As we predicted when we launched this project, the resistance movement has continued to expand and mature, and Affinity is evolving right along with it. The fight to save Obamacare raging as the Congressional recess looms and activists mobilize to get face-to-face with politicians in their home districts. This is a pivotal summer for all of us.
For Affinity, now’s the time to go big.
We’ll be showing off our stuff at the Netroots Nation conference next month, the premier annual gathering of progressive activist organizations. We have a booth in the trade show hall, where we’ll be recruiting our next class of beta testers.
Speaking of beta testers, we’re proud to say we recently brought on board Movimiento Cosecha, a nationwide network of 30+ organizers and nearly 20,000 activists working on immigration issues. They’re one of the most dynamic new groups around, and they’re based around volunteers to organize themselves into a national network — in other words, exactly the kind of group for which Affinity was created.
Meanwhile our *first* beta test group, the Massachusetts chapter for Sister District, has been so happy with the product that they are promoting it to other chapters. We’ll be meeting with the CTO of the Sister District national network this week to talk about going nationwide.
And while they are not yet an official beta tester, we’ve been working closely with the Women’s March Network, helping organize their ongoing field campaign to save healthcare. The partnership is going very well, look for new developments here soon.
Working with real users has been super useful, as you would expect. With their input we’ve dramatically extended the feature set to solve their real world organizing problems. Here’s a taste of what’s been added in the past few weeks:
– Member profile page with notes and attendance scores, so organizers can learn which members are the most effective.
– Freeform tags for members, groups and events. Organizers love this feature.
– Search and filter members and events, including finding them by tags. Seems simple, but this makes it super fast and easy to create a very basic phone bank or team email loop.
– Multi-group management. Now it’s possible to be the organizer of any number of groups, not just one. We make it easy to manage each one individually,or to get a global view of your entire network.
– Queuing system for synchronization. This one is invisible to the users, except that it makes our synchronization with other CRM’s much more scalable and reliable. We’re ready to handle a lot more data now.
And coming soon on the roadmap, we’re starting our integration with NGP / Everyaction, the leading volunteer management tool for Democratic electoral campaigns and progressive groups. Many thanks to CEO Stu Trevelyan and his team, who have been very encouraging about working together. We also have a powerful feature for syncing up attendees to Facebook events with Affinity events, which we’ll be showing off soon. And, there’s a new version of our website on the way. The current version was fine for a placeholder when we were rapidly spinning up Affinity a few months ago, but now that we’re expanding to a wide beta we need to dress up a little.
Want to Help?
We’re proud of the progress we’ve made in just six months. We need to accelerate, though. A new influx of beta testers means real users to support, features to create and bugs to squash. If we can successfully serve this new, bigger user base, we’re confident we’ll be ready to start charging for Affinity by the end of the year, right on plan.
But, to speed up will take more resources. If you can make introductions or otherwise help us find them, it could make all the difference; like we said, this is a pivotal moment for Affinity. What we need:
Cash, of course. We’d like to raise another $150K in Angel investment. As a reminder, we also have a 501c3 non-profit sponsor for the project, so we can also accept tax-deductible contributions.
Developers. Yes there are million talented coders out there. But we need some specific skills (Rails + Node + React), and having some experience in activism makes a huge difference in understanding the problem, and they need to be self-starters.
Founders/Partners. We (Matt and Evan) complement each other pretty well across the political-technical spectrum. But we’d go further, faster, with another core team member to up our marketing / design / sales game.
Beta Testers. As we said, we have a lot of leads on this front, but we need more. The whole point of Affinity is to be useful to the movement, so we need to continually be testing whether we’re hitting that mark. If you have contacts with resistance groups who you think we might be able to help, please put us in touch.
Thanks for all your interest and support of the project. We’re more optimistic now than we’ve been since Election Night, and it’s going to be one hot summer.