Tracking activity in an activist group
January 12, 2017 9:14 AM   Subscribe

I seem to be the Person Who Knows Tech Things in a nascent local grassroots making-life-uncomfortable-for-a-Republican-Senator group. I'm brainstorming ways to track participation in regularly occurring actions.

I'd like to hear options that I may not have considered for both getting people's email addresses when they show up at an action (or email a letter to be carried by the people attending the action), and keeping track of which actions each person participates in.

The current situation: weekly actions are taking place and the first one resulted in a paper sign up sheet for everyone who showed up, with their names and email addresses. I was asked to input these into a spreadsheet (easy except omg the handwriting!) but also asked to think about how to streamline this process in the future (for free, obvs).

They'd like to be able to not only get new people signed up at these actions, but also track which actions the repeat offenders come to. Currently there is no website (there is one owned by the state level folks, and I suspect in the future something will be done with that but right now there's nothing there and I don't know who is in charge of it).

Right now I've got a Google Form. I've suggested that at actions, someone just get people signed in/up with a tablet or smartphone, though I could see that being more time-consuming than just passing a clip-board around (and no one wants to pass their own phone around for obvious reasons). And with the form, even if you've been to 5 actions, you still sign in like you've never done it before, and it logs the data in the Big Response Spreadsheet so that if you can't really easily see that Jane Smith came to actions on February 8, 12 and March 1 without some vlookup wizardry.

I'd love a solution where people could pre-register and then just check themselves in on a phone or tablet at the event, that also allows for someone who just walked in off the street to register themselves on the spot. Outputting to any kind of spreadsheet.

(I use Eventbrite at work and for this purpose it is way overkill and their Organizer app will end with the non-tech people who are mainly the ones doing the on-the-ground work here running screaming.)

I'd like to not buy anything right now because this just started, there's a larger state-wide infrastructure that also started recently but has been doing it longer, we're coordinating with them, but everything is still very much moving targets and the way this is done may change.

Any suggestions or brainstorming appreciated.
posted by soren_lorensen to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

It's a relational db / spreadsheet interface that also allows you to create user-friendly forms as well. Very user-friendly and good integrations and levels of permissions.

I use it to help a non-profit volunteer group with many members that have many meetings for which we want to track participation. It's free and hosted, which was an important consideration.
posted by suedehead at 9:58 AM on January 12, 2017 [3 favorites]

I wonder if it would help to print a QR code that linked to the form people might fill out. You could then hand out many slips with the codes and people could scan them to reach the form to fill out.
posted by procrastination at 10:20 AM on January 12, 2017

I've went to two different events that used a google form. Organizers had ipads and passed them around for everyone to fill out a quick survey.
posted by tofu_crouton at 10:56 AM on January 12, 2017

There are a variety of vendors that handle centralized activist databases + mass e-mails.

As a small group, ActionNetwork will give you access for free up to a certain size. They will also allow you to export your data without charge if you decide to go with one of their competitors / decide you have outgrown them.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 7:27 PM on January 14, 2017

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