I received an email this morning from Howard Dean (no, not personally), alerting me to Party Builder (PB), the Democratic National Committee‘s new online social organizing and fundraising tool. Aha, I thought, now there’s an alternative to the RNC portal, MyGOP.com. And I wanted to see how they stacked up against each other as two very different community building models you could launch for your nonprofit’s members, donors and/or program participants. I joined both communities to gather data for this report:
- MyGOP.com begins with an option-filled homepage on the MySpace model, while the Party Builder homepage is a blank slate, ala Facebook. Personally, I like to get right to my options DNC, so that I can decide whether I’m going to buy in.
- More importantly though, why re-invent the wheel when MySpace and Facebook are so heavily used already? (A question I’m going to be addressing in a future post on DoGooderTV, the nonprofit version of YouTube).
- The DNC’s Party Builder is all about building and communicating within a community.
- The party has integrated all of its action tools into Party Builder, except for its blog which is also accessible via the DNC home page.
- DNC party builders create a profile, join groups, make "friends," create/join events, fundraise, sign petitions and send letters to the editor.
- The RNC’s Action Center and its MyGOP.com portal are separate features on the RNC site, but link to many of the same functions.
- At the Action Center, users can host a party, take a survey, contact their legislators, call talk radio, get GOP paraphenalia, join teams, recruit volunteers and register people to vote.
- At MyGOP, supporters can do all the above and show off their progress. Why have two
- Here’s why–this bi-fold entranceway gives the RNC the opportunity to build supporters (and a database of their key info) at different levels of engagement. The RNC has feature-specific logins, such as those for the blog and volunteer recruitment center.
- As a result, the GOP is able to capture supporters at different levels of engagement (they can participate in one facet of the action center, without committing, right off the bat, to the whole enchilada).
- The DNC takes a different approach.
- Party Builder members submit basic information to the DNC upon joining.
- The continues to gather additional information through PB members’ profiles, signed petitions, signed letters to the editor, and network/group memberships.
- These users are likely to become the party’s next loyal supporter and volunteer base. And the depth of data the parties have on these folk will determine the strength of their online activism in election years to come.
I’m going to track coverage of how these communities evolve, and interview folks at both parties, over the next few months. I’ll report back what I find.
Meanwhile, any gut reactions to these two very different, but very characteristic, strategies?