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How Campaigns Can Prepare for Coronavirus

The projected outbreak of coronavirus in the United States may bring a disruptive halt to traditional organizing strategies of Democratic campaigns and causes. If the conditions of more acutely-affected countries are any indicator, some states may experience canceled public events, school closures, and extended periods of social isolation. Americans will work from home, avoid public gatherings, and spend even more time staring into screens.  

Though the severity of an outbreak is by no means a certainty, campaigns must continue to reach their target voter universe using whatever tactics prove most effective.  Higher Ground Labs has invested in and tracked technologies that may help with whatever comes next.

Some observations and recommendations below:  

Digital Voter Contact

In areas affected by coronavirus outbreaks, volunteers may be less likely to participate in in-person canvasses, phone banks, and text-banks. Voter identification can still be performed through some options below: 

  • Front: Front is a common inbox for teams working across multiple social channels. They were used with great success by Mayor Pete’s campaign staff. A candidate’s DMs and inboxes across all social platforms may prove a fertile channel for volunteer recruitment, identification, and contact. 
  • Hustle & GetThru (Relay): Peer-to-peer SMS continues to command high read-receipts. This will remain a central channel to identify voter IDs, recruit small-dollar donors, etc. 
  • Outvote, Tuesday Company, and OutreachCircle: Relational organizing platforms that help staff and volunteers text and email friends about political campaigns they support
  • PredictiveDialer: If it’s difficult to recruit volunteers into phone-banks, it will be important to familiarize yourself with VAN’s PredictiveDialer, which permits volunteers to log phone calls from home. 
  • MobilizeAmerica: Continues to invest aggressively in its platform and has significant virtual capabilities. Over 60,000 signups took place for virtual events last week alone (3/2/20) on their platform, including phonebanks, textbanks, relational organizing and trainings. 

Increased reliance on direct mail 

As Americans stay at home and practice more “social distancing,” we expect mail to be used more heavily for both persuasion, turnout, and voting itself. 

  • SpeakeasyPolitical: A low-cost, templatized technology platform that produces high-quality mail for 40% the cost of mail vendors. 

Social Media Storm

With less in person interaction,  Americans rely more heavily on social networks as a  way to connect with their communities and get updates on current events. Content  creation and distribution becomes even more important for campaigns:

  • Countable: a web-action platform that helps users take political action and share their stories 
  • Wethos: a platform for freelance creatives to build fast, effective and remote marketing teams  
  • Outfox: a low-cost digital-ad buying platform for down-ballot campaigns 

To the organizers on the ground across the country: Thank you for your enduring commitment to the work you do. As you shift your programs to match the moment, remember that good technology is here to help.

Learn more about these options and others at