An interesting phenomenon has taken place in the political world over the last few election cycles: With the emergence of new technology for managing campaigns, the amount of data that politicians have about voters and the tools used to target them have become almost as important as what their party affiliation or overall message is.
Technology has played a huge role in giving Democrats and progressives an edge in recent elections, with many in the political world believing there’s a “digital divide” between the two parties. So it might not come as a surprise that two of the technology providers leveraged by progressives are joining forces with voter contact company NGP VAN in acquiring private social networking startup NationalField.
NGP VAN is a tool that has been used the vast majority of Democratic members of congress over the last few election cycles, not to mention by the Obama 2012 presidential campaign. The platform helps campaigns manage voter outreach, fundraising, and community organizing, using big data analytics for modeling and targeting specific voters. In many cases, NGP VAN has been credited with helping to mobilize the voter base in tight races.
While NGP VAN provides analytics to give campaigns a view into how they’re doing from a high level, NationalField was founded to help campaigns manage and mobilize people on the ground. The startup, which was launched out of the 2008 Obama campaign, provides tools to help organize networks and volunteers advocating for change.
NationalField has created a real-time dashboard with a social network-like interface that provides metrics showing how well volunteers and campaign workers are performing. The platform enables workers to track performance and share best practices with others, while also allowing them to provide feedback to their managers.
While NationalField had rolled out tools to target enterprise customers last year, the team behind it — co-founders Edward Saatchi, Justin Lewis, and Aaron Wasserman — saw their core passion was in helping campaigns and non-profits. So joining the leader in voter outreach tools makes total sense.
The tie-up, which is happening just as mid-term campaigns start heating up, will allow top-down organizations to have a better feeling of what’s happening with feet on the ground through NationalField’s tools. Meanwhile, it could also give campaign workers in the field more visibility into how the entire voter outreach effort is going with access to VAN’s data. That combination could be a valuable tool as progressives enter into the 2014 and 2016 elections.