In recent years, the economic crisis in Europe accelerated a fiscal, social, and geographical divide in the French city of Marseille. Patrick Mennucci, a left-wing candidate native to the city, made waves in early November after advancing to the second round of voting only 300 votes ahead of the third candidate—a member of the Prime Minister’s cabinet. When you consider the national notoriety and greater access to media Mennucci was up against, his victory over the third candidate is nothing short of remarkable. The team at La Netscouade attributes the win to more effective field organizing and mobilization strategy using NationBuilder features and analytics.
Mennucci's biggest opponent in March is incumbent Jean-Claude Gaudin, a member of the right-wing conservative party—UMP (Union pour un Mouvement Populaire)—the party of former President Sarkozy. Let's take a closer look at the tactics Mennucci's team used to inspire voters from the left so effectively, many are wondering how Gaudin's team will compete.
Election days are big for us at NationBuilder. From school board and city council races, to mayoral elections, thousands of candidates were voted into new positions earlier this month.
According to the Center for American Women and Politics, in 2013 only 21.8% of women hold political office in the United States. That number rings extremely low, illustrating our need for more women to represent us at the local and national level.
From the November 5th elections, I've read many inspirational stories about amazing women candidates and their journeys to positions in civil service. Today, I've profiled three prolific women who will soon occupy positions as a School Board member in California, the first Socialist City Council member in Seattle, and a new mayor in Dayton, Ohio.
Many of our political customers in Europe are having their conferences this month, so last night I headed to LAX to hop on a red eye to London. It wasn’t until I was on the shuttle from parking lot C that I realized my passport had expired. Which is how I ended up at the Passport Agency office at the State Department in Westwood early this morning.
Today is 9/11. After walking past the Homeland Security van parked outside, through the metal detectors, and into the DMV-style waiting room, I sat down to wait for my number to be called. Instead of numbers, I heard names. One name after another coming from the tiny TV set. And then at 7:28 am, a minute of silence. The exact moment, twelve years ago, that the North Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed.
I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about our customers and national security in the last week since the horrifying revelations that, in an effort to spy on potential terrorists, elements of the intelligence community in the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have engineered backdoors into core encryption standards relied upon by every internet user.
These encryption standards are the bedrock of internet security, and the basis of the public’s trust in the internet. Undermining this trust doesn’t just put secure bank transactions or the free flow of commerce at risk. It puts the global spread of democracy at risk -- a far more important long-term national security objective than catching a few terrorists.
We all have a story to tell. Let me give you a little of mine: When I was 18, I graduated from high school and didn't know where to go from there. I knew college wasn't for me quite yet and I knew working as a waitress and staying in Tulsa, Oklahoma wasn't the right move either. I was inspired and motivated, but didn't know where to direct my energy.
This was in 2007. That February, Obama had just broken into the national spotlight announcing his run for presidency. I was curious, so I signed up to volunteer in Chicago. I was fairly active in politics growing up. My father was an elected official for a brief period of time. I had an idea of how politics worked. When I joined the Obama campaign, I didn't really know what I was getting into, other than that I was embarking on an adventure. During my first week, I quickly learned the ropes of a national campaign but also realized there was more to it: we had to tell our story. I didn't even know I had one worth mentioning.
The "story of self" has been used for many years for persuasion, organizing and content creation. But where did it come from?
Here at NationBuilder, we get really excited about new sites launching on the platform. We email them to each other, tweet about them, take screen shots of their homepages and gush over how they keep getting better and better.
This week my inbox was filled with links to beautiful, powerful new websites. Here's a look at a few of them.
The cliché of governments as overwhelming and impenetrable bureaucracies is as old as government itself. It’s not for nothing: too often the same governmental protocols that are meant to encourage active citizenship actually end up discouraging participation and engagement. How can governments be truly responsive to citizens if they don’t engage citizen voices?
Government on the web is seldom any different. Whether serving as dumping grounds for reports, unnavigable messes of links and content, or generic electioneering platforms, sites for governments and politicians frequently lack information and tools that are most intuitive to citizens.
So it’s pretty easy to say that if we really want to encourage citizen engagement through the web, we need to make simple and accessible tools for citizens to use. And to do this, we need to understand how people actually use the internet.
NationBuilder represents the solution to many of these problems.
I’m a government geek. I joined NationBuilder back in 2011 after several years in city government and City Hall journalism (and founding Gov 2.0 Radio) and immediately put together proposals for how governments could use our community building software. Flash forward to early this month, when the the first customers of our brand new government edition started launching their websites. I was giddy with excitement.
There are 90,000 government bodies in the U.S. alone - and with NationBuilder Government they no longer have to spend tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars for web, CRM and communications technology.
If you work in government, it’s likely you’ve had one of these painful experiences:
- You just got elected and all the constituent software your predecessors were using is ridiculously bad.
- You want to redo your outdated city website, but traditional vendors want $25,000 a year for a new contract.
- You need to manage email newsletters and social media across a team of communicators but stitching together a bunch of different solutions just doesn’t make sense.
Our government edition solves these problems.
We often get questions from our political customers who are just launching on NationBuilder about how to most effectively leverage the platform's features. Here is a case study of an unlikely municipal candidate who used NationBuilder's digital field features to organize his way to a decisive 62 percent win.
Michael Tubbs grew up in Stockton, California with a single teenage mother and an incarcerated father. In high school he earned a full scholarship to Stanford where he graduated with honors in June of 2012. During his last year there, Michael decided to run for office in his hometown.
In November he beat an incumbent candidate with strong local recognition to become the youngest council member in the history of the city. Here's how NationBuilder helped him do it:
Michael was 21 years old when he announced his campaign and he wasn't recognized as a legitimate candidate at first. "No one took him seriously and we realized that we needed to go directly to voters," said campaign manager Nicholas Hatten. They mapped precinct lists with NationBuilder's turf cutter and used them to walk the district every weekend. "We were walking from the primary up until election day and sometimes twice a week. Compared to other platforms, NationBuilder's turf cutting feature was far faster and easier to use. That means the world when you're walking every weekend and rushing to get things done. That's valuable time you can use to coordinate volunteers instead."
During the primary, the campaign organized a group of about 15 of Michael's Stanford classmates to make calls to voters. "I admit, I was a bit frightened about the logistics but it was easy to do using the NationBuilder tools," said Hatten. "As the volunteers were calling people they were able to enter the level of support and that made it a really smooth process."
Three Miss America contestants ran for office this past November. Only one was elected. Starting this month, Lauren Kealohilani Cheape, who won the title of Miss Hawai'i in 2011, will represent the state's 45th District in the House.
Lauren and her family have a history on the Hawaiian islands that goes back 100 years before the state became part of the US in 1959. In 1910, her great-grandfather started Peterson's Upland Farm, which is still run by her family and supplies fresh eggs to the local community.
Lauren's strategy for winning her seat in the state legislature involved staying close to her roots. "I delivered eggs from our farm door to door and talked to people," said Lauren. "It was a truly grassroots effort. Making those personal connections was what made the difference in my campaign."
One of our favorite Southern California Public radio stations, KPCC, aired a story yesterday about how integrated online and offline organizing with NationBuilder was able to make the difference in some of California's closest November races.
NationBuilder President Joe Green was interviewed about how campaigns are using NationBuilder to more effectively communicate with voters through multiple channels including email, text messaging, social media and good old fashioned canvassing and phone banking.
The segment also focuses on NationBuilder's role in three of California's Assembly races.