Introducing Shadow Inc: Shining a Light on Political Data

Shadow Inc.
Jul 17, 2019 · 3 min read

Since we initially announced our acquisition by ACRONYM earlier this year, Shadow has been hard at work to publicly launch and bring you new tools to help progressive campaigns and causes win up and down the ballot. That’s why we’re excited to share two big announcements today:

Lightrail is Coming

In January I wrote about the challenges in moving data around our political tech ecosystem. It’s harder than it needs to be, which means that campaign staff are doing busy work like data entry when we should instead be out talking to voters or recruiting volunteers. That’s why we’re excited to announce that we’ve been building an unprecedented piece of infrastructure for the progressive movement: Lightrail.

Lightrail is the universal adapter for progressive political data. It makes it easy for you to move data from tool to tool and back to your data warehouse so that you can get your data where it needs to go without having to know Python or SQL.

We call these connections between tools “pipelines” and we started by focusing on one pipeline that we know is especially complicated but especially important: syncing ActBlue donations and contributors to BigQuery. Getting data about small-dollar contributions and donors has never been more urgent than right now, but the mechanics of actually doing that are complicated enough that most campaigns and organizations won’t take on the task of doing it themselves. That’s where Lighrail comes in! We let you easily connect your ActBlue and BigQuery accounts and then handle the rest.

Over the summer we’ll be releasing more connections and more pipelines, like BSD Tools, VAN, MobilizeAmerica, Redshift, and more, but if you’re interested in getting started with Lightrail today, let us know!

Say Hello to Shadow Messaging

Our goal is to make tools that empower organizers and advocates to do what they are already doing but faster, easier, and in a way that makes it simple to scale their impact. We know that peer-to-peer SMS is only one tool that organizers use to communicate with their people and in some cases it may not be the most cost-effective way to organize. So we’re adding a new tool to our peer-to-peer messaging suite: peer-to-peer email.

Isn’t all email kind of peer-to-peer? Well, right now email tools are either focused on sending a single email at a time (like Gmail) or impersonal email blasts to people who have opted-into your email list. But campaign organizers need something that exists in the middle of those two things: peer-to-peer email.

This new email tool lets organizers send email from their own email address that’s templated to a list synced or uploaded to our tool. Replies go directly to the organizer’s inbox where they’re managed like any other email, but data about the initial send is tracked (bounce rates, open rates, clickthrough rates) and can be synced into VAN so you can see directly in your CRM who received the mail.

We think that this will be an extremely powerful tool to help with volunteer recruitment and retention, event management and shifting, as well as small-scale fundraising. But we’re most excited to get it into your hands and see what you do with it, so hit us up if you’re interested in giving it a try.

Our peer-to-peer email tool will be available alongside our existing peer-to-peer SMS tool in one place and under one umbrella: Shadow Messaging. That’s right, Groundbase users / die-hards, we’re changing the name as well as the look and feel. Current Groundbase users will automatically be moved over to Shadow Messaging and will automatically have access to peer-to-peer email by default.

If you’re interested in using any of our tools, drop us a line at, or visit our website. We’d love to hear from you!

Shadow Inc

Working to build political power for the progressive movement by building accessible, user-centered technology products and infrastructure.

Shadow Inc.

Written by

Together we are working to build political power for the progressive movement by building accessible, user-centered technology products and infrastructure.

Shadow Inc

Working to build political power for the progressive movement by building accessible, user-centered technology products and infrastructure.

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