This may not shock you, but a recent survey showed that 46 percent of social media users are “worn out” by political posts and discussions. This exhaustion becomes problematic when it reflects in civic engagement and people’s desire to participate in local elections.
It requires time and attention to find out how to effectively dedicate your time and engage as a constituent.
That’s where EMPOWRD comes in. The Atlanta-based startup connects the three main policy players — elected officials, individual citizens, and advocacy organizations — to make it easier to mobilize and track key local issues.
Their app launched this month as part of Civic Awareness Month.
The company has a two-pronged approach to increasing mobilization efforts for both organizations and citizens.
The EMPOWRD app allows citizens to customize a feed with local elected leaders, whom they can contact through the app. Users can also follow key issues, find opportunities to participate, and set alerts on term and election dates.
“We want to get away from the task rabbit mobilization, where you tell somebody what to do and they do it, but they don’t actually become more engaged in the process,” CEO Horace Williams tells Hypepotamus.
“We inform people while mobilizing them,” says Williams.
EMPOWRD uses data from about 30,000 political offices across the country, from a city council members all the way to the U.S. president.
“This makes us unique since a lot of tools in our space for mobilization solely work off of whatever database their customer brings to the table,” says Williams.
On the advocacy organization side, EMPOWRD provides a platform to not only capture those new active citizens, but also to leverage their audiences for optimal civic engagement.
Within the platform, they’re able to manage campaigns and analyze their advocacy efforts using data insights.
A built-in CRM lets organizers message engaged citizens to contact local officials. The message can even contain contact details for specific city council members.
“We give people an opportunity to build initiative at that hyper-local level, which is very important to us,” says Williams.
And, EMPOWRD’s ecosystem allows cross-disciplinary advocacy organizations to collaborate together. For example, a state nursing organization could partner with a medical marijuana organization to mobilize together.
“Cross-vertical advocacy is the most powerful way that you can lobby for anything,” says Williams.
The SaaS startup only charges organizations that aim to mobilize more than 10,000 people — smaller advocacy groups and citizens use the platform free of charge. It is available nationwide.
The startup raised a small amount of angel round upon its initial launch back in 2015. They will begin a larger funding round in early 2020.
“We want to make sure that people understand that civic engagement is more than just the election. It’s about policies, the causes, the things that legitimately have an impact on their life,” says Williams. “We need to make sure that elected officials that are already in office are doing what they’re supposed to be doing year-round.”