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Dashboard: An Unprecedented Digital Grassroots Campaign

Anyone who was half-awake in 2008 remembers that President Obama’s digital team played an enormous role in his success by leveraging social media and online fundraising to a degree that no other campaign had before. But other lawmakers were not far behind; now that many senators and House members are regularly active on Facebook and approximately 90 percent have Twitter accounts, staying ahead of the digital curve has become a challenge that all politicians must face.

Enter Dashboard: the “Obama 2012 online field office” that has the potential to revolutionize what it means to run a large-scale grassroots campaign. “We’re abandoning the idea of offline organizing and online organizing – it’s just organizing,” said Michael Slaby, chief integration and innovation officer for the Obama campaign.

The Dashboard platform, which is also available in mobile and tablet forms, boasts the following capabilities:

Call Tool: Enables volunteers to call voters in their area on behalf of the Obama for America campaign. The tool includes a script that automatically populates with the voter’s name, asking them to donate to or volunteer with the campaign. Volunteers can see where they “place” on a leaderboard, which displays the names of the individuals who have called the most voters.

Neighborhood Team Organizing: Shows users a list of the Obama for America volunteers in their area, along with contact information and any upcoming neighborhood events that volunteers have organized. Many neighborhood teams have a “Team Leader” and convene regularly to campaign for Obama and help register voters.

Grassroots Fundraising App: Volunteers simply type in a fundraising goal and a short personal message in order to speedily create their own fundraising page.

The Dashboard platform is effective in giving volunteers the ability to monitor their own efforts on behalf of the campaign and connect – both virtually and in-person – with other like-minded people. It has also proven to be effective as a recruiting tool for first-time volunteers.

Of course, the Obama for America campaign is not without competition; Presidential nominee Mitt Romney recently broke with tradition when he announced his VP pick via his own mobile app.

What other new tactics are you seeing in digital campaigning? Tell us in the comments!

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