Success story

Building budgeting software for a political campaign startup

illustration of dashboard

Managing a budget for a business or household is relatively straightforward. Managing one for a political campaign is a whole other story. Political campaigns need to raise a bunch of money along their run and then artfully spend it down at key points in time. Even for seasoned political campaign managers, this can be a challenge. Tracking funds from donors, managing a spending plan, and making sure money gets out the door on time is a big job.

Managing the Old-fashioned Way

Conner Johnston and Josh Wolf know this challenge all too well. Both are seasoned campaign managers and have led teams for several democratic runs.

During their time as managers, they solved the unique challenges of budget management for their campaigns by working together on an intelligent (and massive) spreadsheet that crunched their numbers in just the right way. And they knew they had something great.

“We knew we were onto something when our colleagues from other campaigns asked us for a copy of the spreadsheet”, said Conner.

Their spreadsheet was so in demand that Conner and Josh decided they wanted to build a business around it with a brand new web app. That's when they started My Warchest: a suite of innovative tools to help progressive campaigns win.

Innovations with the help of Elevate Digital

My Warchest retained Elevate Digital to build out their web application. The team knew they needed something elegant and fast to compel campaign managers and to remove the sluggishness of traditional spreadsheets.

Right from the start, it was clear that there should be one primary focus: give users the experience of the spreadsheet but take away the spreadsheet itself.

Elevate Digital was able to answer that call by drawing on experience moving spreadsheet-managed data into a modern and polished web app. This meant extracting the key concerns of the user from the spreadsheet experience and providing an intuitive user interface to get the job done without worrying about the underlying mechanics.

The design and ergonomics of the app that Elevate Digital provided were key to its success amongst managers. Users love how easy it is to reason about their expecting donations and how to spend down at the appropriate times.
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Conner JohnstonCEO/Co-Founder, Warchest

Key Feature Areas for Campaign Success

A prime example of this reinvention is Warchest's budget area. It has things one would expect from a budgeting app like topline aggregates and department breakdowns. But it also includes a budgeting interface that is specifically geared towards political campaigns. Managers are able to quickly unroll their departments by months, weeks, or days leading up to the big day and to apply their numbers accordingly. For situations where the spend should be evenly distributed across time, the app provides an intelligent cost-spreading feature.

Forecasting donations has always been a tricky endeavor in campaign management. Harder still is a way to visualize and reason about when the aggregate donations might land. This is where Warchest brought innovation to the table. With the help of Elevate Digital, an intelligent donation forecasting tool was designed and implemented that gives managers a clear view of the funds they can expect and when to expect them. Visualizations into this forecast allow managers to have confidence in their spending decisions right down to the day level. This feature area has been a key reason for Warchest's success amongst managers and is something that sets them apart from the competition.

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