Introducing Deck for local campaigns

April 28, 2021
After the 2020 election, we sought feedback from dozens of users and partners on how Deck should evolve for future cycles. Over and over again, we heard that there's a big unmet need for a tool like Deck at the local level.

We’ve seen that our product can work at the local level. We’ve supported local campaigns on a one-off basis in cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, Oakland, New York, and Newark. But serving these campaigns at scale — and reaching into districts where data is much harder to come by — has been a pretty intimidating prospect for us.

There are nearly 90,000 local governments and over half a million elected officials in the United States. Maintaining reliable data pipelines for the 8,000 state and federal offices currently supported in Deck is already a huge project for our team. Given that, expanding to the local level just seemed like too big of a lift.

But! Given the demand we’ve seen for a local version of Deck — and the huge, deeply inspiring mobilization across the country to pressure and reshape local governments on issues such as racial justice, police accountability, public health equity, and housing affordability — we decided we had to jump in.

That’s why we have officially launched a new version of Deck designed to support Democratic campaigns running in any district across the country — even when the data that normally powers Deck is hard to come by.

This new version of Deck includes some key simplifications to better serve the gigantic world of local campaigns.

First, the predictions underlying this new version of Deck will consider some of the data that makes each district unique — including economic indicators, how Democratic politicians are discussed in local media, and the population’s campaign contribution history — but they won’t go into what makes each candidate unique.

Candidate-specific predictions (factoring in candidate-specific fundraising, media coverage, demographics, electoral history, and endorsements) have always been one of the key elements that makes Deck special, but that level of detail is just not practical at this scale. And we believe  losing candidate specificity in these races is a worthwhile trade-off if it means making Deck available to hundreds of thousands of campaigns that otherwise would not have had access to it.

However, in the cities and counties where we do have access to all of the campaign-specific media and finance data that we need to make accurate candidate-specific models — such as New York City, Detroit, Atlanta, and Houston — nothing will change. We will still use that data to make the best predictions we can.

Second, we will limit use of the product to campaigns with an existing VoteBuilder account. This will 1) allow us to verify that a campaign has been authorized to access their Democratic state party’s voter file and 2) make the campaign’s experience with Deck more successful, since our VoteBuilder integration is critical to getting the most out of Deck’s targeting tools.

Third, we are investing in a slate of new features focused on training campaigns on the best ways to leverage our targets, building on our new campaign training portal. This will include new sections of the app that walk campaigns through best practices for voter registration, persuasion, mobilization, fundraising, and more.

And finally, we’re significantly cutting costs for these local campaigns! We’ve always been proud to price Deck in a way that makes it accessible to state and federal campaigns of all sizes, with most users paying just $200 per month. But, since local campaign budgets are often much smaller and our targets in this new version of Deck are based on less complex data, we’ve decided to charge just $50 per month for this new version of Deck.

We strongly believe that the center of power in a vibrant progressive movement belongs at the local level, and we’re hoping that Deck can play a small but meaningful role in making that hap

If you know a local candidate — or if you are one yourself — you can sign up today!

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