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Political Parties Playbook: A Guide for Digitizing Party Operations

Across the globe, there is an ongoing trend of digitization sweeping public spaces and transforming political processes, institutions and citizen expectations. This trend has been further amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. While many established political parties have capitalized on this wave of digitization to advance their outreach and party goals, IRI has seen many others falling behind and sometimes struggling to compete with political newcomers that employ digital tools more effectively than established political parties.

This playbook is written specifically for political parties seeking to expand their online operations to take advantage of the unique benefits technology can provide. 

Parties very early in their digitization process, but with some limited knowledge and experience with digital tools, will find this playbook particularly useful. Digitizing operations, even in limited and incremental ways, is an important step necessary for political parties to strengthen campaigns, win elections and ultimately promote stronger democratic processes and governance. Technology allows political parties to reach new audiences in new ways, communicate with a wide variety of stakeholders and become more efficient in managing communications and member information.

This playbook includes tools and best practices that can help political parties organize internal communications, mobilize supporters and conduct effective campaigns online, to name a few examples. It is important to note that while digitization can certainly be a useful tool to improve party operations, we do not believe in or promote technology for technology’s sake. Instead, we encourage readers of this playbook to first think through their party’s goals and needs, and then strategically use technology as a tool when it can be applied to reach those goals. If applied correctly, the strategic use of digital tools can make the difference between a party’s success or failure.

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