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Announcing "Hackathon" Project: Open Virtual Phone Bank


Recently we held a "Hackathon" – an internal codefest where we asked our programmers to come up with cool features that weren’t already on the roadmap. For 48 hours, fueled by boxes of pizza and creative thought, they worked long into the night, and developed a number of products and features.

One of the first Hackathon projects we’re releasing is the Open Virtual Phone Bank. It allows VAN users to publish their Virtual Phone Banks to a publicly accessible webpage. That will allow volunteers to make calls, without having given them a login to VAN. It’s easy too; just click one button when you’re setting up a VPB, and you’ll be provided with a unique web page URL.

You can then share that Open VPB unique URL with volunteers, activists and staff members, so that they can begin calling that phone bank universe. Again, they don’t need a VAN account — just an ActionID that they can create themselves. Because they’ll use an ActionID, instead of recycled volunteer VAN logins, you’ll be able to track canvasser attribution more accurately, and see more accurately over time which volunteers make a lot of calls for you.

If a volunteer later becomes someone that you want to have a VAN login, you can just link their ActionID account to a VAN login (and they can use ActionID to log into VAN).

We’re really excited to provide this new tool to the progressive community – big props to our Shai Sachs and the others who took this from concept to feature.

If having your volunteers make calls via a web site sounds great, but you also want to allow volunteers to contact their Facebook friends in your target universe, check out our Social Organizing product, which also has gamification like points and badges to spur more action from your volunteers.

We look forward to releasing other Hackathon projects! If this kind of coding project sounds fun to you, come join us!