ActionKit is built by We Also Walk Dogs. We take our name from a 1941 short story by Robert Heinlein about a company that specialized in solving impossible problems.
Founded in 1998 by Patrick Michael Kane, we began working with MoveOn.org at their founding that same year. There were no best practices for online organizing then, so we learned with MoveOn, helping conceive and building all of their software.
Our software helped ONE recruit millions of members worldwide, and was used by Rock The Vote, Facebook and Obama for America to register over 2.6 million voters.
Through ActionKit we're now able to share all that we've learned in the last decade with the rest of the progressive movement.
ActionKit was released in March of 2010 and is now used by groups representing over 12 million users, including CREDO Mobile, Oceana, Mercy Corps, Bold Progressives, Food Democracy Now, Free Press, Democracy for America, SumofUs and the Progress Now network.
Before Obama or even Howard Dean, MoveOn used our tools to pioneer a change in political fundraising, raising over $130 million in small contributions.
The systems we built power the online organizing revolution, supporting MoveOn’s member-focused and innovative approach:
Taking guidance from the wisdom of crowds: From the Action Forum in 2000—an online forum for soliciting and prioritizing ideas for policymaking—to the first “virtual primary” in 2003, we’ve created mechanisms for collecting meaningful input from supporters. In 2004, for MoveOn’s “Bush in 30 Seconds” contest, over 1,500 people participated in the creation of hundreds of 30 second TV spots then over 100,000 members voted on the finalists.
Leveraging a small staff: Technology has allowed MoveOn’s small staff to accomplish astonishing things.
Our event-organizing tool was the first of its kind, allowing MoveOn members to host houseparties, vigils, and press events in their communities with minimal staff involvement. In 2004, members raised $750,000 at 1,100 “Bake Back the White House” bake sales in communities from Akron to Anchorage.
In 2004 and again in 2006, we created the software MoveOn used to mobilize 100,000+ volunteers, translating online communications to feet on the ground. In 2008, using our phonebanking tools to call from home or from small parties, MoveOn members in "safe" states recruited almost 1 million members in battleground states into shifts at their local Obama for America office.
Testing and innovation: Over the years, we’ve helped MoveOn design tests and analyze the results, then baked best practices right into the tools. Most importantly, our mailer is fast and reliable, so MoveOn can act quickly in new circumstances. We’ve also built in highest previous contribution based fundraising asks, subject line testing and easy list segmentation, because we know these can make a significant difference.