"We've really poured a lot of energy and thought into making this focused on real-world organizing activity," says Chris Hughes, the 24-year-old co-founder of Facebook, who left that company last year to help Obama with his online organizational efforts.
In 2000, George W. Bush revolutionized campaign fund raising--and shattered existing records--by creating a muscular network of "bundlers," each of whom committed to bring in $100,000, $200,000 or more from friends and associates. But while Bush's bundlers, whom he designated Pioneers and Rangers, were high-powered CEOs and lobbyists, Obama's bundlers include such unlikely political players as Andrew Nicholas, who tutors refugee students at Denver's South High School; Emily Stanton, a stay-at-home mom in Baltimore; and Jeff Larson, a software engineer in Chicago. They are among the 9,500 volunteers, says the campaign, who have signed up to solicit their friends and families by hosting individual fund-raising Web pages for Obama.
Ganz and Wageman's model gets members of teams to find out more about one another's experiences, and draw on each member's expertise. The model also uses personal storytelling during workshops as a way to motivate peers and potential recruits to action.
The Obama campaign first experimented with the Ganz-Wageman system during the primaries, trying it out in Iowa and South Carolina. It won in both states, while in New Hampshire, where it ran a more-traditional marketing campaign, Obama lost. The campaign began phasing in the system nationwide in June. More than 23,000 people have participated in at least eight or more hours of leadership training provided by Camp Obama, according to Ganz.
Obama organizers, and some volunteers, enter the campaign machine through weekend training sessions called "Camp Obama."
"Ultimately, your story should move people to specific action by painting a detailed picture of how things might be different if we act, giving us hope that if we act now we can make real that different future," explains the training manual.
The Obama campaign will give volunteers access to databases that have been constantly updated throughout the summer through its field-office computers, and through myBo — Obama supporters' nickname for myBarackObama.com — with information about potential voters' political leanings. The information in the database has accumulated over time from previous election campaigns, and is constantly updated with information gathered at people's doorsteps by canvassers like Scanlon, and through phone calls.