I just learned about a start-up that brings lobbying to the masses. It’s called Amplifyd, and it allows you to purchase a phone call in support of an issue you care about. For $5, someone will call your elected official and lobby on your behalf. The founders put it this way:
“As more and more corporations are spending millions of dollars lobbying our elected officials, Amplifyd is providing the first technology-driven solution that gives people the power to voice their political opinions and have more influence over government, without having to march, protest, cold call or quit their day job.”
This really got my attention. Most of us want to make a difference, but we don’t know how to go about it other than a Facebook like (which doesn’t do squat). What I like about Amplifyd is that I can purchase an actual phone call for a cause I care about. In addition to that, 60% of that $5 goes to the non-profit that made the phone call on my behalf, supporting those actively working on what’s important to me. Plus, I don’t ever have to make the call myself, which really appeals to the lazy part of me that would rather watch Netflix or scroll through Instagram.
I’ll be honest: my activism has slid into slacktivism after I left MMW. So I decided to give Amplifyd a try. I purchased two calls (one for net neutrality and one for expanded background checks for all gun sales). Amplifyd explains what happens after I buy a phone call:
- Someone will call and lobby your representative on your behalf
- The majority of your money is given to the charity that made the phone call on your behalf
- After the call is made, you’ll receive a recording of the conversation
You can make phone calls for a campaign, too. Every campaign lists available positions, which could get you some extra cash on the side.
So far, the most annoying thing is that I had to reenter my credit card number for two different campaigns. But It’s pretty cool that $5 will go toward a cause I care about and get me a recording of the phone call made for that cause. Currently, my calls are listed as “In progress,” so I’ll update the post when I receive the recordings.
I think we’ll see a lot more of Amplifyd; I can already think about a few causes that I’d like to buy calls for. Have you tried it? What do you think?
UPDATE (July 2, 2014): I received an email saying that a call had been made for one of my campaign. It included a link to listen to the phone call itself, which redirected me to the Amplifyd login page. Once I logged in, I could hear the recorded call, see when it was made, and leave feedback. I received another email on July 3 for the other call.
Other than the callers fumbling around with pronunciation of my name (something I can’t totally blame them for), I have two major thoughts. First, you only have a week to review the call after it’s made. While I understand that feedback should be given immediately, I hope this doesn’t mean that the link will expire and the phone call won’t be able to be replayed.
The second thought is how much of your information you’re giving to these callers. While I know that I ordered the call to a local representative, there was something a little creepy hearing a stranger leave my name, city, and email address on the rep’s answering machine. This is the same information that I’d give out myself if I were to call, but now someone else is doing it. I don’t want to assume the worst of Amplifyd callers (because I’m sure they’re just trying to make some money like the rest of us), but that is something to be aware of if you’re concerned with your privacy.