Empower Engine And VAN: A Great Combo
We Love VAN Data
Empower Engine lets you SEE your data, so you can do more with it. We know how motivating it can be to look at your progress on a campaign, so we visualize a lot of VAN data. The standard field data we show falls into five categories, though we can map almost any VAN data you want.
Where are the voters you want to reach out to for persuasion or GOTV?
Where are they densest?
Where are they densest, excluding folks you’ve recently attempted or contacted?
How many of your targets have you attempted or contacted since the start of the campaign, since the primary, or since the start of GOTV?
What parts of the district do you really need to get back to, and which have you covered well?
Show volunteers the value of their work when asking for another shift. It’s very motivating and will make them much more likely to step up and do more.
Overall field work
Where have you knocked doors, called people, or texted them this week? Since the beginning of the campaign?
1s and 2s
Candidates and funders love to see all the supporters you’ve identified.
Of your GOTV targets, who has voted so far, and who has not?
Of all registrants, who has voted so far, and who has not?
As Simple As A Saved List
Setting up VAN integration is trivially easy. When you come on board, we’ll ask for a VAN account and make a folder called “Lists To Map”. When you want us to map your targets, all you have to do is create a saved list of your targets in that’s designated folder. That’s it. It’s really that simple.
If you update your targets, just save over the saved list, and all your maps will update overnight. If you make a new set of targets, save it in that folder, email us, and we’ll set up the new datasets for you right away.
If you’re tech-savvy and want to generate your targets using SQL, you’re welcome to share a table with us. But if you don’t know what that means, don’t worry about it.
How It Works Under The Hood
You may have heard of an API (“Application Programming Interface”) for how one website talks to another. This is similar, but in our case, we talk database to database, relying on something called the “VAN Sync”.
For VoteBuilder users, all your campaign’s field data (and lots of other data) is constantly copied to the DNC’s Vertica database. Once your campaign manager or data director confirms to the DNC that you’re an Empower Engine client, the DNC will let us access your campaign’s data in Vertica. We’ll download the appropriate field data to our database in the middle of the night, where we aggregate it. We never pull voter names -- just the fact that you canvassed a voter with the id of 12345, and what latitude and longitude they live at.
For Catalist-based VANs, (e.g. America Votes VAN, State Voices VAN, Labor Action Network), all your campaign’s field data is constantly copied to Catalist’s servers. In the 2018 cycle, we cannot pull from there for nightly field maps, but we expect to implement that early in 2019. It will work just as it does for VoteBuilder users, pulling field data from Catalist’s servers into CatalistEmpower.com seamlessly and invisibly.
Many large organizations with data staff have access to this VAN Sync data on other servers. When we worked with the Liberal Party of Canada to help elect Trudeau, we pulled data VAN data through Civis. We can work with any such system to aggregate and show your VAN data.
If you don’t understand this section or the comic above, don’t worry about it. It’s for the geeks. Suffice to say that we pull VAN data for our clients automatically, and your maps can update weekly or nightly without your giving it a second thought.
Let’s Get You Going
We’re ready to show your VAN data today. A picture really is worth a thousand words. Give us a saved list and your support survey question, and we’ll get you set up! It’s as simple as that.