By Henri Poole, 1/25/05 - 5:43pm This is an email from Henri Poole to colleagues on the Kucinich Campaign. This was sent on October 1, 2003. Many of these ideas are now available in the CivicActions tool suite. I started working on this campaign with a goal of bringing millions of new supporters into our movement, and I describe below some of the projects that have been started (or we would like to start) and will need minimal energy in order to take off. I hope you can find a moment in your schedule to read. So, the Goal here is to bring millions of people and tens of thousands of communities into alignment with Dennis, to get them in the habit of acting and inviting their friends to act, and ultimately to get them to donate and physically vote. The Strategy is to enable collective action by bringing people together around powerfull causes, like peace. The anti-war movement has begun mobilizing again and will grow over the coming months, and we have to opportunity to bring Dennis' message to every corner of every demonstration, if we can empower people to self-organize. Dennis can be the ultimate expression of peace for these millions of people. More than anything, people want companionship. We don't want to be divided, and if we can bring like-minded people together, they will appreciate Dennis and this campaign for giving them the tools. The individual and community actions enabled by these tools can be easily measured to determine our effectiveness at obtaining our goals.


When people come to Kucinich.Us, we need to invite them into our movement. Currently, when people join our mailing list, volunteer, or contribute, their energy is terminated with a "thank you" page, and a we will be in touch email. At that moment in time, the person has energy and that energy needs to be channeled. We could, for example, bring them instead to a page that lists events in their neighborhood, shows the number of supporters within 100 miles of their home address (or zip) and give them a list of events in the coming week that they could subscribe to. Then, the people who are hosting those events could contact the person directly, and they could create a connection, enabled by our technology and inspired by our shared values and purpose. At that moment in time, the person has energy and that energy could be channeled to host an event in their neighborhood. We could immediately give them the event organizers form, and let them schedule and event and invite thier neighbors. We could point them to a list of flyers that they could download and share. We could give them links to capwiz, which enables them to promote their events. We could let them sign an endorsement letter that would be public to everyone else who joins from their neighborhood. The power here is in inclusion and community. We need to take this energy and amplify it by fanning the fire in the hearts of our supporters. These tools below are just a few ways that we can bring people into the light by connecting them with one another.



Online petitions can be used to get mailing addresses and zip codes for people who have certain interests. The petitions are spread virally, and often times friends send their friends to them to sign. Signers can also be contacted later to get more active by using our virtual call center or other tools to increase thier activity level.

Virtual Call Center

Moveon has a system that sends an alert to subscribers with a link to a page which contains a phone script, and an option to "check-out" 20 names from their database. The names include phone numbers. The subscriber then calls the people on the list and goes through the script. The subscriber then checks off that they have completed the calls and gets more. This could be done with a checkbox for each name indicating their interest in voting for dennis or not. It could also enable the person to add them to our mailing list, etc. Each week or month, a notice could go out to the subscriber listing their activities in support of the campaign.

Virtual Mail Center

We could provide a system for checking out mailing address and names for neighbors, or for people who need a personal note from one of our volunteers. The system could then track how many physical mail pieces have gone out to people in particular zip codes, counties, or congressional districts from this type of activity. The system could be used by groups, enabling people from a neighborhood to schedule a house party, download names from a national database, and send letters to people with a list of signatures of the party attendees. With this approach, I might recieve a letter from 10 of my neighbors, encouraging me to join in support of this movement.


This tool is currently developed in a very rudimentary form. It enables a person to select a template for a flyer, add title text and footer text, and select from a list of pre-written issues. Then the user can generate a PDF file with their Title and contact or event info, to be printed by a home printer or local print store. This is a system which has been used and found to be very successful by the AFL/CIO. It can be used in connection with local events that people can set up and host.


We have deployed an event system (from the tech guys at MoveOn) which enables people to a) create a new event or b) subscribe to someone elses event. The system is fully self service. A person can create an outreach event, a rally, or a house-party. After creating an event, it immediately gives them a letter to send to their friends and encourages them to do so. We have admin priveleges so that we (the campaign staff) can browse events and send mail to event subscribers, appoint coordinators, and edit the events. We can also re-configure the system so that it only shows "approved" events, if we decide to vet the events. Currently, the system states that the events are done by grassroots, and not "approved" by the campaign. This enables us to grow quickly, without hired staff. This is exactly the way that the Dean campaign handles their events.


We could create an endorsement page, so that people could endorse Dennis and share their endorsement with their local communities.

Media Action

There are tools that can be integrated into our site that makes it extremely quick and simple to send a letter to the editor of all papers within a proximity of their zipcode. CapWiz offers this service. This could be integrated into the event system, for example, and keep track of the number of people who have submitted their events to their community newspaper. The system can also be used through an email action alert, and given as a tool to get people to target specific writers of specific articles, showing an outpouring of support for you, directly by our campaign.


When people sign up as volunteers, we could ask them up front if they are willing to vote in online polls and/or primaries. This question could then give us a mailing list of people who could be contacted to go to a specific poll in a particular time and raise our numbers. Over time, we could develop a loyal group of voters who would be more likely to vote physically, once they have voted often virtually.

Data Analysis/Reporting

We should develop key metrics that we track on a daily and sometimes hourly basis that give us an indication of our progress at meeting our goals and objectives. From our current systems, we could (with some work) extract automatically the following metrics: new donations, new donors, new volunteers, new subscribers, events added, events completed, new event subscribers, emails sent, emails opened, email unsubscribes. This could be done by zip code, by multiple zip codes, by county, by congressional district, by state, etc. This data could be used to create automatic messages to the campaign staff. A powerfull way to use this data might be something like the following: Volunteers could be notified weekly of the events happening within 50 miles of their home, with a link to subscribe to the event. Also, we could provide zip-code specific reports to our volunteers, which include the activity in their neighborhood as well as the neighboring zip codes. As there are big successes in a particular neighborhood, the neighoring communities would see it in the report, and have an easy way to subscribe to the other events to see how they are doing it. I visualize this like finding a spark and fanning it with oxygen and fuel, and sharing the methods with others. This level of transparency could ignite this race from the ground up. Another powerfull way to use this data could be by mapping activities on maps, showing visually the number of events in a state over time. The regions with the most favorable results could be recognized by the campaign on the website and by email alerts. Fulltime staff in states could look in and see activities in targeted areas, see the sparks, and provide fuel to spread the positive energy. We could target specific congressional districts this way, leveraging the grassroots by applying our staff resources in a highly efficient manner. Cheers, -Henri

Henry Poole co-founded CivicActions in 2004 and was appointed CEO in 2014. He has more than 30 years experience in information technology innovation, organizational transformation and strategic management.