October 19th, 2012
Update: Campaigns & Elections has April’s email to Salsa staff. Heartbreaking. Update II: Just days after the big news from Salsa, it became public knowledge that Change.org was shedding its progressive/lefty orientation. Read more.
News of a big change at online advocacy tool provider SalsaLabs trickled out yesterday: the company’s founders have been forced out of an active leadership role by its Board of Directors. Chris (Lundberg) and April (Pedersen) are good friends of mine, as are many people who work at the campany or use its products every working day, so I’m honestly somewhat at a loss for words when I think about what happened.
The first question that comes to mind, though, besides worry about Chris, April and Salsa’s other employees themselves, is this: what happens to Salsa, a CRM platform used by thousands of progressive organizations and Democratic campaigns? As Tim Tagaris pointed out on Twitter, “It’d be a real problem if new leadership took development paid for by progressive orgs and started selling to Republicans.” Shades of the controversy around NationBuilder! Salsa’s reply? “Salsa remains loyal to our clients & their missions.”
They’d better — one of Salsa’s brand differentiators is that it’s been dedicated to serving progressive causes, as GetActive was before they were bought by Convio in 2007. And, just as plenty of Lefties fled to Salsa after that acquisition, Salsa would risk alienating a loyal customer base if they abandoned that core mission. This time, though, I’m not sure where progressives would go…but I doubt that market niche would be empty for long.