NTU Launches Text Messaging Advocacy

Posted: Feb 27, 2009 9:17 AM
This just in from National Taxpayers Union:
"We alert. You call. They listen." That's the idea behind the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union's announcement today of a new technology -- text messaging -- the group will use to activate concerned citizens nationwide on important matters of fiscal policy at the federal and state levels. Taxpayers can opt in to NTU's service by texting "FIGHT" to 54608. NTU unveiled its system today at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Although text messaging, or SMS (Short Message Service), outreach has been popularized by the entertainment industry, political campaigns, and other policy organizations, NTU Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan believes NTU is the first grassroots taxpayer advocacy group to utilize it on a national level. "It's well known that President Obama successfully used text technology during his campaign, but few -- if any -- taxpayer watchdog organizations are using it to mobilize their members," Moylan said. "Now, with the push of a button, citizens nationwide will be able to call their elected officials -- from Members of Congress to state legislators -- and voice their concerns on or support of certain bills."

After signing up for NTU's service by texting "FIGHT" to 54608, subscribers will receive an automated confirmation message with more information and opt-out instructions. NTU has maintained a long and growing list of activists willing to e-mail their government representatives on specific issues -- something it will continue to do -- but employing mobile messaging technology puts NTU ahead of the curve when it comes to grassroots activism.

"Congressional offices inundated with e-mails can easily ignore those messages by hitting 'delete,' but nothing sends a more powerful message -- one that cannot be ignored -- than thousands upon thousands of phone calls that could shut down the Capitol switchboard, as was the case during recent bailout and stimulus votes," Moylan concluded. "The same is true for State Legislatures across the country: A voice on the phone has infinitely more influence and immediacy than an e-mail."