update your supporters.
- Photoshop: Don’t over do it, but this a solid service to fix problems with photos.
- Screenflow: A useful tool that can record all of the activities on your monitor to be used later.
- Skype: Having trouble setting up that in-person meeting with that big donor who keeps going to Europe? Set up a Skype call with them. Skype is a free chat and call service that you can make on your desktop or on your mobile device
- Tumblr: A microblogging platform with a built in audience.
- Vimeo: A solid video sharing service with the ability to make videos private.
- Wordpress: An easy, responsive web content management that’s cheap and quick to put together.
- YouTube: We've all used it, but YouTube is still one of the best video sharing websites there is.
Ready to go beyond the obvious campaign tools? Check out our full list of 100+ campaign tools below.