Two Democratic consulting firms have joined forces to help the National Education Association rev up its members for 2014 and counter-deep pocketed opponents.
NGP VAN and Catalist are working with the educators’ union on a program called “Activist Continuum.” Despite the sci-fi sounding name, the program has a simple goal: To help the NEA improve its two-way engagement with its membership and “push them up the ladder of activism.”
“After Citizens United and McCutcheon, one of the best tools that we have is we’re three million members strong,” says Karen White, NEA’s political director. “That’s a lot of boots on the ground.”
With education an issue in 2014, “we intend to ratchet that [engagement] up,” says White.
“Our members are never going to compete with Koch brothers or corporate America — their average salary is $30,000-$40,000 a year,” she says. “Bu when you put the power of an educator out there it can really go a long way.”
Catalist is providing statistical algorithms and NGP VAN is taking their calculations and plugging them into their “Continuum” interface, which “give end-users dynamically updated information about member activities – and better tailor communication to match the topics and types of activities that members are most interested in,” according to Stu Trevelyan, NGP VAN’s CEO.
NEA, which came up with the concept for the program, decided to work with the two firms because it already had established relationships with both. “It just made perfect sense that we would just roll that up with the rest of the work we’re doing,” says White.