Case Study: Four States for Dean / Four States for Democracy

Four States for DeanIn 2004, the Dean for America campaign was on the forefront of “netroots” organizing and demonstrated just how powerful a tool the Internet can be. One of the most successful strategies of the campaign was been the promotion of local meetings of supporters
and volunteers, organized through Meetup.com.

An outgrowth of the Hagerstown, Maryland Meetup, Four-States for Dean was a group of supporters of Gov. Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, located in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
This website facilitated communication between group members and others about upcoming events, campaign news, resources and action items.

To allow interaction between the group’s coordinator and users of the website, CyberInfinity Design developed a dynamic, database-driven website with an administration interface.

Four States for DeanThe most time-sensitive information, News Articles and Action Alerts, were featured prominantly on the homepage. Both of these features could be edited via the administrative interface. The administrator could also designate which items to display first, or temporarily disable individual items.

News Articles were linked to an off-site source for the full article, while Action Alerts might be linked to other sites where the user can get more information. There was also a complete archive of all News Articles, accessible from the main menu.

Four States for DeanWebsite users were able to submit suggestions for the Upcoming Events and Helpful Links pages. When submitted, the information was automatically entered into the database, but flagged as “pending.” An email was sent to the group coordinator, who could then go to the administrative interface and either approve or delete the suggestion. If approved, the new information was visible on the website immediately.

Users wishing to get involved with the group were able to submit a contact form and indicate which constituent groups they were affiliated with and the ways in which they were interested in helping. This data was also saved, building a volunteer database that could be used by the group when planning future events.

Four States for DeanOther sections of the website included information about Howard Dean and his stance on various issues, information about the group, and a list of ways to get involved with the campaign.

Through interactivity and flexibility, this website connected Four-States for Dean coordinators, group members and other users to each other and to other participants in the widespread grassroots effort to support Gov. Dean’s candidacy.

When Gov. Dean suspended his presidential campaign and founded Democracy for America, the group renamed itself Four-States for Democracy, and the website was rebranded, but retained all of its functionality.