Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Obama Campaign Creating Organizing "Best Practices" Document for Democratic Party

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, December 4 2012

With its thousands of staff and volunteers, its breakthroughs in organizing, voter-registration, fundraising and get-out-the-vote techniques, Barack Obama's re-election campaign in 2012 as a whole was definitely something the world has not seen before.

The campaign is hoping to be able to capture the accumulated wisdom of all that work in a "best practices" document that it's putting together, Betsy Hoover, Obama for America's director of digital organizing, told techPresident.

A team of about 40 people are in the process of putting the document together, and will incorporate feedback from volunteers who filled out the surveys that the campaign sent out, from conference calls, and from debriefing sessions such as the one that was held at Rootscamp last week, Hoover said. The group hopes to finish working on the document in the next couple of weeks.

A roomful of about 60 former Obama campaign field organizers showed up for the debriefing and shared their feedback on the utility and efficacy of the campaign's digital organizing tools with with Hoover, OfA Digital Strategist Brad Schenk, and OfA's regional Digital Director Katy Rose Glickman.

When asked how many people used the campaign's Dashboard organizing system, only about a third of the room put up their hands. One person said that Dashboard "wasn't very welcoming." Another person said it wasn't "relevant" to their work canvassing in Florida.

A couple of other organizers said that a lot of her volunteers were elderly, and "aren't digital."

Still another organizer said: "I ignored it, because I'm not tech savvy, and neither were a lot of my volunteers, and I didn't know if it would be around next time."

For a sense of perspective, Hoover told the room that from her point of view, Dashboard was a vast improvement on 2008 because it integrated information from different aspects of the organizing experience. Previously much of the information gathered in the field was compiled in spreadsheets.

Other volunteers shared their tips on how they used social media to recruit more volunteers. One of them that stood out came from Pat McCollough, who worked as OfA's state director for Louisiana. She would take photographs of volunteers during campaign events, and send those files to those volunteers. Some of them had to ask their family members for help opening those files, which would start a conversation about the campaign events, and often led to those family members becoming interested and joining the campaign to help out.

News Briefs

RSS Feed tuesday >

With Vision of Internet Magna Carta, Web We Want Campaign Aims To Go Beyond Protest Mode

On Saturday, Tim Berners-Lee reiterated his call for an Internet Magna Carta to ensure the independence and openness of the World Wide Web and protection of user privacy. His remarks were part of the opening of the Web We Want Festival at the Southbank Centre in London, which the Web We Want campaign envisioned as only the start of a year long international process underlying his call to formulate concrete visions for the open web of the future, going beyond protests and the usual advocacy groups. GO

First POST: Lifestyles

Google's CEO on "work-life balance"; how CloudFlare just doubled the size of the encrypted web; Dems like Twitter; Reps like Pinterest; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Showdown

How demonstrators in Hong Kong are using mobile tech to route around government control; will the news penetrate mainland China?; dueling spin from Dems and Reps on which party's tech efforts will matter more in November; and much, much more. GO

friday >

Pirate MEP Crowdsources Internet Policy Questions For Designated EU Commissioners

While the Pirate Party within Germany was facing internal disputes over the last week, the German Pirate Party member in the European Parliament, Julia Reda, is seeking to make the European Commission appointment process more transparent by crowdsourcing questions for the designated Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society and the designated Vice President for the Digital Single Market. GO

First POST: Dogfood

What ethical social networking might look like; can the iPhone promise more privacy?; how Obama did on transparency; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Sucks

How the FCC can't communicate; tech is getting more political; Facebook might see a lawsuit for its mood manipulation experiment; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Wartime

A bizarre online marketing effort targets actress Emma Watson; why the news media needs to defend the privacy of its online readers; Chicago's playbook for civic user testing; and much, much more. GO

More