Causes on Facebook: ActBlue AWOL and MIA
by azizhp, Sat Jul 28, 2007 at 09:13:55 AM EDT
Let me reiterate upfront that I think ActBlue is possibly the best single application that the progressive netroots have ever devised. It wasnt sufficient, but it was necessary, to the great victory in 2006. My intention in writing this diary is to push for greater utilization of this tool, not undermine it.
In a previous comment I argued that ActBlue is in danger of falling behind new rightwing imitators like Slatecard for two reasons: ActBlue offers no ability to "tag" a candidate or a user page, and ActBlue has virtually zero presence on the major social networking platforms. In this diary I describe a simple way that ActBlue can begin to address the latter: by working with Project Agape and hence be available to the Facebook application "Causes".
What is Project Agape? Let TechCrunch explain:
Charities, political parties and affinity groups all rely on participation from people who share the same beliefs and ideals. But recruiting and fundraising are largely stuck in the pre-Internet era: social pressure and guilt are applied to get others to donate to that marathon for the Leukemia society, or donate time working with the homeless. Parker wants to harness those proven incentive structures use his new startup to increase their effectiveness.
New sites like Change.org and dotherightthing and Six Degrees help people talk about issues online, but they don't go far enough in using virality to get new users and get them actually doing things. Parker wants the kind of activity around these organizations that Facebook sees - tens of thousands of new daily users and hours and hours of social interactions. The result, he says, will be a much more efficient engine for organizations to get volunteers and raise money.
The official site for Project Agape is a bit lean but they haven't been dormant; the first fruit of Project Agape is the new application on Facebook, Causes. Keep in mind that Facebook recently opened their development environment to third-party application developers. This means anyone can write an app for Facebook and share it with any other user.
Causes is simple. You pick your cause from a list, and it instantly appears on your profile. it tracks how much money you raised and how many people you referred who joined. it even includes (in MLM style) the money raised by people you referred in your fundraising total. (ActBlue, take note).
And critically, anyone can start a Cause. In fact, I tried - to create a Cause page for Draft Gore on ActBlue. And that was where hit the brick wall - ActBlue is not registered with project Agape as a recipient of funds. I had to point my Draft Gore page at the Gore Foundation charity instead.
Note that this is not the first time this has been discussed on MyDD. Nancy Scola wrote a diary last month about Agape and Causes, interviewing Joe Green (one of the founders). I refer the reader to that diary. There was cursory discussion on that diary but I am stunned to see that nearly two months have passed and ActBlue still appears to see itself as a competitor rather than a partner with this new technology.
Keep in mind that the Save Darfur Cause on Facebook has 316,144 members, and raised $27,151. Stop Global Warming has 284,144 members and raised $4,478. Obviously these are the very epitome of small-dollar donations - the kind that the netroots is best-poised to leverage. ActBlue integrating with Causes gives us a massive entry point that we are pratically negligent in not exploiting.