Getting Data into Reach

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The key to the Reach experience is searching an existing Data Set. Thus, in order to use Reach, your campaign needs to load the data you want your users to be able to search.

BYOD (“Bring Your Own Data”)

We function under a “bring your own data” model where we will upload whatever data you provide us. That data will not be shared with other campaigns. It is up to you to make sure it is accurate and current and complete.

Who Do You Want to Reach?

Think far and wide to Reach your goals! When thinking about which data set to chose, you want to capture the largest audience. If you’re an electoral campaign, this will probably be a voter file containing every registered voter in your district. If you’re a labor union, this might be a complete list of all your members or maybe a list of all the workers on a factory floor who you want to organize.

A note for electoral campaigns

The voters you load are your call, but we strongly recommend not limiting your data set based on targeting criteria like recent or frequent voters or really any sub-universe. One of the main purposes of Reach is to let you canvass voters who are explicitly not recent voters and will be excluded from traditionally targeted lists. To do this, you ideally want to load in the *entire* voter file.

If a canvasser meets someone at the farmers market who hasn’t voted in 10 years but is registered, she should still be able to canvass that person using Reach. If you limit it to only a sub-set of voters, there will likely be a lot of people you and your volunteers meet who will not be findable in Reach. Then, you won’t know why and won’t be able to capture data from that interaction and add them to your universe. We designed Reach to help you break free of targeting assumptions and canvass everyone, and if you load data with targeting assumptions baked-in, you will miss out on a big part of the advantage that Reach provides. 

What should be in the file?

Once you decide your audience, provide us with a CSV file of the those folks you would like to Reach. At the bare minimum, this file must include name information, location information (like street address, city, zip, and state), and at least one Unique ID (like a state voter ID, a VANID, or a member ID).

In order to optimize your Reach experience, include any other fields that might be useful in your canvassing interactions. This might include party affiliation, registration status, age, gender, last voted year, or anything else available. Include whatever you believe is the most useful information to Reach your goals, and we will load it up. This additional information will be displayed on the “Person Profile” screen that your users will see in Reach. Generally, we do not need things like scores or predictive calculated fields, as you won’t be using Reach for targeting or list-building.

For an ideal list of fields for loading into Reach, check out this article.

What about when new people register to vote?

We are happy to update your voter file any time you provide a new updated version. Subsequent updates and new versions of your data must include the same Unique ID that your original file included. For best and fastest results, the whole layout and should match from previous uploads.

Where should you get the data?

We will take data from any source that can generate a CSV.

For electoral campaigns looking for voter data, many of our campaigns get their data directly from their state or county’s Board of Elections or Secretary of State office. In some states, this data is posted online for easy download. In others states, it is available to campaigns for low or no cost upon request. In other states still, it may be prohibitively expensive or complicated to obtain directly from the state.

If you have access to voter file data from an existing database or CRM like VAN or PDI and you have the ability to export that data freely, that works too. Keep in mind that in the case of VAN, this data is typically managed by your state Democratic party. We are hoping to soon launch a bi-direction API integration with NGP-VAN to allow easy access to VAN data, but in the mean time, your ability to export flat CSVs of the data will be controlled by the party’s data policies and procedures. We will always defer to the state party’s requirements for allowing these exports and we aim to strike a balance where they will feel comfortable approving the export as long as the number of requested fields is limited to only those relevant to Reach (see above). If someone from your state party has questions or concerns about Reach, they can contact us directly via [email protected].

If none of these options are available to you, we have relationships with well-established data vendors like Catalist, TargetSmart and L2 who will sell you voter data with a steep discount if you’re going to be using it exclusively in Reach. For more information about this and pricing estimates, get in touch with us.

How to get your data to us

Email us and we’ll provide a secure link for uploading your data.

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Last Updated On October 08, 2019