Berkeley, California (EastBayDaily) — According to opensecrets.org, Americans spent more than $6 billion attempting to rally their favorite politicians into elected office during the 2012 federal campaigns alone – not including state, county or local elections. Yet U.S. citizens spend nearly nothing to ensure those politicians vote accordingly after elected. Corporations, aware of this fact, leverage their financial power and spend collectively over $3 billion dollars every year influencing these same politicians once in office.
Scott Blankenship, the founder of Amplifyd, felt as though there needed to be a new way to engage with elected officials and put political influence back in the hands of voters, in a way that was more powerful than simply signing a petition, but easier than quitting your job to fight for the cause.
"I was surrounded by causes I felt passionate about," says Blankenship in a recent interview. "But I wasn't ready to dedicate my life to any of them. I wanted to build a way people could have their voice heard, no matter what their day job was."
As a crowdsourced lobbying platform, people can purchase any number of calls from campaigns listed on the site. For each call bought, someone will call and lobby the elected official of the person that bought the call.
Online petitions, although popular, are being completely ignored by politicians for one simple reason: it’s impossible to verify that supporters of these emails and petitions actually represent voting constituents within their district, and there is no way to definably filter out voters versus non-voters. “All the ex-staffers we’ve talked with said online petitions are either drastically discounted in value or completed ignored,” says Blankenship.
Amplifyd solves this issue by verifying supporters through their billing address and only allowing people living within the community of the campaign to purchase calls. As a result, elected officials know calls are only coming from voting constituents and no one else.
Anyone can sign up to become a paid caller too, lobbying elected officials for others. Callers will be able to make $12-$30 an hour making calls for others. Calls are all made on the Amplifyd platform, so all that’s needed is a computer, an internet connection, and the ability to read a script and click a button.
“The platform was designed to make calling simple, easy and intuitive,” says Blankenship.
Campaigns on the site are managed by nonprofit advocacy organizations and the majority of the purchase price goes to supporting their activities. It’s a great way for organizations to mobilize their community around their causes and provides an additional revenue stream to finance their important activities.
There are many campaigns on the site already, covering hot topic issues like net neutrality, environmental protections, GMO policies, student debt refinancing, child protection, and gun control to name a few. See all the campaigns here.
About Amplifyd Amplifyd is a social activism startup based in Berkeley, California that helps crowdsource political lobbying for people, communities and causes by having activists call and lobby local, regional or national representatives on your behalf. Amplifyd was created by Scott Blankenship, a passionate entrepreneur driven to solve serious social problems in our society. He has a background in international politics, marketing, and web development.