NGP VAN launches enhanced 'social organizing' tool

Democratic technology provider NGP-VAN is targeting friend-to-friend interactions with the launch of Social Organizing—a new Facebook tool that allows users to match friends with voter file data.

When users launch the tool, their Facebook friends will be matched with the voter file in VAN allowing for the creation of targeted universes that can be used for virtual phone banks or email lists for fundraising solicitations. The program customizes electioneering tasks for each user to check off as they’re completed and then relays the info back, which means VAN is also collecting data via Facebook.  

“It’s a way to automate coordination between each individual supporter and the campaign,” says NGP VAN CEO Stu Trevelyan.

The technology works through Facebook Connect. The social organizing tool uses Connect to match a user’s friends to the voter file, as well as allowing users to search for matches on their own. Should a generic name generate multiple results, users can narrow the field by providing additional information about friends, such as a street name.

The task infrastructure is flexible, Trevelyan notes, permitting social sharing on Facebook, virtual phone banking and emailing. If 25 friends are reliable voters and five of those fit a donor profile, for example, users can be provided with a script to encourage friends to contribute.

The tool is a beefed-up version of the one that was used by “We Are Ohio” during last year’s collective bargaining ballot fight in the state.  

“Our vision is, as we expand the set of tasks, it will build into a full social campaigning suite,” says Trevelyan. Ads, photos and YouTube videos can be shared, and NGP VAN might eventually target other social networks. 


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Jay Matthew


NationBuilder still has NGP VAN beat, hands down. Better tool all around.


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