We love finding new tools for our clients to use, and we recently came across a pretty cool one that was highlighted on the Progressive Exchange listserv*. GovTrack, an independent web tool that allows the public to track the activities of Congress, including voting records, legislation status and member information, has an API that makes it easier than ever for non-profit organizations to pull the information they need for free. And we know that in non-profit technology, free is good!
Using GovTrack’s API, for which there is no key, you can track bills, votes, congressional districts, and even map the districts using Google maps. It’s very cool and can be very useful for organizations who focus on Big A Advocacy and legislation. The website pulls from sources like Thomas, the official Library of Congress legislation database, among others. It was nominated for a Webby Award in 2006, and is run by Joshua Tauberer, a PhD student and software developer.
Companies like PICnet and those working in the non-profit community should be thinking about ways in which this data can be used – and not just for advocacy, but to simply inform their supporters how their congressional representatives are voting. It’s a great way to educate people on how politics can play a role in your issue or cause. So check it out!
*The Progressive Exchange is an online community for non-profit technology organizations and individuals. People submit best practices, questions, job vacancies and more. A must-read for NPO techies!
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This entry was posted on Monday, September 7th, 2009 at 9:30 am and is filed under API, congress, nptech. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.