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Actions Within Gmail – Grassroots Implications

Action within GmailA lot of great ideas and new functionality came out of the Google I/O conference this week. While I’m looking forward to testing out the new Google Maps when it comes out, one of the more immediate updates was new functionality available in Gmail. The idea that with code snippets, brands/groups can now allow users to take actions from right within their inbox.

So what does that mean?

What we’re talking about is providing users with the ability to click on a button within an email and perform an action. That button would then send a request to a site and receive a response, all without the user having to leave their inbox.

Think about the possibilities.

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Growing Their Base – Seeing Results

The American Farm Bureau Federation ( came to us years ago with a challenge not unlike that of many organizations. While they had an advocacy platform in place, they were seeing steady or even diminishing results when it came to participation. Staff would spend time crafting an on point message only to see the open rate of the email hover below normal with click-thrus and interaction even lower.

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Tax Laws Are About to Get More Complicated

Tax changes are always a touchy subject. Legislation currently being considered by the Senate that would help states compel large business to collect sales tax for online transactions isn’t any different – except where the battle lines have been drawn. As the New York Times points out, this issue has created intraparty fights on both sides of the aisle and made odd bedfellows among the states.

And if the legislation does indeed pass the Senate and eventually the House, all eyes will turn to the states, some of which are trying to get ahead of the game. CQ StateTrack has identified 16 bills, spread over nearly as many states, dealing with an online sales tax.

  • Some are purely ceremonial, like resolutions in Nevada, South Dakota and Utah urging the states’ congressional delegations to support the federal legislation.
  • In Indiana, legislators are working on accelerating tax collection. Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) already negotiated a deal through which the state would require online retailers to begin collecting sales tax on Jan. 1, 2014. But a bill moving the start date up to July 1 has gone to conference committee.
  • Oregon will be an interesting state to watch. As one of only five states that do not collect sales tax (along with Alaska, Delaware, Montana and New Hampshire), Oregon would not be affected by the federal bill. However, some legislators are pushing for a rewrite of the state’s tax code and have introduced a resolution that would ask voters to decide whether to institute a state income tax.

Many of these states are merely modifying their current tax code. But if the Marketplace Fairness Act passes, such activity could get a lot more complicated. If you need some background on the legislation, The Washington Post did a nice recap.

Activating Engaged Users

The title of this one could have also been “Success Through Microtargeting.”

While not professed often online, there’s no shortage of love for @Mailchimp here in the Advocacy and Engagement department. We leverage their system day in and day out to help our clients reach their stakeholders through newsletters, marketing efforts and more.

That appreciation is what drew us to their latest blog post – Billy Reid Rewards Engaged Customers With Exclusive Sales. The quick summary, a clothing line, Billy Reid, uses the metrics made available by Mailchimp to microtarget specific users, sending them specially targeted emails and generating results, in this case increased revenue from current customers.

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Trendtrack: Status of Firearms Legislation in the States

There’s no need to review the multiple shooting incidents that have garnered major media coverage over the past year.  That’s not the goal here. We offer a breakdown of which states have taken up gun control legislation and how those bills are progressing.

A search of all 50 states’ legislatures shows 4,076 bills containing some form of the words firearm, gun or rifle have been introduced for the 2013 legislative sessions. (Chart, breaking down the status by state and linking to each bill.) Of those, 180 have been have signed by the governor or otherwise enacted. While the percent enacted seems strong, we must look more closely. Of those 180 bills bills, more than half (97) are in Illinois and 39 moved through Virginia. Only 15 other states have enacted firearms legislation to date.  In Illinois’ case, many of the bills are simply amendments to existing code. The major fight is still taking place, with the Chicago Tribune covering the debate of a proposed assault-weapons ban and restrictions on citizens’ rights to carry concealed weapons.

In Arizona, where former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) was shot and severely wounded, 72 bills have been introduced that meet our search criteria. The only one enacted so far encourages the U.S. Department of Defense and the Army to award the medal of honor to a soldier who fought in World War II. Republicans in Arizona are attempting to push through legislation that would make it illegal to enforce federal gun control laws in the state, according to the Associated Press. Lawmakers in Wyoming have attempted something similar.

Some states, such as Connecticut, are just getting started and may still enact new control measures.

Use our chart to follow the progress in every state.