You can now take the metro and see an advertisement for advocacy software on the train. Walk past the Capitol One Arena in DC and see a billboard for a similar product, or attend an advocacy software event at The Anthem, a major Beltway concert venue. The grassroots and advocacy technology industry has exploded — particularly on the software front. In fact, these changes to the market are likely to continue in 2019.
As this former cottage industry has transformed, advocacy professionals face a greater challenge finding the right technology to integrate into their efforts. To help with that selection, I’ve compiled the list below of market shifts and developments that caught my attention this year:
FiscalNote now has added both VoterVoice and the CQ Roll Call suite under their umbrella. FiscalNote controls a significant amount of the overall grassroots and advocacy software space along with a robust media outlet. The organization has positioned itself as the leader and one-stop shop option when it comes to government relations, grassroots, and advocacy software. FiscalNote has considerable resources and influence in this space to direct where the industry will go in the next 5-to-10 years. The recent acquisitions beg the question of what’s next? And if there are more entities going to come under the FiscalNote banner in the future.
Bloomberg Government entered the grassroots advocacy technology market in October with their release of Megaphone, which is a significant addition to their suite of offerings in the government relations space. BGOV is major player in the government relations marketplace and has a significant number of resources that could disrupt the status quo. The product has a clean dashboard and the capabilities to run email campaigns, patch-through phone calls, social media outreach, text messages, landing pages, and action centers. Bloomberg release of Megaphone comes with a partnership on analytics with Crowdskout. Still, the Megaphone offering is only available to existing BGOV clients, which could be a limitation to their growth.
Earlier this year Crowdskout entered the advocacy software space with their release of Advocate — offering another option for grassroots professionals. Moreover, this adds to their suite of products another tool that compliments their extensive services that include phone banking, canvassing, and data and analytics dashboards. Crowdskout has diverse offerings and a hungry start-up mentality, despite their growth.
P2A Benchmarking Tool/Chatbot
Phone2Action released a new benchmarking tool that allows advocacy programs to see how they stack up against their peers. The tool uses data “from more than 500 organizations and thousands of campaigns powered by Phone2Action” and measures advocate list and engagement. You can also get a customized benchmark report based on the results that you enter. Unfortunately, the tool only measures quantitative factors and neglects qualitative factors. The innovation in the benchmarking space is certainly welcomed.
Phone2Action also released a chatbot feature that “leverages the power of AI and Facebook Messenger to find new advocates and increase engagement,” according to the company. P2A is clearly aiming to push the envelope on innovation to stay competitive in the market.
Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson recognized Article One with a Doer Award in October during the 2018 Signal Conference keynote, interviewing Article One CEO Seamus Kraft on the main stage. The company says its platform harnesses “the power of data and unified cloud communications to efficiently handle a limitless amount of incoming calls, voicemails and text messages, engage and activate your supporters, and empower your staff with the best technology in Congress.” Bottom line: it’s a glimmer of hope in addressing the processing of the influx of constituent communication to Congress.
One of the most effective product marketing emails came from GovPredict carrying the endorsement for their software from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). With members in 7,400 organizations, an endorsement from ASAE has significant weight and one that put GovPredict on many people’s radar who may not have heard of the company before receiving that email.