When we think about the impact that WordPress has had on the web, one area that often comes up is their goal to spread the democratization of publishing. I think it would be fair to say that they’ve done a great job of it. Just about anyone with internet access can create a blog and publish anything they’d like.
The beauty of that is something to behold. People are using the platform to do more than just write down their thoughts, though. They’re taking the opportunity to spread the word about causes they care about – social, environmental and political.
As more users have worked to bring people together, plugin developers have created a number of tools to help make the task a bit easier. Let’s have a look at 8 WordPress plugins that can we can use to further activism in an efficient and peaceful way.
Petitions are a big part of activism and WordPress features several options. Speak Out! Email Petitions is a fork of a previously popular plugin that appears to have been abandoned. The plugin is simple, but effective. You create your petition, people sign it and the results are emailed along to whomever you wish. Signers can also share the petition on social media. You can also export results and set signature goals, as well.
Participants Database helps site owners collect just about any type of information. It was originally developed to help an organization that wanted to maintain a list of concerned voters. Use it to create custom forms that can be submitted into your site’s database. From there you can display filtered results and it’s even searchable. There are also a collection of add-ons available to bring more functionality to the table. This is a highly-flexible plugin and could be a help to virtually any organization that needs to maintain a database of people.
WP Issues CRM is a plugin that is just getting off the ground and has a tiny user base. But there is vast potential. Essentially, it’s a tool to manage high-volume feedback – the kind that an elected official or corporate executive may have to deal with. It works with popular form plugins like Contact Form 7 and Gravity Forms to collect data. Plus, data can be merged in from other sources. The plugin can parse data from emails (like addresses and subjects), manage automatic replies and features a powerful UI for viewing and searching through responses.
Those looking to recruit volunteers will enjoy the flexibility of PTA Volunteer Signup Sheets. While the name suggests a usage for school parent/teacher associations, the plugin can be used for virtually any volunteer-based organization. You can create events that are single, multi-day or recurring. From there, volunteers can register on your site to lend a hand. The plugin features the ability to send email reminders, add specific tasks and time ranges to events and email all volunteers right from the WordPress admin. There are also a multitude of add-ons available for extended functionality.
Improve My City is a platform that allows users to post issues of local interest to your website. For example, a city could use this to allow citizens to report problems with roads or broken equipment at a local park. Pictures can be uploaded to further illustrate the issue. Admins can then browse through issues and even assign them to specific people. This could be of great use to anyone from a small town to a group of volunteers.
Yes, everyone knows BuddyPress – the social platform for WordPress. It’s both well-known and a great option for any type of activism. The ability for a community to stay in touch keeps everyone involved. What’s more, it can be much more efficient than relying on traditional social media. Members won’t have to filter through all the unrelated noise of Facebook and Twitter – all the relevant information they need is right in one neat package. Combine it with bbPress for even more capabilities.
Give’s stated goal is to “Democratize Generosity”. The plugin enables an organization to accept commission-free donations online. It works with PayPal standard out-of-the-box and a number of other payment gateways via add-ons. The donation forms are both attractive and effective, making it easy for visitors to become donors. And there is a robust back-end to the plugin that helps you to keep track of donors and view reports.
Organizations based in the United States can use CongressLookup to help users find their representatives in Congress. It works with Google Maps and Google Civics API (you’ll need separate keys to use both) to list officials based on a user’s address. Search results show name, party affiliation, contact information and more.
Making Sure Your Voice Heard
Regardless of your cause, WordPress offers some pretty powerful tools to help you make a positive difference. The plugins above all have different specialties, but they also put you in the driver’s seat when it comes to achieving your goals. You have the ability to tailor your website to revolve around your message.