Peer-to-Peer SMS Tool
Problem it tries to solve:
How can I text potential volunteers and voters at scale with a tight budget?
An organizer texts their volunteer targets to knock doors the following weekend, and the volunteers can always respond back to the same phone number.
While the tool is no longer in beta, it has yet to be deployed on a national level and there are still some small bugs to be worked out.
Does it sync to NGP VAN?
Groundbase can write data into VAN, but can’t read lists out of VAN.
Groundbase costs 2.5 cents per outgoing and incoming message and $1.25 per phone number rented per month.
Additionally, Groundbase charges for database usage. The first 5,000 records are free, and after that pricing follows the following scale:
$25 per month for up to 10,000 records.
$50 per month for up to 100,000 records.
$100 per month for up to 500,000 records.
Enterprise pricing for over 500,000 records.
Bulk usage discounts are available.
The Basics: Groundbase is a web- and mobile-friendly peer-to-peer SMS tool that allows users to quickly send out text messages from a local phone number. The tool also has a light CRM functionality that allows users to cut lists and retarget.
An organizer or volunteer is sent a Groundbase login to their Gmail account. From there, they can log in via Gmail on their desktop or mobile and will see lists assigned to them specifically, team lists, and public lists for the organization they’re affiliated with.
Groundbase is cheap. We’ll talk more about this in the pricing section, but Groundbase is much more affordable than Hustle or Relay — which makes it easier to scale to the organizer level without taking on insurmountable cost.
User accounts can be assigned a permanent phone number. Unlike Relay, Groundbase allows organizers to use a consistent local number to reach out to volunteers — which allows volunteers to always have access to the organizer, thus making the peer-to-peer SMS experience less ‘cold.’ Users can change this number at anytime if they choose — but it will not go away unless they choose to change it.
Multiple types of analytics reports are available. From opt out reports to non-responders to survey responses, Groundbase does a good job of giving users a full view of their data.
Groundbase has multi-channel functionality. Groundbase is the only peer-to-peer SMS tool currently available that also supports 1:1 email and phone banking.
Groundbase VAN sync is write-only. The current version requires CSV exports from VAN to upload lists into Groundbase. However, survey responses, contact history, and other dispositions are synced instantly into VAN.
It requires a Gmail account to login. The tool uses Google to authenticate users, so any volunteer or staff member who wants to use it must log in with a Gmail account
Groundbase pricing is based on 3 factors: the number of phone numbers you rent every month to send texts, the number of outgoing texts you send and incoming texts you receive, and the number of records you upload into the system.
Phone numbers cost $1.25 per month to rent.
Outgoing and incoming texts cost 2.5 cents each.
Database usage follow the following pricing: Free for the first 5,000 records, $25 per month for up to 10,000; $50 per month for up to 100,000; $100 per month for up to 500,000; and enterprise pricing for above 500,000 records.
Groundbase is currently write-only — meaning it can automatically record responses from campaigns in VAN, but in order to text a list, you must export a CSV in VAN and upload it into Groundbase.
Who we would recommend this tool to:
Large scale organizing programs with liberal state data permissions. While Groundbase’s cost allows the tool to scale to let organizers use it for whatever purpose they need to without overwhelming a campaign’s budget, it currently requires organizers to have export access in VAN.
Year-round organizing programs. Groundbase allows organizers to keep the same phone number if they wish month after month. For organizations working in the community organizing field or the IE side where they have volunteers outside of election cycles, that kind of consistency is crucial.
Who we wouldn’t recommend this tool to:
National distributed organizing programs. If your goal is to use SMS to build for large events via distributed volunteers, it is probably not ideal to have dedicated phone numbers to volunteers, especially because you pay for every number you rent.