Meet the Obama Campaign's $250 Million Fundraising Platform

Kyle Rush (Obama for America)
Web Performance, Mission City Ballroom
Average rating: ***..
(3.34, 157 ratings)

The session would be mostly based off of this blog post: http://kylerush.net/blog/meet-the-obama-campaigns-250-million-fundraising-platform/

The session would serve as a good example of working with outside vendors to increase the performance of products strictly from an ROI perspective. Instead of asking out vendor to rebuild their platform, which would have taken a long time, we worked with the vendor to turn the existing architecture into an API in 3 days. This allowed us to replace the slow, vendor hosted environment with static web pages served by a CDN and consume the API in JavaScript.

Often times developers might think that the most performant solution is also the most difficult to work with, but the opposite was true with our solution. With performance as our guiding light we ended up with a platform that was infinitely easier to work with. We were able to run 250 a/b tests on the new platform in 6 months which increased the conversion rate of the pages by an estimated 49%. This would not have been remotely possible with the old platforms because we couldn’t control all of the HTML of the pages.

Photo of Kyle Rush

Kyle Rush

Obama for America

I work on web apps and focus most of my efforts on optimizing the user experience. That means I get too much excitement of making things load faster, optimizing for conversions with a/b and multivariate tests and using analytic data to improve how users interact with web apps.

Most recently I was the Deputy Director of Frontend Web Development at Obama for America. While working for the President I managed much of the technical aspects of the $690 million we raised in 20 months. Our team created a new online donation platform from scratch that improved page load time by 60%, resulting in a 14% conversion increase, a difference of more than $34,000,000 in revenue. We executed over 500 a/b and multivariate tests which increased donation conversions by 49% and acquisition conversions by 161%. We also architected and launched Quick Donate, the first single click donation platform for web, email and SMS in the non-profit/political world which had 1.5 million users and raised $115 million in a little over 10 months. Quick Donate was Mashable’s biggest innovation in politics and government for transforming political fundraising in 2012.

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Comments

Felipe Albertao
06/21/2013 1:39am PDT

I and several I talked with were turned on by the blatant political justice on display. A potentially great presentation was enhanced by showing that the power of the Internet and social media can beat an opponent with unlimited funding like Mitt Romney. High part of a fantastic conference for me.

Nolan Fluckiger
06/20/2013 6:34am PDT

I and several I talked with were turned off by the blatant political animosity on display. A potentially great presentation was tarnished by overt disdain for Mitt Romney. Low part of an otherwise good conference for me.

John Townsend
06/19/2013 11:13pm PDT

It’s funny that the speaker indicated he wouldn’t go into politics yet the very next part of his speech was purely political. I actually expected more from OReilly and Velocity. I came o learn about tech, devops, and impove my skills. I m really disappointed OReilly and Velocity let someone go on about politics versus talking about how they innovated.

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