This is another creative way to use technology to enhance grassroots operations, making activism into "insta-activism." A message to campaign managers for the 2010 cycle: build your own tools to organize voter indetification, voter communication/persuasion, and GOTV efforts. -Matt Moon
Last week, the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union announced its use of an integral technology -- text messaging -- to activate concerned citizens nationwide on important matters of fiscal policy at the federal and state levels. Taxpayers can opt in to NTU's free service* by texting "FIGHT" to 54608.
It's no secret that the right is two steps behind the left when it comes to technological innovation. The most notable early-adopter of texting outreach was the Obama presidential campaign, which used it with great success to draw crowds, spread messages, generate new activists, and involve them in events. And although texting has been popularized elsewhere (i.e. the entertainment industry -- not that anyone at NTU watches or votes for contestants on American Idol), NTU is the first grassroots taxpayer advocacy group to use it on a national level. We see texting as a vital membership and community development tool to create a two-way dialogue with the nation's most important constituency: taxpayers.
Some numbers that most TNR readers are familiar with:
- The typical American averages 357 text messages per month, but only makes 204 phone calls.
- About 2.5 TRILLION text messages were sent last year alone, and that number is expected to grow to at least 3.3 TRILLION this year.
NTU has maintained a long and growing list of activists willing to e-mail their government representatives on specific issues -- something it will continue to do -- but employing mobile messaging technology puts NTU ahead of the curve when it comes to grassroots activism. Congressional offices inundated with e-mails can easily ignore those messages by hitting "delete," but nothing sends a more powerful message -- one that cannot be ignored -- than thousands upon thousands of phone calls that could shut down the Capitol switchboard, as was the case during recent bailout and stimulus votes. The same is true for State Legislatures across the country: A voice on the phone has infinitely more influence and immediacy than an e-mail.
We alert. You call. They listen. Text FIGHT to 54608 now!
*Other than the cost of one's text messaging plan. Subscribers will receive an automated confirmation message with more information and opt-out instructions.