Why Political Campaigning Tools Are Essential for Robust Organizing

Political campaigning in America has come a long way. In the first American elections, candidates engaged in door-to-door canvassing and newspaper ads. These are still effective tactics for candidates, but campaigns today have a new development to leverage: digital political campaigning tools. These tools (like Impactive) have helped campaigns effectively organize volunteers and conduct quick, impactful outreach to voters.

Here’s an overview of the impact that campaigning tools can make, and why these tools will be increasingly important in the future: 

The Impact of Campaigning Tools

In the years leading up to 2020, digital campaigning tools were developing quickly and already in use. However, the COVID-19 pandemic created an urgent need for campaigns to mobilize supporters and voters online. Traditional canvassing and in-person events were out of the question, and campaigns and organizations were reimagining mobilization strategies. The general use of digital tools to reach supporters skyrocketed in the past year, including political campaigning tools. 

Mauree Turner’s campaign for the Oklahoma House of Representatives is one example of a digital-first campaign strategy. The Turner campaign’s original plan was to knock on doors and host in-person events. Using Impactive, Turner’s campaign reached over 10,000 voters by adopting digital tactics like peer-to-peer and friend-to-friend texting. The end result was successful: Mauree Turner became the first publicly non-binary elected official in the United States and the first Muslim member of the Oklahoma Legislature. 

Even before the pandemic, texting friends and family to engage in collective action was a popular and extremely effective tactic to reach voters. In fact, Columbia Data Science Institute found that friend-to-friend texting by Impactive users had an 8 percentage point effect in getting voters to cast ballots in the 2018 midterm elections. This means that friend-to-friend texting can be as impactful as door-to-door canvassing, and campaigns should continue to leverage these digital approaches alongside traditional tactics. 

The Ongoing Need for Political Campaigning Tools

Regardless of ongoing changes in modern political campaigning, texting remains an evergreen tactic to reach supporters and voters. In both the 2018 and 2020 elections, Tech for Campaigns found that texting programs positively impacted voter turnout. Texting also increases accessibility to volunteer opportunities for supporters who are disabled or don’t have ready access to transportation to reach event sites. With political campaigning tools, volunteers can reach hundreds of eligible voters from the comfort of their homes.

Political campaigning tools can also offer the advantage of recorded, standardized data. Tools like Impactive allow volunteers to easily log the outcomes of conversations within a texting session. Administrators can quickly understand the effectiveness of their texting programs and download data reports for broader learnings about their campaigning strategy. In the fast-paced nature of the political world, campaigns need to respond quickly to various situations with the most effective strategy, and easy access to data is a must. 

A Checklist of Important Tool Features

So, what should campaigns look for in their search for political campaigning tools? Here are a few questions that organizers can consider:

  • Does the tool allow administrators to conduct supporter outreach and volunteer engagement on the same platform?
  • Does the tool integrate seamlessly with other important tools for organizing, like NGP VAN?
  • Does the tool offer a variety of texting tools, including broadcast, peer-to-peer, and friend-to-friend texting?
  • Does the tool promote the values of the campaign? 
  • Does the tool allow for flexibility, especially as strategies change? 

The best political campaigning tools, like Impactive, meet all of these needs.

Digital organizing tactics in 2020 expanded campaigns’ abilities to scale successfully, proving that these tools won’t be going anywhere. To stay effective in the constantly changing political landscape, adopt digital campaigning tools for a robust organizing strategy. 

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