We spoke with Sang Peruri of Voter Circle (rebranding to Outreach Circle) about relational organizing as it relates to political campaigns in 2019/2020. First, we asked about why they were rebranding.
1. Voter circle has been a well-known brand in the political tech space for the past few years, why have you decided to rebrand to Outreach Circle?
Sang: We started OutreachCircle to make outreach more personal, effective and efficient. In 2015, one of the biggest gaps we found was that all outreach was done stranger-to-stranger. We felt it should be friend-to-friend and decided to launch a relational organizing platform (now patented) to enable this. Over the past few years, we have noticed an equally large gap in volunteer and task management. There is no easy way for campaigns, causes, or organizations to manage volunteers. To address this need, we launched a Supporter Action for volunteer and task management earlier this year. Since relational organizing and volunteer management are needs broader than campaigns, with the launch of our new platform, we rebranded the company as OutreachCircle.
VoterCircle was well known as a top-down relational organizing platform, with OutreachCircle, we have flipped our model putting supporters first and focusing on an action hub that lets supporters help organizations or campaigns in any number of ways. Relational organizing is still a big part of what we’re doing, but we’ve expanded the scope of what can be done on the platform and also who can benefit from it.
2. The pillars of political campaigns like email, door-knocking, fundraising and social are always undergoing change. How can campaigns continue to combine these pillars with new ways of organizing to give a more authentic experience for both voters and the campaigners themselves?
Sang: With voters being more connected than ever and yet hard to get a hold of than ever before, we see campaigns getting creative and testing lots of new methods to expand their reach. Mail, phones, and doors still have a place, but for some demographics, especially newer, younger voters those methods aren’t particularly effective. We have seen a resurgence of efforts focused on meeting voters where they are online or in-person and building on existing community. Relational organizing allows campaigns to rely on personal connections to serve as validators which is incredibly important in our current fake news climate.
Read more about why Outreach Circle rebranded here.
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Listening to our current users, we are aware that there can be an internal struggle of team management when it comes to organizing quickly. To get people out on doors, the back and forth over Whatsapp, Messenger, and (insert other apps here) can be endless. We aim to streamline this process for you with Ecanvasser. Now organizers can commit via the Walk app (their canvassing app!) and get notified in the run-up to the event so that they don’t forget. By building it into the door knocking process life has gotten a lot easier for campaign managers.