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An Open Source eAdvocacy Toolkit

FROM: Mike Gifford

What NEED does this meet?
There are lots of groups out there which need to have access to better lobbying tools. Going to a third party solution will work for some NGOs, but often they are too expensive for smaller organizations. There need to be more Open Source eAdvocacy tools out there for activists to use.

What is the APPROACH?
Well, we've started by bundling ePetition & eAction (email/fax) tools into our CMS, Back-End.org. There's a lot more which we need to do though to make the Contact Management tools more useful from a campaign perspective. We'd like to see a more integrated package to allow individuals to sign up on a ePetition & then be sent a followup message from a campaigner suggesting that they can email their MP.

We're working to promote this tool & look for support from other organizations who might be able to assist in better integrating this tool for campaigners & doing more usability/documentation work so that campaigners can get it off the ground more quickly.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
They won't have to either start off creating this application from scratch or go to a more expensive third party to have an online lobbying force.

I'm also hoping discussions around the eAdvocacy toolkit can lead to us all having better applications.

What is the COMPETITION?
There isn't a similar Open Source tool out there. Certainly not one that is both being actively maintained or is GPL compatible.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
Hard to put a price tag on this. As with any online venture you can spend an eternity on it, always making it better.

I'd say that $10-20,000 would go a long way to having a solid, integrated, documented eAdvocacy toolkit built on our existing framework.

October 31, 2003 in NGO Tools, Web-In-A-Box Systems | Permalink


The most expensive part of a system like this is licensing the contact information database. This information is for the most part freely available, but (in the US) there is no standard format, or provider of legislative contact information.

Building a system that allowed a contact database of legislature to be updated in a distributed manner seems like an even more interesting project.

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