Passion into Mobilization
Two apps driving civic change
Being the change you want to see is now a matter of using your mobile thanks to two recently re-launched apps from black founders, Empowrd and Civic Eagle. Each leverages the power of tech to help users engage with elected officials and mobilize around important issues.
For example, the newly revamped Empowrd app (available on Android and, soon, iOS) facilitates direct communication between individuals and the public officials or, as they say, “From Your House to the White House.” The app relies on location-based technology to provide users with a complete view of who represents them, how to contact them in the app, and items like term periods and election dates. For founder Horace Williams, simplicity is at the heart of the matter.
“In the past I had been paid money to make complex things simple for marketers,” Williams says. “And I thought to myself…can I apply that [skillset] to making the most complex thing I can think of, which is government, simple for my peers and those who need it most so they can get involved in the process?”
Thanks to a recent update, Empowrd now facilitates engagement across the political process, including identifying issues that they want to take action on and highlighting the causes and organizations the user is most interested in. And there are added benefits for elected officials, too. Through detailed information about local and statewide districts, Williams hopes Empowrd will make polling and gathering feedback easier, so policy makers can have a clear view of what matters most to those they represent.
“There are conveniences across every other aspect of our day-to-day lives. There are simple ways to do things that have become more modernized as time has continued to go on. Civic engagement is not one of those things.”
Now with Empowrd, hopes Williams, that might change with the push (notification) of a button.
“In the past I had been paid money to make complex things simple for marketers. And I thought to myself… can I apply that [skillset] to making the most complex thing I can think of, which is government, simple for my peers and those who need it most so they can get involved in the process?”—Empowrd Founder & CEO, Horace Williams
Meanwhile, for organizations and advocacy groups looking to amplify their effectiveness, there’s Civic Eagle and its expanded platform.
After starting out 2015 as an app that connected people and policy makers across the political landscape, Civic Eagle changed course in early 2017 and is now poised to make an even bigger impact by targeting institutions that already serve as conduits to established communities. According to Founder Damola Ogundipe, the company’s current product emphasis is a web-enabled Constituent Relationship Management system. The shift has enables Civic Eagle to focus on larger organizations with larger footprints to affect change.
“We ended up discovering that organizations and advocacy groups like the NAACP, Sierra Club, the League of Women Voters or even the NRA, had very limited technology when it came to mobilizing their members and mobilizing their communities” Ogundipe, says.
Civic Eagle’s white-label turnkey solution allows clients to maintain their respective branding while engaging with the public through the web platform and mobile app. Civic Eagle manages the backend functionality of the software system.
Employing a three-pronged “Learn, Engage, and Activate” model, Civic Eagle hopes to facilitate an environment where the organizations and advocates can disseminate information easily, communicate issues and respond to feedback, and rally activity and interest within an ecosystem that avoids the typical clutter of social media timelines and email inboxes.
According to Ogundipe, the biggest surprise when he surveys the industry is “just how underserved organizations and advocacy groups are when it comes to technology.” He continues, “They use a lot of outdated methods of engagement and of tracking legislation. And it’s amazing how much money is spent and, in my opinion, wasted trying to learn, engage and activate.”
Civic Eagle is now accepting submissions from organizations and advocacy groups to participate in its current private beta testing phase in advance of a 2018 Q2 expanded launch.
Know of other tech tools facilitating change? Let us know on social with #TheBridgeATT.