Back to Notes

eAdvocacy - New tools for extending reach

  • project message
  • connect with new allies

eOrganizing – tools for mobilizing

  • grow relationships
  • build trust

show of hands: most have websites frequency of updates – mostly less than once a month Most have email lists Few have multiple lists

eAdvocacy today


  • good options for email messaging
  • still the killer app – on your list are the people who care
  • still more important than websites, social networking tools
  • for large quantities, need hosted solution – spam filters block outlook/yahoo mass mailing
  • deliverability issues a threat


  • web publishing is easier but still not simple
  • range of platforms in confusing
  • integration of tools is unsolved problem – content management system, hosted email providers, letters to congress, online video
  • setup still requires a lot of work, maintenance less so

3rd party services that you can drop into your website

  • Rich media – odeo (podcasting), not youtube (video), flickr (pictures)
  • Don’t build technology onto your website – use 3rd party
  • Meetup, evite - meetings; - calendar
  • Volunteer for change – volunteer and event management – feedback/rating – with phone support
  • All of these are corporate services – corporations want your data – esp the free ones; if you’re controversial using yahoo, evite, they will cancel you without asking – yahoo killed 100+ antiwar groups
  • Things still go out of business
  • They offer value if you can incorporate them in your terms

Emerging tech

  • Blogging – accessible to non-techies; rss changes information flow
  • Cellphones becoming more critical; text messaging
  • Social networking (myspace, livejournal get huge traffic) – myspace gets 80% of income through advertisers – rupert murdoch’s

eAdvocacy Themes - changes & challenges

  • traditional web actions tools aren’t really reaching decision makers – none of the capitol reps get the "write your congressman" email anymore – they don’t believe they’re real - don’t get your hopes up about web action centers – but still a way to engage your base
  • online petitions – the ultimate way to build your mailing lists, but ends up in the dumpster
  • reps care about visits, phone calls, fax & email last
  • email is getting harder to deliver – spam filters; it’s easier to get blacklisted as a spammer if you email out to 100 people
  • 3rd-party services have some essential delivery conduit – pay your $19/month to npo groups – eg for blasts, but metrics not that strong
  • It’s all about the data, not your software – primary goal of eadvocacy is to build a mobilizable database of supporters
  • The value of data dwarfs cost of technology

Rules of thumb

  • Know where your data lives and back it up
  • Know how you can migrate your data
  • Privacy and security of your data is so critical

Unsolved problems

  • Online and offline data integration
  • Platform interoperability barely exists (e.g try making your email tool talk to your supporter database)
  • Skilled practitioners and trainers – capacity-building us more important than new tech

Community technology foundation of California helps

People we love

  • Democracy in action – email blasting and web action tools – email blasting and web action tools – but not a full crm (constituency relationship mgmt) – also a nonptofit $100-200
  • NPOgroups / Electric Embers – discussion groups and email listservs
  • Volunteer for change – volunteer and event management
  • – Café Press done well, and progressive – sellng products on line – "you make more than we do"


  • Nothing’s turnkey
  • Critical challenges remain
  • It’s about data, not the tools

Other resources