A Comparison of E-campaigning tools

E-campaigning has been a vital tool for campaigners across the world to marry great quality with high quantities of actions.

Today there are more campaigning software options than ever. Together with fellow consultants Lisa Vickers, Eugene Flynn and Florian Engel, I have researched and compiled a spreadsheet objectively comparing all the e-campaigning software options available on the market. The providers listed here are: ActionKitBlue State DigitalCiviCRM,Engaging NetworksNationbuilderOrganic Campaigns and Salsa, as well as DrupalOpen Web Analytics and Piwik. The information here has been checked with these providers wherever possible.

You can see the spreadsheet here: http://tinyurl.com/6zydacj

To my knowledge, although such an exercise has been talked about for several years, this is the first time it has been done. In good spirit, we hope that this will not only inform e-campaigning practitioners and software providers of the variety of options on the market, but also ultimately improve the quality and quantity of useful tools available. This is also designed for the e-campaigning and software providing communities to update over time – so please feel free to do so!

Some points of interest are:

  • Different providers of course offer different approaches. Nationbuilder is its own CRM and CMS system and refers to itself as “like WordPress for organizing;”
  • Most providers offer important functionalities from e-advocacy to data management, fundraising, supporter databases, event management, social network creation, plugins to external social media, reporting and analytics;
  • All the providers apart from ActionKit can provide a CMS if you require it;
  • I have only included costs if providers have already publicly declared them. I know however that ActionKit sits at the upper end of the price bracket, that CiviCRM is free, and that Organic Campaigns offer a very cheap setup and ongoing rates;
  • Blue State Digital, Salsa and Engaging Networks offer most if not all e-advocacy features, and are also highly compatible with other CMS;
  • Engaging Networks, and to an extent Blue State Digital and Organic Campaigns, are the only providers that can include pre-loaded UK datasets in their packages. Other providers either offer to purchase such data through partners or would ask clients to purchase it themselves;
  • Most providers offer a lot of functionality around fundraising, including the ability to accept all international currencies. Organic Campaigns does not offer fundraising capability at the moment;
  • All providers offer training and support, although only Blue State Digital (and Salsa and Organic Campaigns to a lesser extent) offer support with digital strategy, communications and PR strategy, online advertising and video production.

The spreadsheet shows knowledge based on our research, and does contain gaps where we have been unable to retrieve information. Therefore this should be used as an initial guide – so please discuss with the software provider in question before you make any purchase of their services.

Happy browsing!

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