Ottawa City Councillor Marty Carr puts a premium on communicating and conversing with her Alta Vista Ward constituents. She wanted a website that would aid in that most important task.
A communications person herself, she had high standards and strong opinions. And I was happy to oblige. I think everything about politicians has to be bulletproof these days and websites are certainly included. That whole “It doesn’t matter what it looks like, people will read if they want” notion is misguided.
Most of the constituents that reach out to their councillors do so under duress. They have a problem or a concern. The last thing they want is a maze or a mess to wade through on a search for the information they seek.
And the site has to be easy for lightly-trained comms assistants to maintain and update or it won’t have the answers constituents seek when they come knocking.
But more than that, the site has to help with follow-through and engagement. For a politician, that’s the proverbial golden fleece. It’s how you meet your people where they are, ensure they get the answer they need, and where maybe you bring them on side.
In the biz, the jargon for this is CRM — contact relationship management. And building a useful, usable, inexpensive contact database was a big part of this project.
Fresh from the campaign trail, most elected officials want to go with what they know, which, a lot of times means NationBuilder. However I am pleased to report that I put together an attractive, easy-to-use CRM based in WordPress that is cheaper than NationBuilder by a factor of ten and better suited to the needs of a sitting politician.
And since it’s WordPress, you’re not limited by NationBuilder’s painful design and content management tools without needing expensive and flakey linkware like Zapier, Uncanny Automator or similar.