In his post, “How 2020 Democrats Are Building Volunteer Armies: MobilizeAmerica is quickly becoming the go-to tool for campaigns and organizers to gather supporters” at The Daily Beast, Gideon Resnick reports on a potentially-powerful new tool for electing Democrats:
The Democratic Party is trying to build a volunteer army to match the one it has created for online giving, and so far, the results seem promising.
MobilizeAmerica, an online organizing platform that was founded in 2017 by two Democratic presidential campaign alums, has seen a major growth in usage so far in the 2020 Democratic primary. The platform gives campaigns and organizers a single venue to sign people up for canvassing, door-knocking, phone banking, and more. Already 14 current presidential campaigns and 881 overall organizations are actively using it, including the Democratic National Committee and a number of progressive groups, The Daily Beast has learned.
The events being posted on the site include a “Wine & Ring for Warren in Waterloo,” a “Phone Bank with Team Biden in Charleston County,” and a “Coffee Chat with Team Cory in Iowa City.”
Although those sound like fairly mundane campaign gatherings, they have been parlayed into larger political organizing forums. People participating are leaving their names, email addresses, and phone numbers, and are asked if they want to receive text messages with more information about events and how to stay involved. That data is not transferable between candidates or campaigns. But MobilizeAmerica has centralized a database of grassroots volunteers that has often proven cumbersome for candidates, campaigns, and committees to gather.
Resnick notes further,
Since MobilizeAmerica launched, 827,000 individuals have signed up for 1.27 million actions. And the platform has recently added a distributed organizing feature that lets volunteers create and manage their own events. That has allowed for the platform to play host to more than 6,700 watch parties with more than 39,000 signups around the first two presidential debates, and more are expected for the upcoming debate in September.
It has not quite reached the scale of ActBlue, a fundraising platform launched in 2004 that has revolutionized online giving for Democrats and progressives. But the goals are similarly lofty.
Cofounder Alfred Johnson explains that “putting all the data in one place in a single platform allows for campaigns to keep in better touch with their known supporters. If someone signs up to attend a rally, they could get follow-ups about participating in another volunteer event without the hassle of a campaign maintaining a list in a spreadsheet or elsewhere. And a supporter can opt in to provide feedback via text message about a rally they attended.”
Feedback would include automated text messages and emails to rate the process and make it better. Judging by the outcome, MobilizeAmerica performed well in its first test, the 2017 Virginia elections. In addition, the platform served 480 Democratic campaigns in the 2018 midterm elections, and they are primed for 2020. Resnick reports that, so far, the GOP, which prefers to “build systems around individual campaigns,” has no real equivalent.
As with all such tools, potential becomes power in the execution. But Democratic candidates and campaigns everywhere should take notice and investigate further how MobilizeAmerica can help them win elections.