Mobile Platform Launched for New York City Campaigns

Coming soon: City campaigns get a platform for mobile donations

Capital New York

Azi Paybarah

July 1, 2013

Tomorrow, the New York City Campaign Finance Board will roll out a mobile web site that will allow donors to contribute money to candidates right from their phone.

The new site will allow contributors to plug in all the information that’s required by the NYCCFB—including full name, address, occupation, etc.—from their phone and submit their donations on-line. The idea is to streamline how the donations come in and to make it easier for campaigns to utilize mobile ways of sharing.

The NYCCFB-led effort allows Council candidates to benefit from new technology, without having to invest precious campaign resources to develop their own systems.

The site was designed for the NYCCFB, free of charge, by Tipping Point Partners, Pivotal Labs and Method, in keeping with the requirements of the board for participation in the city’s matching funds program.

The version that rolls out tomorrow will be an introductory one, which will require campaigns to grant access to individual donors before they can make a contribution.

Later this summer, in version 2.0, the site’s functionality is expected to expand, to include 24-hour donation capabilities, plus profiles of the candidates and other information donors and voters would likely need.

Last February, Councilwoman Gale Brewer introduced a bill to allow campaign donations to city candidates via text messages, which became a popular way of giving following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. At the time, the NYCCFB said they were keeping an eye on that technology.

However, one problem with text donations is that it incurs service charges from phone companies, and dealing with that is, in short, a nightmare from an auditing perspective.

Creating a mobile web site gets around the problem of text message charges, but does require contributors to plug in a bit more information up front than just “texting HAITI to 90999.”

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