Plus Three: Strategy. Design. Technology.

Stumping in Cyberspace

Scott Williams

Hispanic Business Monthly

Jun 1, 2005

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, now chairman of the Democratic National Com-mittee (DNC), is likely to go down in history for two things: the primal scream that made voters question his sanity, and using the Internet to raise money and mobilize supporters.

Hispanic Business Monthly

The latter contribution is considered the more significant of the two, and it has people like Juan Proaño, co-founder and president of Plus Three, an online fund-raising company with offices in Washington, D.C. and New York, eager to demonstrate how his company can link candidates to constituents and, most importantly, their wallets.

"There's never been anything like the Internet for fund raising, which has changed the way people think and the way they approach fund raising forever," says Mr. Proaño, 32, a Miami native of Peruvian and Colombian descent.

Plus Three, founded with partners David Brunton and Thomas Burke, was born in 2002 out of a merger of several companies that brought together expertise in online marketing, design, and software development. The company works with private corporations, nonprofits, and political organizations to communicate with constituents and solicit donations.

Plus Three might be just another company had it not been for good timing and Mr. Proaño's decision to keep in touch with a former colleague who happened to be working for the DNC on a technology project. His colleague made him a job offer, which Mr. Proaño accepted because, he says, it was the biggest technology project going at the time. The fact that it might affect the 2004 presidential election also played a role in his decision.

The project involved building a computer database for the Democrats that would compete with the Voter Vault database compiled by the Republican Party beginning in the mid-1990s. The Republicans had information on millions of constituents, while the Democrats had collected a mere 65,000 to 80,000 e-mail addresses.

Plus Three helped the DNC build a database called DataMart containing the names of 166 million registered voters. The database

The Democrats and, later, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, used the DataMart list to contact people by telephone, direct mail and, primarily, e-mail, targeting them with ads and political messages tailored to each person. Their efforts proved so successful that the DNC raised $85 million in 2003-04 and raised more money than the Republican National Committee for the first time ever.

"All the candidates and campaign committees we worked with actually gained ground against their counterparts," Mr. Proaño says. Those results assure a permanent place for the Internet in political campaigns. Companies like Plus Three can help candidates use the Internet to accept registrations, track donations, and write letters, blogs, and petitions. "It makes everything you were doing before easier, cheaper, and faster," says Carol Darr, director of the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet (IPDI) at George Washington University. Ms. Darr says campaigns must still rely on fund raising, organizing people, and getting people to vote. The Internet makes it more efficient, she says.

"The beauty of the Internet is the cost efficiencies in communicating to constituents," says Edgar Duarte, CEO of Ontime Fundraiser Inc., a Miami online fund-raising firm. Anyone seeking to raise funds can do it faster and cheaper using the Internet, and those wishing to communicate a message or organize support can now reach millions in the blink of an eye.

Ms. Darr predicts that Internet usage will play an integral part in future campaign strategies, although its use will never be perfected. "It's always going to be a work in progress because the technology is just going to be leaping ahead," she says.

As the Hispanic population continues to grow, connecting with Hispanic voters will be among the top priorities for candidates, according to Mr. Proaño. "There's a big battle brewing between both parties to take that large constituency group and start to persuade them," he says. "There needs to be more effort and more resources poured into reaching our community."

To do that, Mr. Proaño believes it's important to return to the basics of properly identifying the estimated 35 million Hispanics in the United States. "We need to start there," he says, "and we need to go beyond traditional surname matching." The next step is to attach statistical data to each person that will help candidates, nonprofit organizations, or corporations

"Tapping into this highly interconnected base of Hispanics online can move a large segment of the population in support or against an issue or candidate," Mr. Proaño says. "Internet applications are like a super-powered phone tree, and large-scale mobilization of a particular group can be very influential with decision-makers. I think the party that recognizes it first and moves forward with it is going to get the jump."

The question then becomes: "How do you reach Hispanics?"

Mr. Proaño says Spanish-language radio and television will continue to be effective and, at the moment, more Hispanic phone numbers are available than e-mail addresses. That means phone banks in which volunteers or staffers call to solicit donations or votes will continue to be a popular means of contact. As far as the Internet is concerned, Mr. Proaño believes bilingual and English-dominant Hispanics are more reachable than those who speak Spanish only.

IPDI's Ms. Darr says the Internet has changed political fund raising and opened doors to political participation for people who in the past had little or nothing to say. Previously, political reporters, donors of large sums of money, professional political operatives, state party people, and candidate staffs dominated campaigns.

"What the Internet has done is allow people who are interested in politics but not part of that old clique to actively participate and be empowered," she says. The "old clique" numbered between 100,000 and 150,000 people, Ms. Darr says, compared with the 7 million to 15 million people that the Pew Research Center estimates participated via the Internet in 2004.

"It used to be the case before 2004 that you simply could not succeed at presidential politics unless you focused your efforts on big donors because you just couldn't raise money fast enough otherwise," she says. "What Howard Dean showed ... was that you could use the Internet and raise enough money from small donors not only to make yourself competitive, but in fact to raise more money than anybody else at that point."

Mr. Proaño notes that Hispanic votes did not reach their full potential in 2004, lagging behind Republicans and other minority Democratic groups. He believes that in the future, Hispanic voters will have the greatest impact in western states that have voted Republican in recent elections such as Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado, as well as those states that hang in the balance, including New Mexico and Florida. Young Hispanics growing up with the Internet have the greatest potential impact on the electorate and selecting future presidents.

"Developing more effective techniques to reach out to Hispanics will be critical to the next candidate looking to be elected president," says Mr. Proaño.

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Coronado Project Selects Plus Three's ARCOS Technology for Online Campaign

Posted on 05/31/2005 @ 11:36 AM

Organizations Team to Refocus Democratic Party on Hispanic Community

Plus Three LP, ("Plus Three" or the "Company"), a strategic marketing and technology company serving major U.S. political organizations and non-profit institutions, today announced that the Company has been selected by the Coronado Project to design, implement and manage its online presence. Key to this campaign is the launch of the Coronado Web Site at www.coronadoproject.combuilt on Plus Three's ARCOS platform. Visitors to the site will be able to register to vote, access the Project's recent memo to the Democratic Party offering actions the party must take to ensure it does not remain the minority party for years to come, and sign up for future Project memos.

The Coronado Project was formed by leading Hispanic operatives to reengage the Democratic Party's interaction with minority groups including the Hispanic community. In "The Crossroads," its first open memo, sent to Party leaders, the Project challenges Democrats to develop stronger relationships with the Hispanic community and sets forth seven major changes the party must make to improve outreach. The basic tenet of the Project is that the African American and Latino communities are the foundation for the Democratic Party's return to majority status.

"Since 1996, the Democratic Party has lost 28 percent of the Latino vote and if that trend continues, Democratic candidates for President will continue to lose," said Paul Rivera, Coronado Project member and senior political advisor for the 2004 Kerry-Edwards campaign. "As polarizing issues continue to confront our nation, Democrats must find new ways to improve their relationships with minority voters. While we are encouraged by Antonio Villaraigosa's recent mayoral victory, one victory does not a future make. The Democratic Party cannot continue to rely on 20th Century methods to engage Latino voters in 21st Century campaigns."

Plus Three is the leading provider of online marketing and fundraising services to large member organizations such as advocacy, non-profit, unions and political groups. Since its inception, the Company has been tapped by leading Democratic organizations and candidates to support their election efforts with highly targeted online campaigns. Online fundraising took on added significance during the recent Presidential Election, as candidates capitalized on the medium to build widespread communities and attract donations. Through its reliance on Open Source software, Plus Three is able to reduce the cost of each dollar raised, maximizing the value of every donation.

"Plus Three's fundraising and get-out-the-vote work in the 2004 national campaign and other experience with other political clients gives us unique insight into the challenges facing Democrat leaders in their efforts to mobilize Latinos," said Juan Proaño co-founder and president of Plus Three. "Recent plans announced by DNC Chairman Howard Dean to meet with Hispanic leaders across the country is an excellent start for reconnecting with Latinos one-to-one in their communities. However, Democrats need to fully understand the particular communication and generational hurdles that must be addressed when reaching out to Latinos. Plus Three's tools will help the Coronado Project educate their audience in the Democratic Party, while simultaneously providing a resource center for the Latino community."

ARCOS is built using Open Source, the world's most flexible and scalable software. Using Open Source provides three key differentiators that the company's clients value above all else — reliability, scalability and security. Open Source is also free from onerous licensing fees, enabling ARCOS users to constantly maximize the value of their investment while substantially reducing the cost of every donation. Built on this industry-leading open source platform is a complete suite of solutions that allow organizations to more effectively communicate with their constituents.

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Plus Three President Shares Expertise in Online List Growth and Acquisitions at 2005 Personal Democracy Forum Conference

Posted on 05/11/2005 @ 11:43 AM

Juan Proaño Offers Insights that Helped Customers Effectively Grow Lists Through Plus Three Systems

Plus Three LP, ("Plus Three" or the "Company"), a strategic marketing and technology company serving major U.S. political organizations and non-profit institutions, today announced that co-founder and President Juan Proaño will be participating in a panel discussion at the Personal Democracy Forum Conference in New York, NY. Proaño will take part in the discussion entitled, "Got Lists? How to Build Your Base Online," drawing on his success building world class databases for Plus Three customers and offering his best practices for building and managing powerful databases. Attendees at the 2005 Personal Democracy Forum Conference will be able to attend the panel on May 16 at 2:00 P.M. ET. For more information please contact Kelby Troutman at 781-487-4610 or ktroutman@racepointgroup.com.

"The low cost of Internet communications has drastically changed the way large and small organizations reach out to their constituents," said Juan Proaño co-founder and president of Plus Three. "Armed with an email database of 250,000 supporters, organizations are able to deliver a highly targeted direct response message to an audience larger than some national news networks get in any 30 minute increment. This is a tremendously powerful tool for organizations to leverage for both activism and fundraising. We look forward to sharing our experiences and developing best practices for effective online communications."

  • Who: Juan M. Proaño, Co-founder and President of Plus Three
    William Green, RightMarch.com
    Tom Matzzie, MoveOn.org
    Kathy Mitchell, Internet Advocacy Director, Consumers Union
    Greg Nelson, CTSG
  • What: Panel discussion, "Got Lists? How to Build Your Base Online" Personal Democracy Forum Conference 2005
  • When: Monday, May 16, 2005, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
  • Where: The Graduate Center, The City University of New York
    http://www.personaldemocracy.com/conference

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Plus Three Announces ARCOS 4.0

Posted on 03/21/2005 @ 10:49 AM

New Version of Flagship Product Builds on Democrat's Stunning Online Fundraising Successes in the 2004 Elections, Increasing Functionality and Ease-of-Use

Plus Three, LP ("Plus Three" or the "Company"), a strategic marketing and technology company serving major U.S. political organizations and non-profit institutions, today announced a significant upgrade to its ARCOS software solution. ARCOS 4.0, the Open Source platform built on Linux, Apache, MySQL and Perl, greatly increases the functionality and ease-of-use from ARCOS 3.1 with a complete fundraising platform that incorporates the most advanced tools available in Web and email publishing and reporting. In addition, ARCOS enables users to easily conduct sophisticated database searches and build highly organized email lists. Plus Three customers feel comfortable knowing that the technology has proven it is capable of handling dramatic traffic surges and that redundancies built into the software ensure no donation is ever lost.

The ARCOS platform underlies one of the most successful fundraising efforts in U.S. history. In the 2004 presidential race, ARCOS transacted more than $185 million during the 2004 campaigns for a variety of progressive causes and platforms, and helped the DNC beat the RNC for the first time ever in fundraising.

"Over the past few years, we have seen the Web achieve its promise for online retailing, for interconnecting companies, and for delivering a total customer experience," said Geoffrey Bock, senior vice president at the Patricia Seybold Group. "Now, we are at a similar stage in its importance for constituency management-transforming the ways in which non-profits and political organizations operate in the digital age."

ARCOS is built using Open Source, the world's most flexible and scalable software. Using Open Source provides three key differentiators that the company's clients value above all else — reliability, scalability and security. Open Source is also free from onerous licensing fees, enabling ARCOS users to constantly maximize the value of their investment while substantially reducing the cost of every donation. Built on this industry-leading open source platform is a complete suite of solutions that allow organizations to more effectively communicate with their constituents. Features and Benefits

Among the standard features of ARCOS are constituent relationship management, email and link tracking, event management, social software and an online activism center. New features and benefits include:

  • Reporting — Enhanced features enable users to easily create reports from fundraising campaigns in real time for increased visibility into the effectiveness of the campaign and which targeted groups are most receptive to particular messages.
  • Enterprise Features — Ensures no dollar is ever lost with enterprise-class redundancy backup systems. The platform has undergone significant load tests ensuring its ability to receive and manage enormous traffic peaks.
  • User Database — Greater flexibility and ease-of-use for users who wish to build lists, conduct searches and compile groups, removing the need for a technical specialist to interact with the database and reducing cost for ARCOS customers. In addition the database is the largest and fastest available in the industry.
  • Email Publishing — Enhances the ability of users to organize and distribute email lists by a variety of factors including campaign, region, age and other demographic information. The email publishing features have also been integrated into the Web publishing tools making it significantly easier for users to up to two million emails per hour.
  • Web Publishing — Enhanced permissioning and work flows are built in for easy maintenance. The industry's only customizable contributor pages and tell-a-friend pages are also included.

Availability

For pricing and availability, contact Plus Three at (866) 945-4889.

Plus Three is the leading provider of online marketing and fundraising services to large member organizations such as advocacy, non-profit, unions and political groups. Since its inception, the Company has been tapped by leading Democratic organizations and candidates to support their election efforts with highly targeted online campaigns. Online fundraising took on added significance during the recent Presidential Election, as candidates capitalized on the medium to build widespread communities and attract donations. Through its reliance on Open Source software, Plus Three is able to reduce the cost of each dollar raised, maximizing the value of every donation.

"As technology use continues to spread throughout large member organizations, such as political parties, unions and non-profits, demand is surging for our platform," said Plus Three President and co-founder Juan Proaño. "ARCOS meets the critical need of these organizations to regularly interact with their member bases helping to ensure activism and participation. The strength of our solution enables users to easily and quickly create targeted campaigns, and distribute them quickly without concern for the delivery of the message or for the resulting spike in traffic and donations. To ensure the effectiveness of each campaign, we've added real-time monitoring allowing users to track donations as they come in to see what campaigns, messages and individual links, donors respond to most."

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Plus Three President Shares Expertise in Online Fundraising at 2005 Politics Online Conference

Posted on 03/03/2005 @ 11:23 AM

Juan Proaño Offers Insights that Helped Customers Raise Over $185 Million Through Plus Three Systems

Plus Three, LP ("Plus Three" or the "Company"), a strategic marketing and technology company serving major U.S. political organizations and non-profit institutions, today announced that co-founder and President Juan Proaño and will be participating in a panel discussion at the Politics Online Conference in Washington DC. Proaño will take part in the discussion entitled, "The Internet Cash-Cow: Fundraising Online." Attendees at the 2005 Politics Online Conference will be able to attend the panel on March 11 at 10:45 A.M. ET.

"The Internet is changing the way organizations raise money. Since the start of 2004, more than $185 million has been raised online in support of progressive campaigns and causes through systems Plus Three developed," said Juan Proaño co-founder and President of Plus Three. "Our extensive work throughout the 2004 Presidential elections sets us apart as the online fundraising experts. Through our work we have the deepest understanding of what organizations must do to help ensure a successful online fundraising campaign. We look forward to sharing our experiences and discussing how issue-advocacy and non-profit groups can maximize their online experiences."

  • Who: Juan M. Proaño, co-founder and president of Plus Three
    Tom Matzzie, MoveOn.org
    Anne Lewis, deputy executive director for the DSCC
    Chuck DeFeo (moderator), eCampaign manager, Bush-Cheney '04
  • What: Panel discussion, "The Internet Cash-Cow: Fundraising Online"
  • When: Friday, March 11, 2005, from 10:45 to 11:45 a.m.
  • Where: Politics Online Conference 2005
    The George Washington University's Marvin Center, Washington D.C.
    www.ipdi.org/politicsonline

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