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eCampaigning Tool (1.0)

by Olha Pelishok last modified 2009-01-26
Released on 2009-01-04 by FairSay Ltd. for Plone 2.5, Plone 3.0 under GPL - GNU General Public License available for All platforms.
Software development stage: development
The eCampaigning Tool enables the set-up and management of advocacy (campaigning) actions such as petitions, letters to targets, etc. It has a rich range of advanced functionality that allows for highly effective online actions.

The eCampaigning Tool is designed based on best practice Internet advocacy and enables the set-up and management of campaigning actions such as petitions, letters to targets, etc.

eCampaigning Tool Overview

The eCampaigning Tool is a product for Plone that currently enables the use of online petitions and letter actions - the most common types of campaign actions.

It is quite stable for small to medium size campaign actions (e.g. handles thousands of actions an hour) and it has been used in production environments since June 2005 on the site. While it is stable, the tool is still young and thus has lower usability than desirable (see online documentation). Yet unless you have very specific requirements, this tool as it currently exists will serve 90% of your online campaign action needs.

The requirements of the eCampaigning Tool is lead by an expert in eCampaigning (Duane Raymond of FairSay) to ensure it met the real needs of campaigners and was suited to applying e-campaigning Best Practices (that even most e-campaigning services fail to achieve). This input will continue and grow with your feedback and/or improvements of this tool.

The primary technical development is by Petri of FairSay who has been very good at translating Duane's requests into good technical solutions in the time available.

Understanding eCampaigning

Most e-actions consist of the same core process: action form > store data > show thank-you page + send thank-you email + send letter to target (if relevant)

This process can also be used for newsletter sign-ups (an adapted petition) or simple e-cards (an adapted e-letter) and the code could be extended to allow these (and other) scenarios to be explicitly supported.

In the activism (issue campaigning) world, *actions* are generally things people can participate in and they exist under the umbrella of a 'campaign'. However if you campaign on a multi-lingual basis, globally or over multiple political boundaries, then an action can have multiple versions (e.g. for different languages and/or targets and/or issues).

To deal with this, the following logical semantics are used for the eCampaigning package:

  1. 'Campaigns' are simply a conceptual grouping of multiple 'Campaign Actions' contributing to the same end result
  2. 'Campaign Actions' are something a supporter can participate in to support a 'Campaign' and can have multiple 'Action Editions'
  3. 'Action Editions' are the individual implementations of a 'Campaign Action' relevant to a specific supporter segment by language, geography or other criteria as needed by a campaign/action. Generally these would all be asking for the same thing but to different targets (i.e European Union vs. USA) or in different languages.
  4. 'Action Steps' are the individual pages that make up the 'Action Edition'.
  5. 'Action Types' are specific pre-configurations of 'Action Editions' and 'Action Steps'
  6. 'Layout Elements' are groupings of content and fields in each 'Action Step'
  7. 7. 'HTML Blocks' and 'Field Blocks' are the action content items in each 'Layout Element'

How It Works

  • Before configuring an Action Edition you need to define all the elements of it: a 'Campaign Action', organisation or person target(s), a 'Message' (e-petition statement/e-letter text for target), a thank-you web page and a thank-you email.
  • The action form is generated from the schema (data fields) you configure - but the most common schema is already pre-configured
  • By default the supporter data is stored in the Zope database as 'Action Records' but theoretically you can hook it to an external database.
  • The best way to access the data is to download it as a CSV file which you can do at the 'Campaign Action' level for all related 'Action Editions' or for each individual 'Action Edition'
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