How do you change the way campaigns are won?

When Senator Barack Obama launched his campaign for the presidency in early 2007, the candidate faced long odds, strong primary challengers, and a well-financed GOP. If he engaged in campaign politics as usual, he knew he’d lose. Blue State Digital, led by founder Joe Rospars, helped build a massive grassroots movement faster than any campaign in history.

Success started with a radically different organizational structure, putting Rospars as the head of digital in a position equal to the rest of the senior staff. He built a team of designers to manage the brand, filmmakers to build the biggest YouTube channel in politics, organizers to help the grassroots movement come together, and the most sophisticated online fundraising operation ever seen.

Working with staff at campaign headquarters in Chicago, we helped build an online platform run on the BSD Tools that managed the rapidly growing movement’s organizing and fundraising arms. Supporters used the platform to give money, set up fundraising campaigns of their own, post stories from the field, organize events, make calls to battleground states, and work within volunteer groups in their own communities.

Obama’s campaign was groundbreaking. His unprecedented use of digital activated a passionate community of 10 million supporters, brought in half a billion dollars in online donations mostly from small donors, and changed the way campaigns were run. Most importantly, his digital strategy helped Obama win 365 electoral votes on Election Day.

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