Cultivating Democracy

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Civi in Ukraine

During the past two years, NDI has utilized the Civi online contact management system as one of its main tools for assisting Ukrainian political parties, Members of Parliament (MPs) and civic organizations in their organizational and citizen outreach activities.
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As a result of the 2013 Euromaidan Revolution, Ukrainian citizens expect greater transparency, accountability, and engagement from their political and legislative leaders. The Civi DemTool, a contact management system from NDI, supports these reforms by empowering Ukrainian political parties, members of parliament (MPs) and civic organizations  to connect with citizens.

Despite their best intentions, many of these organizations lack the strategies they need to effectively communicate with and respond to the needs of their supporters, constituents, and voters. Members of parliament need a tool to track requests and provide resources. Political parties waste time and money without a targeted voter outreach strategy. In Ukraine, Civi solved these problems and provided leaders with a central place to manage engagement, communicate with broad networks, identify key supporters, and track the history of member activities. 

Civi took into account the challenges of political constraints and organizational change in Ukraine, without compromising the technology’s power. NDI first introduced Civi during a series of government-to-citizen trainings in April 2015 as a central platform to manage successful interaction between members of parliament and their constituents. In a pilot program, early adopter MP offices used Civi to store contacts, tag them by categories and interests, track engagements with them, record constituent issues, and assign staff to respond. The DemTool also revolutionized MP communication, allowing them to send blast texts and mass emails to thousands of supporters with just a few clicks. By taking advantage of NDI’s in-depth trainings and technical support, these MP offices became more effective for their constituents. Due to enthusiasm from pilot MPs, NDI plans to expand the Civi database to more offices in Ukraine. 

NDI also works closely with political parties in Ukraine to strengthen their voter outreach and volunteer engagement capabilities through Civi. One leading party is working to integrate Civi at its headquarters and, more importantly, across the country through regional branches, where Civi allows for customized email settings and location-based security and privacy controls. While continuing to advise this party on contact management and integration of other profiles obtained during canvassing, NDI has extended its expertise to additional political party leaders and branch staffers in Kyiv. 

Civi promotes campaign best practices and new tactics, such as A/B testing of political messages and voter mobilization. Next steps for NDI in Ukraine will be to create voter files, conduct surveys, organize e-petitions, canvass voters, and manage phone banks through Civi. 

To date, NDI partners in Ukraine have done the following:
  • Two Ukrainian NGOs have adopted Civi DemTools and NDI trained 4 database administrators in each NGO, one with 15 regional database coordinators.
  • The office of one Member of Parliament adopted Civi and NDI trained seven MP assistants. Four additional MP offices plan to adopt Civi in 2016.
  • Two Political Parties have adopted the Civi DemTool and NDI trained two political party database managers at headquarters, 22 party regional personnel. At least one additional Ukrainian party plans to adopt Civi early next year; two party branch office staffers received training. 
NDI regularly solicits input from our Ukrainian partners in order to improve the functionality of the Civi database. We remain committed to helping partners adopt new, innovative tools that will make their work more effective, while strengthening Ukraine’s democratic institutions and processes.