As Change.org, Kickstarter and other online crowdfunding platforms and petitions have shown us, rallying together on an issue can make a difference. But we’ve also learned that it can sometimes falls short when it comes to the notorious muscle power — aka: lobbyists — working on Capitol Hill.
But a new San Francisco-based startup is making lobbying a little more accessible to the general public. Billed as a “crowdsourced social activism platform,” Amplifyd is a site that invites users to hire their own lobbyist for a mere $4.95. Whether your issue is student debt or saving the forest, you can hire someone to call an elected official and gripe about why they should care.
The site has only been live for a few days but is already working on 11 different political issues including net neutrality, gun control, fracking in California, protecting wolves and the type of milk Starbucks offers.
Like Kickstarter, each campaign has a page explaining the issue and who you need to call, in case you want to take matters into your own hands. You can add the number of phone calls ($4.95 each) you’d like a lobbyist to make. The page also explains where your money is going and what to expect to happen next.
For example, the campaign “Enough! All Gun Sales Should Be Subject to Background Checks!” implores you to ask elected officials to support legislation for background checks on gun sales. The page explains that most of the money donated will go towards Everytown For Gun Safety, an organization funded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. After the phone call is made, Amplifyd will send you a recording of the conversation.
While political lobbyists are bound to have more influence than Amplifyd’s hired hand, it’s refreshing to see a startup take on an industry that’s reserved for the political elite and make it available to the greater public. Perhaps if we all had lobbyists, we’d feel like we could truly make a difference when it comes to the issues we are passionate about.