Frequently Asked Questions
Who are you?
Who are you?
We’re a group of young Portland natives who want to make politics better. You can read more about our team here
What is your political affiliation?
We have none. Our only aim is to create a platform for citizens to engage with their elected leaders. That means remaining utterly nonpartisan.
Of course, the individuals in our organization do have their own political beliefs, but letting these affect what we do would run in direct opposition to our mission.
Okay, but you must have some agenda.
Nope. PolitiCrowd is open for anyone. We’re not in the business of promoting any viewpoint. We just saw a broken system and wanted to fix it, which was motivation enough for us.
So. Why should I use PolitiCrowd?
PolitiCrowd is the easiest way to get politicians to listen and respond to your voice. If you have a good idea about how you want the government to run, here’s the place to do it.
But why would a politician want to hear what I have to say on PolitiCrowd?
In order to get elected and reelected, politicians must first connect with their voters. Right now, they pay a lot of money for the data and research services that help them do this. PolitiCrowd’s crowdsourced setup offers them the same level of understanding for free.
Lawmakers also benefit from the opportunity to develop their message. And since you can vote on politicians’ responses, they get immediate feedback about what people want and what they don’t. It’s like a focus group, only everybody can weigh in.
Right, but what’s to stop legislators from just posting the same canned responses they use for the emails and petitions they receive?
Multiple politicians post replies to the same OpenLetter. If one posts a form letter and another posts a personal response, the latter will get more positive feedback and resonate better with the community. Making a good impression on PolitiCrowd leads to better election results down the line.
You talk about transparency and accountability. How does PolitiCrowd make these things happen?
PolitiCrowd posts OpenLetters on politicians’ profiles. These profiles act as a public inbox, which create an open record of the politicians’ communications.
This allows users to easily track whether their legislators respond and act according to their wishes. It also lets them see the other influences at work in the political system.
This all sounds great! Now, what if I don’t want to write an OpenLetter?
No problem. You can write a comment on somebody else’s OpenLetter to express support, suggest a change, or argue against it. Or, just upvote or downvote the letter according to your preference. Your contribution, no matter how small, will help inform lawmakers about your stance.
Will I have to pay to use PolitiCrowd?
Absolutely not. We believe all people should participate in our democracy without incurring any cost. We will never charge users or politicians to create content and participate on our website.
So how do you make money?
We are a 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit. Our revenues consist primarily of grants and donations. In the future, we hope to implement paid services such as trend analyses and statistical breakdowns. We fervently hope to keep PolitiCrowd ad-free.
Money goes to covering operating costs, and nothing more. We work on a lean business structure, and do our utmost to avoid largesse wherever possible. This allows us to use our funds much more effectively than many other nonprofits.
You mention an organization called SEE on your site. Who are they?
SEE, or Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs, is our fiscal sponsor. That means they help us maintain our 501(c)(3) status with the IRS. Beyond that, we’re our own entity, and are not affiliated with any of the other groups SEE supports.
How can I donate?
Just click the “donate” button at the bottom of the screen. Since we’re a nonprofit, it’s tax deductible, so be sure to keep your contribution on file come April. Thanks!
Can I volunteer?
Of course! We’re always looking for more help around PolitiCrowd. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
We currently operate only in Oregon, but next on the docket is an expansion to the entire West Coast. From there, we hope to keep growing state by state until we cover the entire country.
As we go, we’ll continue to listen to our users, improve the site, and maintain our values. We look forward to empowering people everywhere to effect political change in a constructive and collaborative manner.