Campaigns Meet New Challenges
Running a political campaign is an expensive endeavor. It requires coordination and strategy to successfully fundraise at the local and national level. Fundraising produces a lot of data that can be time-consuming and difficult to analyze. Without the proper tools, information overload can create a backlog for campaign staff and hurt the campaign in the long term.
According to 2016 reports from the Federal Election Commission, an average winning Senate candidate spent $10.4 million by October in the election cycle. The average winning candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives spent $1.5 million on campaigning. Even at the district level, the price of winning has gotten higher, and the cost of running a competitive campaign more complex.
Campaigns are increasingly turning to campaign monitoring technology to adapt to the new era of campaign spending. Startups leveraging technology for use in the political scene with wide scale success. Technology previously utilized in the finance sector are now revolutionizing politics.
Among these digital advances is NGP VAN, a top technology provider for Democratic and Progressive campaigns as well as non-profits and other organizations. Using VAN, NGP and Digital 8, campaign managers can organize information through online dashboards with charts and graphs to organize campaign information. Most major Democratic campaigns in America- including the Barack Obama campaign’s voter, fundraising and compliance- are powered by NGP VAN’s software.
NGP VAN’s Digital Solution
Digital fundraising is no longer a limited-use technology. It’s also bringing individual donors into the fold. Platforms like NGP VAN’s work in tandem with other strategies like email, social media, SMS, and peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. The ability to consolidate online donations means individual donors can make small contributions consistently throughout a campaign.
By cultivating a digital list of digital sponsors through these platforms, staff can use campaign technology to build their network and help donation requests reach as many people as possible. At the same time, it allows donors to keep an eye on their donation on their own time.
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This technology is fighting the idea that political fundraising is a form of charity collection, which can limit a campaign’s success. Candidates, staff, and volunteers may be more likely to avoid asking for money if they are bound by this idea of fundraising. Instead, this technology emphasizes the idea that political donors do not give out of a sense of philanthropy. They donate based on their own priorities and political interest in a candidate’s success. Capitalizing on this viewpoint, NGP VAN technology helps donors make an investment in their personal political goals and priorities.
NGP VAN platforms let fundraisers better reach voters through targeted networks like personal networks, ideological donors, anti-opponent circles, and power circles — groups looking to protect and advance their own professional and economic interests through politics. Since donors contribute for varied reasons, donor asks should be equally varied.
Fundraisers can use digital tools to help demonstrate how donors will direct benefit through their contribution. It can used targeted messaging and social media to show donor groups how a specific campaign can address their specific concerns.
Users can then look at analytics on digestible displays with graphs of stats, contribution summaries. Campaigns can monitor email performance stats and successes. This makes it easier for campaigns to stay on track — and it also makes for happier donors. Recent tech advances at NGP VAN also mean new and improved call time. NGP VAN technology introduced new features like paperless call time, donor ask plans, and custom call sheets that streamline the process.
Smarter Fundraising on Mobile
This technology allows campaign staff to map their fundraising goals and chart a clear path to accomplish them. Following several years of work, NGP VAN also introduced their recent technology NGP 8 — a new innovation in fundraising and compliance. NGP 8 works with ActBlue pages, which allows for grassroots fundraising efforts through an online platform.
ActBlue makes contributions immediately available for viewing in NGP 8 – anytime from anywhere using mobile devices. It only requires a one-time manual set up by NGP VAN staff. After this, the software gives users access to information about contributions on the NGP 8 platform without compromising security or efficiency of the campaign staff. That information is run through a compliance staff, taking major strides in improving donor technology and management.
Small mistakes can create a big problem for a campaign’s finances, even at the district level. Fundraising technology to manage finances also help create long-term clarity to avoid costly mistakes and oversights along the way. NGP 8 goes a step beyond previous versions of NGP VAN tools by making features more accessible and reliable for fundraisers. It allows for an unlimited number of charts, which campaign staff can quickly share with others in the campaign.
Voter Engagement Online
Looking back at finances for other competitive races isn’t always a clear indication of the money it takes to run a campaign. Beyond crunching numbers, it lets campaigns personalize data for their specific campaign to include outside influences like other competitive races on the ballot. By consolidating data on the VAN platform, campaigns, large and small, are better able to spot trends and decide on their budget.
Most of all, digital campaigning tools connects fundraisers and sponsors on the same platform. It emphasizes donor happiness to encourage consistent support throughout a campaign, instead of major one-time donations. It encourages longer-term campaign success and a framework for planning re-election campaigns.
There’s no single answer for fundraising. It’s specific to each campaign, from implementation to election. Fundraising technology recognizes these challenges for campaigns, especially expensive, high stakes races where financial missteps could spell disaster. But at the end of the day, campaigns fall flat without donors. Allowing donors to track their support, and candidate in a way that’s both clear and concise is the key to keeping up in today’s politics.
Voter Activation Network has been in operation since 2001 and in 2011 the company merged with NGP. Based out of Washington, District of Columbia, with a satellite office in Somerville, Massachusetts, NGP VAN currently has over 200 employees.
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