I Will Run: equipping Democrats to run 21st-century campaigns

Today the DNC Tech team is launching a new pilot program called I Will Run — a marketplace filled with tech tools and training organizations to upgrade Democratic campaigns. Through this platform, the DNC Tech team is using our unique position in the progressive tech ecosystem to ease a host of problems that we have been seeing — from democratizing knowledge, to making sure feedback flows, to setting ecosystem standards.

Over the last year, so many new innovators have emerged to help provide tools to our Democratic candidates. However, we’ve heard repeatedly from candidates and campaign staff that they are unsure what tools are out there, and simultaneously feel as if they are being fed too much information by vendors. On the other hand, many of these innovators are not always reaching campaigns effectively — some state parties and campaigns, therefore, are in the dark about some of the innovative new technology that they should know about. And, finally, we’ve been in touch with funders and supporters who want to boost the progressive tech ecosystem, but aren’t clear on where those opportunities are.

DNC Tech created I Will Run to help address all of these problems.

What is I Will Run?

I Will Run is a tech marketplace for Democratic campaigns — it’s a curated compilation of the best-in-class tools currently used by campaigns, and the tools tested by DNC-funded case studies. It is also a platform where the DNC Tech team can coordinate trainings, volunteers, and price negotiation for Democratic campaigns. We’re currently piloting this program in seven states: Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Texas, Florida, Massachusetts, and Iowa.

DNC Tech surveyed the progressive tech ecosystem looking for tools that campaigns and state parties can use to upgrade their work, so the campaigns, in turn, can focus on the essential initiatives of their programs. We also wanted to ensure that vetted, reputable, and interesting vendors can partner directly with campaigns to hear actual feedback from the ground, allowing vendors to tune their tools to meet campaign needs.

We have broken the platform into six categories: digital, finance, research, security, training organizations, and voter contact tools. We then placed these tools and organizations within the framework of the key phases of a campaign, allowing us to match different tools and services to the specific needs of a campaign from pre-announcement through Election Day. Breaking the site down in this way will help us equip both new and seasoned candidates and campaign staff with the tools and information they need to run 21st-century programs.

Finally, as we created this ecosystem map, we’ve discovered where the holes are in our ecosystem, and we can now actively find partners or entrepreneurs who want to fill these gaps to help our state parties and campaigns.

What comes next?

We know creating I Will Run is only one piece of the puzzle in ensuring campaigns and state parties have the information they need to run effective 21st century programs. That is why we will continue to build out programs in coordination with the platform. First and foremost, the DNC Tech team will showcase the tools in I Will Run at DNC-organized events to ensure campaigns and state parties have the opportunity to demo the sophisticated new technology out there.

The DNC Tech team is also working to build out programs with our partners to ensure proper trainings are implemented in campaigns — because, as we all know, in order for these tools to be an effective part of a campaign’s program, the tools need to be used properly. With campaign staff time being so limited, we want to find ways to take some of the tech training burden off of campaigns while still allowing them to have the most innovative technology deployed into their programs.

Plugging into the I Will Run Marketplace

We want to ensure all campaigns, no matter their size, are able to plug into I Will Run’s framework and hit the ground running. We are piloting I Will Run with seven states to begin with — Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Texas, Florida, Massachusetts, and Iowa. But please keep an eye out as we continue to add more states into the fold.

If you are a tech vendor or progressive training organization and would like to be included in the next iteration of the I Will Run Marketplace, please reach out to tech-ecosystem@dnc.org. If you are a campaign in one of the seven states we are piloting this program with, please reach out to tech-ecosystem@dnc.org for more information on any of the tools presented on I Will Run.