- Depth of potential for rallying volunteers and donors
- Clear feature set and UI
- The challenge of leveraging a social network can’t be overstated
- May not be practical for smaller campaigns
Thomas Peters founded uCampaign with the goal of connecting supporters using suddenly ubiquitous smartphone technology to campaigns and organizations. In realizing his goal, Peters developed platform for any organization to leverage a mobile-first social network. Used by the NRA, BREXIT, and the Ted Cruz and Trump campaigns, uCampaign helps produce involved communities whether the user is a couch potato or empowered activist.
Use & Ability
uCampaign pride themselves on a product-centric model, where they are regularly iterating to stay on top of trends in how people use and interact with their services. This was particularly true at the end of the 2016 Cruz primary campaign, where the host of user data allowed extensive tweaking to improve their product. Improvements included the Address Book Matching feature, which allows campaigns to match datasets and voter files to their user’s phone contacts (if the user uploads that information). Practically, this reduces the umber of bad phone numbers and emails in a dataset, important for get out the vote (GOTV) efforts.
Encouraging offline activism
A supporter within the app can send out a code to their email, personal, or social network, and with each app downloaded from their code, collect points. Similarly, this feature also allows contacts with the app downloaded to locate other “friends” if they are near each other. The GPS feature lets followers obtain directions to events, RSVP, send invites, remind friends, check in and create unique contents themselves, and to be a part of the news feed. Followers are able to “friend” each other at rallies. Or, if there’s a relevant group close by, the app can inform the Follower of the groups location. In addition to their own personal page, followers have a Dynamic Timeline Newsfeed where your campaign can display content and share it with your entire network, or integrate API’s of your choice, like Google News.
For ground activity, you can use NationBuilder’s turfcutting tool and import the walklist into uCampaign, or you can use the uCampaign in house doorknocking feature. Once a walklist is claimed by a user, it cannot be claimed by any other person, eliminating any double knocking on the same doorsteps.
Life’s a game
Gamification of these behaviors play a big role in the value add of uCampaign. For all activities — checking in at events, canvassing, volunteering, postings, etc — there’s a points system in place. The NRA, for example, have a “volunteer of the day” feature within their uCampaign app who gets recognized by the entire network. Other possible benefits to users can be a call from the candidate or a free T-Shirt.
uCampaign can model your campaign’s top supporters and will work with data analytic vendors. A unique example: for the Trump campaign, uCampaign looked at followers’ address books and, using predictive analytics, discovered which followers would respond best to text messages versus phone calls or emails.
uCampaign is a fully functional community lobbying and canvassing platform. More than just a way to get volunteers, uCampaign has managed to lower the barrier to entry on couch potato activism, and made it fun. Now in six countries, uCampaign has a lower budget version that may not let you customize to your heart’s content, but will give you enough to drive a community around your campaign activities. The uCampaign basic version is on a sliding fee scale.
We found uCampaign to be robust and well-made, and got only positive feedback from organizations leveraging it. Our only concern is that, since it is ultimately up to the campaign/organization to garner users for their app, the app will not be incredibly valuable for all campaigns or organizations. It is likely that only organizations with either a deeply committed base or those that are large enough will see meaningful returns from a social-network type app. We would love to see a feature which creates a network not just in each separate app, but which allows organizations to utilize the uCampaign network as a whole. This appears to be done within the actual uCampaign app, but not within an organization’s native app.
If you have any feedback on this review or you would like to suggest an app for us to review, please drop us a note – firstname.lastname@example.org