DrupalCamp Toronto was held last weekend at the University of Toronto, and it went really well. The Drupal Users Group of Toronto pulled it together for the third year in a row, and it keeps getting better each year.
The idea for this session was to present the perspective of people working in online activism to Drupal developers. While I don’t believe that online activism is primarily a technological challenge, I do think that the tools can be much improved, especially for Canadian campaigns.
In my part of the session I presented the idea that online campaigns require, at a minimum, to be able to do the following:
1. Have an attractive website that is easy to update by people without technical knowledge (aka a Content Management System) – Drupal, if properly configured, can meet this requirement.
2. Build online actions – petitions and ‘Contact a decision maker’ to start – that are easy to use, flexible and effective. Drupal can technically do this with a bit of work.
3. Send email updates to a large opt-in list, managing subscribes and unsubscribes, bad addresses, open rates and click throughs.
4. Sort, store and retrieve supporter information with a robust Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system – Drupal is on the right track with CiviCRM and other packages.
Of course, online fundraising and robust volunteer management are nice to have, but I feel like the minimum required for an online campaign are covered above.
Two requirements of online campaigns in Canada are not adequately being met (by paid or open sources) for a reasonable price:
Canadian campaigns need to be able to function in both English and French, and very few options exist for segmenting lists by Canadian electoral districts, a key in lobbying politicians.
Joe, Mike and I have been thinking about and working on these issues for years, and wanted to gauge the interest among Drupalers in solving some of these Canadian-specific technological hurdles. It was a good discussion, with some valuable input and insight from the developers.