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Advocacy, There’s An App For That Too!

August 2016

By Tom Stibolt, MD, Mobile Musings Column Editor

I assume that most of us receive emails with petitions we can sign to take positions on a wide range of issues. Although the efficacy of this approach is currently debated, there does seem to be some evidence that there are some positive impacts.

Not surprisingly, there are a number of apps designed to support advocacy. The first of these, called FriendRaiser, from the Zuri Group, is designed to help with fundraising for organizations. They designed an app for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute which apparently covered the development costs to Dana Farber in four days. They have also developed an app for Heart and Stroke of Canada which saw an 812 percent return on investment.

The Beekeeper Group specializes in developing mobile campaigns that utilize text messaging, customized mobile applications and responsive web design. Their LobbyDay app can be customized to give lobbyists the tools they need to stay on message, promote an issue or cause on Capitol Hill, and simultaneously create a “public echo” back in their home states and legislative districts. Their customers include the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, American College of Radiology.

VoteRockIt is an app designed to communicate with users where they are—on their smartphone. They provide a basic package including: mobile donations, push notifications, sharable push notifications for text, Twitter, and Facebook, video, news feed, and canvassing. The app is intended to interface with an online system, NationBuilder, or an organization’s WordPress or Drupal web site. The company supports political campaigns, elected officials, and individual organizations. Most of the listed clients are political campaigns.

A final organization providing advocacy support via mobile apps is Results@Hand. Their defining principle is to provide a membership app with features to enable two-way communication, resource sharing, and feedback loops. They state that this is the perfect platform for organization members to voice their unique needs and collectively organize meaningful change in politics and beyond. They also provide conference apps such as the one we provide for our annual meeting. The app is used regularly by the Florida College of Emergency Physicians for an annual lobby day in Tallahassee where it is used to track appointments between members of the organization and all 160 Florida legislators.

Not surprisingly, there are advocacy apps for a number of issues we may not agree with. The App Store has an advocacy app for users of e-cigarettes, for instance. This will be an interesting area to watch over the next several years.


Editor’s note: The ATS does not endorse any of the programs or products mentioned in this column.

Last Reviewed: September 2017