The last time the Vote for Policies survey was rebuilt was all the way back in 2014. We’ve had plenty of useful feedback from our users about how it could be improved, but we haven’t had the technical capacity or funding to implement that feedback. We’ve also had lots of ideas to develop new services that would help even more people to vote, and be informed and excited when they do. But they require even more technical investment.
If it wasn’t thanks to the relentless commitment and support of our volunteers we wouldn’t even have got the survey up and running for the past two elections. They’ve literally kept Vote for Policies alive, and have led the charge when it came to rebuilding it to make it faster. But last year, having set a new target of reaching 5 million people at the next election, we knew we needed extra fire power if we stood a chance of achieving our goal.
Enter team Savvy. I reached out to fellow democracy campaigners Matt Morley and Jeremy Evans who, between them, have also created voter advice services for the last 3 elections – including GE2017.org which reached over 5 million people, and VoteSavvy in 2019. So in terms of their democracy creds, they are very much the real deal.
Strong supporters of Vote for Policies, in the run up to the 2019 election they focussed on redirecting people to our survey, and even set up a Twitter based helpline for anyone with voting related questions.
What I didn’t know was that having founded a successful technology company together in 2018, now called Savvy, Matt and Jeremy have also been looking for ways to bring their expertise and capability to the democracy sector – providing the infrastructure and development skills that we all sorely need. They’ve built the tech necessary to hit our 2024 goal, and their company has the backing of some of the most prominent tech investors in the world including Y-Combinator (investors in Airbnb, Dropbox, Coinbase and others). Altogether this makes them ideal partners for helping fulfil the mission of VfP.
Matt Morley, co-founder of Embeddables, had the identical problem I faced when it came to building out the tech for VfP. “My first venture, TickBox, launched in 2014 required raising money from friends and family to pay a development agency to bring my ideas to life. Fast forward nearly 10 years and through Embeddables we’ve built the platform we wanted to bring our collective ideas to life ourselves, and fast. This matters as people’s expectations are set by their last best experience so in an age where people can stream a show on a train in 4k, we’re still wrestling with paper manifestos. This disconnect sows friction in the democratic process and it’s vital we solve it.”
With our partnership firmly under way, we are working towards our 5 million goal collectively as a team – including engineers from Savvy. Already it has been an absolute game changer – we’ve got the survey up and running again, are also able to customise it for other campaign groups, and we’ll be releasing new features and services between now and the general election next year. And beyond the election, we hope to build on our momentum and start providing services that make our idea of ‘everyday democracy’ a reality.
If you’d like to know more about our work, please sign up to the mailing list. Or, to hear about hosting your own Vote for Policies survey, customised for your campaign or interest group, please get in touch.