From presidential to local advocacy campaigns, we are seeing a quick pivot to digital-based strategies now that field organising is not a viable option (and for who knows how long).
Luckily, the political tech industry is well prepared, and there are a lot of well-proven effective services and powerful tools available to meet the challenges emerging from this shift.
These are difficult times, but it’s great to see so many people and organisations working to find digital alternatives to in-person activities. However, we’ve noticed an incipient trend that worries us a bit - it seems that some people think that “digital organising” means building your own app. Of course, there's more to it than that, and we wanted to share some of our thoughts for those that are thinking of diving into the exciting world of launching your own app:
Succeeding in this enterprise is hard. In fact, it’s almost impossible, and not because your app isn’t great. It’s because it’s a crowded field, and the window of effective attention you could get for creating momentum is significantly difficult to achieve if you don’t have a lot of resources. Even if you do have a lot of resources, you still might come up short. A good example is how Biden’s campaign team is struggling with getting even 5K downloads for the Team Joe Campaign App.
Will your app be one of the exceptions and succeed? Do you have a solid network of people willing to download the app and use it? Are your people numerous and active enough to ensure you are getting a good ROI? If yes, please go ahead, if you’re sure there’s a justifiable need for it.
Use what works and already exists. There are great, effective, and proven solutions available on the market that will highly reduce the risk and add tremendous value based on accumulated experience. MyActionCenter, for example, is an app we developed to help organisations supercharge their digital organising capacity through distributed organising that includes a whole range of available actions from recruitment, to volunteering, to sharing, to fundraising, etc.
- It might be better to see what networks already exist that help building relationships, are focused on how relationships are changing in these times, and devise organising strategies offline and online based on that, or getting creative with protest. (And whatever you decide to roll out, make sure you test and optimise!)
The bottom line? Make sure to really think it through and consider all the potential “more boring” possibilities. Trust us, we’ve been there and want to save you from making some of the mistakes we’ve made.