When Ecanvasser, the world’s leading political software provider, announced the launch of its community engagement app ‘Go’ back in 2018 there was a real buzz around political organizations as to the potential of the tech. Go, essentially, allowed grassroots operatives in political parties to begin engaging their local communities to find out who they were and what they thought. What started out as a mapping exercise to build a visual heatmap of their community ended up being a really transformative way to get those grassroots members engaged themselves and able to see clearly the impact that their actions were having. In a climate of falling political participation and party membership, this is exactly the type of tech to build a political organization on. Go allows politicians and parties to get beyond the online bubble by facilitating the capture of conversations with voters on the street or at public events. It aims to bring the simplicity of apps like Uber or Deliveroo to the world of politics.
How it works
Go’s features, which are designed to make capturing “real life” voter interactions more efficient, include swipe-based voter sentiment logging, digital polling surveys, and GDPR-compliant e-signature consent capture. It gets rid of the noise and allows grassroots teams to focus on talking to people and engaging them in the business of how their own communities operate. How should we develop infrastructure? How should we invest in education? Do you feel safe on the streets? The type of questions that real people have opinions on and they want to be heard on.
According to founder and CEO Brendan Finucane, “Democracy doesn’t work very well for most citizens. Go aims to challenge this by allowing politicians to get past the online bubble and capture voter sentiment face-to-face. Being able to do this at scale is the challenge we have solved for political parties.”
What happens next?
As political organizations have worked with the Go app they have been able to build really rich data about how their community thinks and they have been able to visualize that data using GIS mapping that aggregates and color-codes areas of their community or country. This is the future of political operations and allows citizens to be heard all year round, not just when there is an election.
What is interesting is the way in which this community engagement model, capturing real conversations face-to-face and turning them into data visualizations are now being employed by NGOs, advocacy and community groups, even companies who want to visualize how their customers and employees think. The digital world is great but if citizens are to be really taken seriously then we need to look deeper than just building profiles of individuals from online activity.
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