Update: a good discussion about this article has been taking place on Facebook.
Guest article! A little discussion blew up over on the Progressive Exchange listserv this week, with some folks less-than-pleased that NationBuilder‘s being used by Republicans. Steve Ofner posted the piece below in response to the argument that liberals ought to stay away from it as a result.
What CRM Is and Isn’t
By Steve Ofner
Not to stir up a discussion about any specific tool, organization or person, but I’d like to clear up what I think is a common misconception that I keep seeing over and over about CRM. CRM (CONSTITUENCY Relationship Management) was not conceived out of thin air using progressive organizing principles.
I’m saying this as someone who designed several of the systems on the left — I designed ProgressNow (later PartyBuilder and MyBO) at BlueStateDigital to Bobby Clark’s requirements, the first few versions of Salsa/MySalsa and much of the early Act Blue functionality with their folks. In each of those cases, I was building on my experience designing CRM (CUSTOMER Relationship Management) for PetroChems, Wall Street, and Pharmaceutical companies. I know, the three worst industries imaginable. And that was why I left that in 2004 to only work for good.