Wednesday, April 9, 2014

To many, Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign represented the ushering in of a new political era. It was, without a doubt, a truly amazing testament to the power of social media and mobile technology for today's “get out the vote” or GOTV campaigns. Now, in 2014, it would be unthinkable to employ a GOTV strategy that did not harness the power of social media and smartphones – through the kinds of services, for instance that a technology leader like has to offer. Part of the reason the use of innovative technology became so effective in 2008 was that it was through social media and advanced technology that a typically difficult target audience – the youth vote – was finally getting the message, and, in turn coming to the polls in unprecedented numbers.

It's GOTV Education That Makes Campaign Technology Succeed

Of course, it takes far more than just the right technology to reach potential voters. While it is true that CallFire has helped organizations like reach more constituents in less time – through targeted messages for campaigning, polling, and donor fundraising – at the end of the day, educating a nation of voters, starting from the time when they are in school, is an essential first step toward truly “getting out the vote.”

Social media is certainly a great reminder that voters are part of a community (and that being part of such a community is the right thing to do) – but if the voting process itself seems as mysterious to young people as performing brain surgery, they're not going to do it. If, on the other hand, citizens begin to demand that in-depth voter education (i.e., beyond just holding occasional in-school “mock elections”) be included in state teaching standards, then young people will gain the confidence as young adults to overcome any voting obstacle that might ever come their way.

Adults can also help to get out the youth vote by offering to bring voting presentations into schools, helping young people to become familiar with what voting machines and ballots look like, for instance – and to even understand that they need not be discouraged from voting just because they don't wish to vote on every item on a ballot. Included in this GOTV education should also be a discussion as to why voting is in fact an exciting way to participate in government – a right that women in the U.S. (understanding just how much every vote does count) fought so hard for.

Put CallFire's Services to Work for Your Political Campaign

Who knows? Perhaps some day we will be able to vote from our smartphones; imagine how that could improve voter turnout! In the meantime, though, we can at least help young people to be ready to act – when they receive campaign calls—powered by the type of voice broadcast feature CallFire offers, making it easy for campaigns to send out advertisements and reminders. Thanks to CallFire's convenient tools, including those that support GOTV polling like voice broadcast with IVR and SMS blasts, more of these potential voters and donors will be able to speak with callers using the “press 1” feature. Voters and staff can also receive instant campaign rally updates via text and political robocalls. What's more, reports and metrics mean better campaign decisions overall.

It may be a cliché to say that young people are the future, but when it comes to how our country is governed, the youth vote truly matters. Let's make our country's future great; get out the vote by utilizing technology that caters to the youth—their cell phones!