Empowerment is the essence of organizing. It is a challenging process through which the goals of an individual become the goals of a community. To be successful in overcoming this challenge, an organizer must communicate to each member of the community how their individual contributions accomplish a shared goal.

A penetration map from 2014 efforts in Washington State. Such maps energize volunteers and staff alike

In my experience spanning several statewide election cycles in Washington State, I can think of few tools that unlock the unique communicative power of GIS technology to build community consensus around shared goals quite like Empower Engine. Organizers who are fluent in the program are able to create critical buy-in from individual volunteers, community organizations, and allied groups at a much faster rate than those who are not. In 2014, our volunteer recommitment rates correlated positively with the number of Empower Engine log-ins per day, meaning our organizers who were using the technology to communicate needs to their volunteers were much more likely to have those individuals come back to complete another shift.

For our Data Team, Empower Engine is a crucial asset. As we're parsing voter contact targets, divvying up organizer turfs, and making decisions about how to split or combine portions of our target universe, we consistently use Empower Engine to more accurately understand how our decisions will impact the day to day experience of our field team and volunteers.

In 2014, we relied on Empower Engine to work with our allies in the state who were providing volunteer resources for our voter contact program. I remember us shading our precincts deeper shades of blue depending on how much of our target universe we had contacted in a given day. On more than one occasion, we were able to ask for more help knocking doors because folks wanted to make sure we turned a particular district completely blue, and were willing to commit more resources to make that happen!

In 2016, our partnership with Empower Engine has allowed us to multiply our electoral impact by leaps and bounds over previous election cycles. Our ability to build consensus around the work that needs to be done, engage key allied organizations in a meaningful way, and provide our organizers capacity to become successful leaders in their own communities is unmatched. I know we'll be successful in 2016 because we can count on the Empower team to provide us the tools we need to get the job done every step of the way.

Max Brown
Coordinated Campaign Director
Washington State Democrats