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Musings, tips, and thoughts from the Organizer team

Ellen Perfect

Recent Posts

Fighting Disease Through the Power of Canvassing

Posted by Ellen Perfect on Aug 9, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Decades of research from a group called Eliminate Dengue has resulted in a new means of controlling mosquito-borne illnesses that afflict much of the world and are becoming an increasingly widespread problem with climate change. But while the science behind this new strategy is groundbreaking, so are the strategies the research team used to ensure that this project would succeed in local communities.

Topics: Campaigns & Politics

Insights from the DNC: Tech and Politics Panel

Posted by Ellen Perfect on Jul 29, 2016 11:00:00 AM

To kick off the DNC, Organizer hosted a panel where the stars of political technology discussed the rise of a new era in politics and voter engagement. Chris Kelly, Lucy Flores, and Brent Blackaby sat down with attendees for a discussion that covered impact in digital engagement, campaign budgeting, and the future of technology and progressive politics. Read some of our panelists major insights here:

Topics: Campaigns & Politics, Field Consulting, Labor Organizing

Three Ways Your Paid Canvass is Losing You Money

Posted by Ellen Perfect on Jul 28, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Many campaigns are fueled by the enthusiasm of passionate volunteers, but as the scale increases, it becomes difficult to sustain a mass mobilization effort on volunteer time alone. For campaigns with the resources to hire a team, paid canvassing has proved an effective supplement to existing efforts. But while paid canvassing is a great way to give your field team the boost they need to run a great outreach program, but it can also be costly and open campaigns up to a huge financial drain. To prevent this, campaigns need to recognize the issues that cause low return on investment for these outreach efforts.

Topics: Campaigns & Politics, Field Consulting

A Field Manager's Life on Digital Organizing

Posted by Ellen Perfect on Jul 27, 2016 11:00:00 AM
Field managers and staff spend hours each day going above and beyond to enter data, check for errors, and make sure they've done their best for their candidate. But what would a campaign workday look like if all of that was done for you?

Topics: Campaigns & Politics, Field Consulting, Labor Organizing

Gathering Data from at-Risk Populations

Posted by Ellen Perfect on Jul 26, 2016 11:00:00 AM


Data is the driving force behind the globalized world, but gathering comprehensive information can be a complicated process when non-traditional or dangerous living situations come into play. As we discussed in our previous piece on big data, While online data gathering is useful for people with consistent internet access and an incentive to opt in to sharing their information, it is a method that overlooks under-documented communities. Until global connectivity is greatly advanced, the most reliable method of gathering data is a face to face campaign. Although traditional canvassing strategies can be helpful in guiding this process, there are a number of essential extra steps that make these operations successful.

Topics: Campaigns & Politics, Advocacy & Fundraising

How to convince people to donate to your campaign

Posted by Ellen Perfect on Jul 5, 2016 11:00:00 AM



Donations make the politics world go round, but even candidates with heavy voter support could be pressed for finances when it comes to taking their campaign to the next level. This is because a vote and a donation are two very different things. People know they have to vote for somebody, and doing so doesn't cause them to lose anything. But the promise of their candidate being elected isn't always enough to convince the average person to put their money where their mouth is. You have to convert people from passive supporters to active champions of your campaign--and that takes real community building and a deeper sense of trust between campaign and voter. The best way to achieve this is by reshaping the campaign script to incorporate more trust-building elements:


Open with transparency

Transparency and honesty are two very different things. Being honest simply demands that you not lie, which is more of a basic rule than something that will take you above and beyond as a fundraiser. Transparency, on the other hand, involves disclosing something most groups would not as a demonstration of how little your organization has to hide. Sharing information about what campaign funds are used for and making a tangible connection between their donation and something a campaign absolutely needs will help voters visualize the impact of their donation. Even if you operate under relatively high administrative costs for seemingly simple items, people will appreciate you not hiding your intentions and you will set yourself apart from candidates with shady financials or questionable use of donations.

Topics: Campaigns & Politics

Understanding Digital Data Security

Posted by Ellen Perfect on Jul 1, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Data leaks and security breaches have become a common topic in the news lately, with victims ranging from celebrities to the Democratic National Convention. But while the impact of information insecurity has become a hot button issue, there has been little conversation on how these incidents can be prevented.

From corporations to political campaigns, many groups rely upon outside software to turn their data into actionable information. This means that almost every organization has a stake when it comes to conversations on information security. Effective evaluation of the security applied by third party software systems can ensure that your data is only accessed by the individuals and organizations you trust.

To understand how to secure your data, you first need to understand what software companies do with your information. Within a third party software, the data management process generally looks something like this:

Topics: Campaigns & Politics, Field Consulting, Sales & Direct Marketing, Labor Organizing, Advocacy & Fundraising

How to Build a Deep Canvass

Posted by Ellen Perfect on Jun 27, 2016 11:00:00 AM

As we learned in the first post in this series, deep canvassing is making waves as a revolutionary tactic for being truly convincing at the door and increasing return on investment in outreach campaigns of any kind, but actually running one is more nuanced than simply sending a field team out with a pitch script. This type of outreach is a multi-step process that, when done right, allows the voter to convince themselves. The foundation of deep canvassing is the use of active listening techniques to build empathy and a strong connection with the person being engaged. The canvasser does not follow a strict script, and instead is trained to capture and confirm outcomes with the person they’re conversing with. These conversations take longer, but can deliver significant improvements in impact depending on the topic.

Topics: Campaigns & Politics, Labor Organizing, Advocacy & Fundraising

The People Big Data Forgot: Bringing Data Gathering Back Down to Earth

Posted by Ellen Perfect on Jun 24, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Data is the lifeblood of meaningful analysis, and big data has allowed us to achieve understanding of human issues on an unprecedented scale. It has revolutionized the way we think about people and meeting their needs on a mass level, but it also relies heavily on the ability to rapidly gather enormous amounts of information. Big data runs on everything from your browsing tendencies to your shopping choices, most easily gathered by online sources. It is in essence a single, massive and ongoing survey of what you want and need conducted through digital technology. While this may not be an issue for communities that are at the forefront of modern tools, it poses an inclusivity challenge for those who cannot yet easily plug into to this massive information network.

Topics: Campaigns & Politics, Advocacy & Fundraising

Union Organizing in Right to Work States

Posted by Ellen Perfect on Jun 23, 2016 11:00:00 AM


Labor organizing is already a challenge, but in states with right to work laws in place, it can seem nearly impossible to mobilize members and gain enough resources to create change. In the face of this difficulty, unions need to find better ways to engage the member bases they do have, and attract new members to the cause.

Topics: Labor Organizing

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