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VAN/VoteBuilder Wins “Most Valuable Technology” Award at NOI’s RootsCamp


WASHINGTON, DC – On Saturday, NGP VAN, the leading technology provider to thousands of Democratic and progressive campaigns and organizations including President Obama’s re-election, received the “Most Valuable Technology” of 2012 award for its VAN/VoteBuilder product at the New Organizing Institute’s (NOI) RootsCamp conference, an annual gathering of over 2,000 organizers in Washington, D.C.

VAN is the tool that powered every door knock by President Obama’s campaign organizers, and the field programs of nearly every Democratic campaign, the America Votes groups, and labor groups like the AFL-CIO and SEIU. Obama Campaign Manager Jim Messina recently said the most important element of any campaign is old-fashioned door knocking. The VAN helps organizers execute field plans that knock the right doors and make the right phone calls in the most efficient way, collect the right information, and holds the data for future coordinated voter contact. In a cycle where right wing billionaires tried to buy the election through Super PACs, the VAN was part of the people-powered ground game that pushed back and won.

VAN/VoteBuilder was nominated for the award by Bryan Whitaker, Director of Technology at the Democratic National Committee. Whitaker wrote in the nomination, “We all say, ‘If it didn't get data entered into the VAN, it didn’t happen.’ Analytics and voterfiles are powerful resources, but VAN helps make the data and modeled scores actionable for all of us.”

The co-founder and Executive Director of the New Organizing Institute, Judith Freeman, wrote to NGP VAN about winning the award, “thank you for helping to power data-driven campaigns, and for always seeking to innovate and improve.”

The 2,023 Democratic and progressive campaign staff attendees of RootsCamp voted VAN/VoteBuilder as the Most Valuable Technology of 2012 by casting in-person votes at the conference.  Earlier in the process, more than 6,000 people voted online, and a panel of experts weighed those votes and other criteria to select the finalists. The RootsCamp attendees are the campaign staff who were where the rubber met the road, and they were in a good position to see what made the biggest difference. Other nominees included Stork, Dashboard, and other technology created by the Obama for America tech team, the SignOn platform developed for MoveOn, and several dozen other tools.

We’re honored that thousands of our Democratic and progressive organizing colleagues have voted VAN/VoteBuilder as 2012’s ‘Most Valuable Technology’,” said Stu Trevelyan, NGP VAN’s CEO. He continued, “We’ll continue to work hard to provide Democrats and progressives a technology edge.”

During the 2012 campaign cycle, VAN/VoteBuilder powered more than 260 million phone calls and 92 million door knocks to voters throughout the country. 180,000 campaign staff and supporters used VAN during the 2012 cycle, as measured by distinct user accounts.

New VAN innovations this cycle included Mobile Pollwatcher (in contrast to Romney’s failed Project Orca), auto-turfing, new events, and MiniVAN for Android. One of the more interesting possibilities VAN provides is the use of Relationships on Contacts, to track (from Facebook or elsewhere) the people who can reach and have the most influential conversations with specific voters.

While there are many factors that determine electoral outcomes, many independent observers have pegged President Obama and other Democratic campaigns’ ability to win in the face of record spending by Republican Super PACs to their edge in the ground game.  In addition to a deep bench of well-trained staff and a superior enhanced voter file, Democrats benefitted from the technology edge over Republicans provided by NGP VAN.


NGP VAN is the leading technology provider to Democratic and progressive campaigns and organizations, offering clients an integrated platform of the best fundraising, field, and new media products.  NGP VAN counts thousands of Democratic campaigns and progressive organizations amongst its clients, including President Obama’s re-election, all the national Democratic committees, thousands of Democratic campaigns including almost every winning Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, most of the U.S. House winning candidates, and hundreds of labor unions, progressive and non-partisan PACs, and other organizations.