- Enterprise-grade architecture is successful at scale
- Free open source SAS
- Easy to use canvassing app
- Additional services for hire
- No CRM capabilities
- Lackluster design
Voter-Science TRC is a Washington-based door to door canvassing app designed for voter outreach. Established in 2015, TRC was launched to help right of center, fiscally conservative candidates using voter management technologies. Despite its relative youth, TRC saw extensive use in over 300 local, legislative, and statewide campaigns during the 2016 election cycle.
Start Canvassing in Minutes
TRC’s main strength as a voter canvassing tool revolves around the speed at which canvassing can begin. Simply by visiting the website, creating an account, and verifying the associated email, users immediately have access to all TRC’s doorknocking features. Once at the TRC dashboard, the final step before door knocking is to upload the campaign’s voter household data.
With a wide range of voter household data – including voter demographics, contact information, party affiliation, voting likelihood, and canvasser comments – TRC then assembles detailed walklists for those on the ground. Walklists can be viewed in the spreadsheet style Listview that includes information on each voter clearly listed. Alternatively, TRC provides an aerial Map View capable of populating Google Maps with voter households based on address. This allows for convenient voter outreach based either on the desired voters or geographic location.
Unlimited Users for Free
Whereas other canvassing tools charge based on the number of canvasser licenses – restricting use based on cost – TRC allows each account to have unlimited users. Removing the per canvasser cost barrier makes TRC a particularly appealing choice for smaller campaigns.
To ensure administrator control, especially in larger campaigns, users can be organized hierarchically in groups. Each group’s “sandbox” – the degree of access to campaign data it has – is based on administrator setting. Ensuring efficiency despite user numbers remains possible through TRC’s reporting and accountability features, such as tracking each and every change by users. This helps purge bad data and guarantee that a user’s data isn’t overwritten. Field coordinators can both generate reports on group progress and check canvasser activity through app edits and geolocation.
TRC’s greatest strength is that it is free to use, open source, and extensible – there are no charges whatsoever based on users, data usage, or campaign size. This makes it an extremely helpful tool for downticket candidates and smaller campaigns with less funding and fewer staff. The app’s open source design means that developers can create their own plugins connected directly to TRC, creating new features and capabilities – with TRC, Voter-Science demonstrates its greater commitment to spreading civic tech use.
When organizing walklists, managers can use single flatlists, organize voters by precinct, or utilize geofencing to map out boundaries manually – TRC also allows the creation of arbitrary filters for advanced targeting other than the default voter likelihood and party affiliations.
TRC’s skeletal design lacks other services often associated with canvassing platforms. If users desire CRM functionality, advanced analytics, data management, or other core services of data-driven campaigns, the use of TRC requires other software alongside it. It’s important to note that while this means some time and spend will have to be purposed towards a full tech-stack, it does allow you to build out a more effective foundation for your campaign by using tools created specifically for those purposes. Further, TRC has direct integration with Salesforce and NationBuilder.
For getting a canvassing campaign running, TRC is a fast, technologically easy, and cost-free solution. Its information-heavy walklists and geolocation services provide the basis for canvassing efforts. The ability to manage users, keep canvassers accountable, and an enterprise-grade backend make TRC flexible towards small and large campaigns. Without associated services like a CRM, however, TRC’s free offering comes at a price for campaigns seeking an “out of the box” solution.
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