On The SaaS Trail of CampaignForce

For political candidates and their campaigns that are constantly on the move and have donor information and contributions to track, it can be difficult to keep all the information straight. Salesforce.com has an answer for them.

The software-as-a-service (SaaS)  vendor today announced CampaignForce, Salesforce Political Campaigns Edition, an on-demand application specifically designed for political campaigns and advocacy groups.

Because Salesforce.com  is known for its customer relationship management (CRM) software, its Apex on-demand platform is a natural fit for a political campaign, according to Daniel Burton, senior vice president in the Global Public Policy unit at Salesforce.com.

“If you’re a campaign, CRM is essential to what you are doing,” he told internetnews.com. “This is classic Web service. You access it through your Internet connection and as a service. It’s tailor made for what a lot of campaigns need.”

Click on the graphic for a view of the CampaignForce trail

CampaignForce provides access to campaign donors and their track records for donations, polling data, campaign efforts and mash-up data all through the Web-based control panel. The Netfile finance-tracking software automatically handles reporting of fundraising to the Federal Election Committee.

TubeMogul pulls data from YouTube to track voter interest in the candidate’s videos. It also pulls data from Google  to study local information.

When the campaign is over, candidates can terminate the applications and take all of their data, which is presented in comma-separated format and not retained on the Salesforce servers.

Burton said it took Salesforce.com two weeks to build the service, and it can have a campaign up and running in less time than that. It will allow the candidate and top staff to see all of the information, as well as allow them to limit someone in a local office accessing just data related to their area.

The first candidate to embrace software as a service is former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Romney is not using CampaignForce specifically, but his presidential campaign did use an Apex-based service to build its own campaign-management software based on the same concept as CampaignForce.

While Romney has been running behind former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Senator John McCain in the Republican primary, he stunned campaign watchers by reporting $20.7 million in fundraising in the first quarter of 2007. Alex Burgos, a spokesman for the governor, attributed it in part to using Salesforce.com.

“The effectiveness of the product that we’ve been using was evident in the first-quarter fundraising by governor Romney,” Burgos told internetnews.com. “It was as much a product of selling his message as having a useful tool to sell that message. It facilitates fundraising, but ultimately it’s the message that has to sell. This is a useful tool in doing that.”

Salesforce Political Campaigns Edition will be available later in this quarter for $65 per user per month for the Professional Edition and $125 per user per month for the Enterprise Edition.

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