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At the risk of mixing business and pleasure I wanted to wibble for a minute or two about InfoStorm. This is an extremely slow burn project I've been working on for a while now which lets organisations manage their relationship with their "members".

What do I mean by "members"? This is what I said on the Infostorm web site1:

  • If you're a company your "members" might be customers who you want to keep in touch with, or prospects to whom you want to sell your product or service.
  • If you're a charity your "members" might be members in the conventional sense, if you're a member organisation, or might be people who've donated money to you in the past, or just be people with whom you want to keep in touch. Or some combination of these.
  • If you're running a campaign your "members" might be your supporters who you want to energise to help you with your campaign.
  • If you're a community your "members" might be the people who live in your community with whom you want to keep up to date on local news.

InfoStorm can hold details of the members for you, anything from a simple name and email address to a mass of data including your own custom fields. My idea was that this would slot into the bottom end of the market, for people who didn't have the resources to write or host this sort of thing yourself. So you can run a campaign, for example, on a very basic server with no server side scripting or back end database.

So why do I mention this now?

Well, it's an exciting time for electoral reform which is something I've been involved with for a long while now. I run various web sites for Make Votes Count (MVC) who campaign for the introduction of the AV+ voting system proposed by the Jenkins Commission back in the first years of Labour rule.

In Sunday's Observer on the back of the MPs' expenses scandal a lot of high profile supporters of PR wrote a letter calling for an binding election day referendum on the voting system.

Then yesterday Alan Johnson suddenly came out for a referendum on proportional representation with the options being first past the post (the current system) or AV+.

Suddenly the pressure was on and in the middle of a long bank holiday weekend too. Although the Electoral Reform Society are launching a new campaign next weekend MVC wanted to start collecting names backing Sunday's letter immediately2 and starting doing so by email.

I mailed MVC on Monday offering my help. Why not use InfoStorm3?

It wasn't long before I got a phone call. How quickly could I do it? "By the morning" I said. And InfoStorm came up with the goods. It's the first time I've had to get a site up and running so fast but it was going in a couple of hours.

Which was all rather pleasing.

So now you can sign up here.

  1. I wrote this a long while ago now and I'm wondering: did I deliberately end up with all the organisations who might use it starting with a "C"?
  2. They're also drumming up support via Twitter tag #ref2010 if that means anything to you and they're running facebook adverts.
  3. MVC already use InfoStorm to manage their main supporter database - they're my biggest beta test site - so they were familiar with the concept.

Tags: Infostorm, work Written 26/05/09

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