Beyond Politics

Jul 26, 2012

Here at BSD we're best known for our political work.

Here at BSD we're best known for our political work.

Mashable groups BSD with other political "tech startups," but we've been around since 2004, when four staffers from Howard Dean's pioneering presidential campaign launched BSD from a tiny office in Washington, DC. We went on to be early digital partners for Senator Ted Kennedy, and in 2008 we helped elect Barack Obama President of the United States.

But BSD today is about much more than politics. In fact, political spending accounts for just 10% current work, although the ardent campaign mindset still infuses all the work we do. Now we've just pointed it in different directions, taking the same approach that drives successful online political campaigns and applying it to a huge variety of organizations: nonprofits, museums, universities, brands, advocacy groups, even sports franchises.

And it's working. The technology platform that powers presidential campaigns is also driving action-oriented online programs for hundreds of organizations large and small. Same goes for our digital strategies.

The fundraising approach that raised half a billion dollars for Barack Obama has successfully boosted revenue for the Greater Chicago Food Depository and sold subscriptions for Vogue Magazine.

The community building strategies that brought together 13 million Obama supporters have also organized and inspired fans of Ford Motors and the Green Bay Packers.

The rapid response tactics developed from our political campaigns have helped organizations like Partners In Health raise millions of dollars for earthquake relief and the NAACP lead the national response to the Trayvon Martin tragedy.

The Obama campaign's emphasis on the power of community inspired online programs that have helped the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum crowd-source the identities of unknown Holocaust survivors and the UK's Royal College of Nursing collect on-the-ground stories about the impact of health care funding cuts.

The examples are endless, and it's because the principles of online organizing for political campaigns apply to all types of organizations. Wherever you find a passionate group of people who share a common purpose, interest, or experience, digital campaign strategies, tactics, and technologies can bring them closer together, inspire them, and drive them to take meaningful action.

Thomas Gensemer is Blue State Digital's Managing Partner.