July 2023 Update: Match Point

Community Tech Alliance
6 min readAug 7, 2023

At CTA, we set out to provide a technology team and tools to the movement ecosystem, with no ego and at a low cost. We’re extremely proud that the Progressive Action Database (PAD) provides pivotal tools to our partners, from warehousing to syncs, workflows to dashboards — we feel like unseeded, early-career champions at Wimbledon. This summer, we’ve been implementing matching templates and workflows and testing the process with our partners. So far, we’re proud to say that matching has never been easier.

Up next: Improving the user experience by providing a simple, beautiful user interface to all for more of a wizard-like flow (Clippy as a Frog, anyone?). We want to make sure that users can bring a list, send the file, and know they’ll get back the matches they need with no uploads, downloads, or reloads — all with the highest accuracy and speed possible. We think it’s an ace, and we can’t wait to share the grand slam with you.

Here’s what else we’re up to this month:

It’s My List and I’ll Match If I Want To!

CTA has offered our Matching Workflow Template since May of this year in collaboration with our partners at Catalist and TargetSmart. We leverage Google Workflows and templates to allow partners to take data from their organization’s tables in PAD, move it to their VoterFile partner, and return matched data back to their tables — all without leaving CTA’s platform.

Although Google Workflows is a great tool, CTA understands that not everyone is an engineer and we want to ensure anyone can easily match lists without needing to rely on the ability to write code. That’s why we are adding these same matching templates to PAD’s user interface in the form of an intuitive wizard-like workflow. This UI will guide our partners through the entire matching process, from selecting a data set to choosing columns, all while providing real-time feedback on job status and completion. When the matching job’s done, all the data will be ready for you to review, analyze, and engage with on the PAD platform.

Matching in PAD

CTA’s Matching UI will remove the pitfalls of typos and user-entry error by filtering the projects, datasets, tables, and columns the user can select based on previous choices. Our templates will provide real-time feedback on potential errors related to mismatched columns and will alert you if the data submitted doesn’t meet the necessary format. Once your matching job is complete, a copy of your matched data will be merged with your submission data and available for you to review.

And if you then need to send that data to your CRM (perhaps VAN!), PAD will let you rETL those lists right into your committee.

Are you ready to start matching? Are you a vendor who wants to match? Reach out to info@techallies.org

A Roadmap for Supporting the Community

At CTA, infrastructure is at the heart of our offering. The ability to centralize all of an organization’s or program’s data on a sustainable, scalable, and flexible platform. But the story doesn’t end at storing your data. To fully unlock the potential of having all that data in one place, CTA has committed to understanding the ways data is used across the ecosystem and has a Roadmap for addressing the gaps and pain points our partners experience when trying to make use of disjointed ecosystems to accomplish their necessary tasks.

As we continue to support and improve PAD (our core platform), CTA is building out our no-code user interface, to ensure all those who need to be able to sync, match, and visualize data can do so at a high-level — even if their SQL isn’t.

We’ll also soon roll out the ability for users and PADmins (PAD administrators) to control their own destinies so they can add users, reset passwords, and manage permissions. We’re extremely excited to up-level our PADawans to PADmins this fall.

CTA’s 2023 Product Roadmap

PAD will also soon support our polling and research partners who are looking for efficient solutions to ingest IDs, sample, weight, and instantaneously create beautiful crosstabs. Our Research Suite (please help us with a PADdage here!), will support traditional polling firms, orgs tracking experiments, internal polling operations, and so much more.

And if all that wasn’t enough, our team is hard at work ensuring our platform continues to scale and is easy to use by adding on data automation and optimization tasks, like flat file ingestion, geographic file import support, digital ad results ingestion, and much more.

Wanna learn more or give product insights to our team? Hit us up at info@techallies.org.

Partner Spotlight: Helping the Pipeline Initiative Identify Key School Board Races

Starting last year, CTA began partnering with the Pipeline Initiative to solve the challenging task of bringing together disparate data sources on school board districts across the country. Analyzing this data has been a challenge, due to inaccurate, incomplete, and decentralized data.

By using CTA’s Progressive Action Database (PAD), the Pipeline Initiative was able to merge data from various progressive data vendors to gain insight into district demographics, officeholders, and candidates. To make this data accessible to the Pipeline Initiative’s stakeholders, CTA partnered with the team to create a cutting-edge dashboard in PAD to display school district profiles, demographic information on current stakeholders, and election information.

With this new dashboard, the Pipeline Initiative can now more easily and more quickly identify competitive districts that lack representative officeholders, allowing Pipeline and their partners to focus on what they do best: building a pipeline of progressive leaders running for office and winning at every level of the ballot, especially those that are frequently overlooked.

Notes from BenDesk*

*Ben is our resident ZenDesk captain and manager of all help@ inquiries. We’re bringing you interesting inquiries from his inbox each month to help share learnings across our community.

Question of the Month: Is it possible to give a user access to specific data in PAD without granting them access to everything in my project? If so, how can I do it?

Bendesk Answer:
CTA handles user permissions through Google Groups and offers 4 different user levels:

  • Administrators (PADmins) can create, edit, and delete datasets in your project and have this access automatically on all datasets in the project. They can also control access for the Contributor and Viewer groups to datasets. The number of admins should be limited.
  • Editors can create and edit datasets in your project but cannot delete them. They have this access automatically on all datasets in the partner project.

Available for specific use cases:

  • Viewers can only read (query) datasets in your project. The viewers group needs to be explicitly granted on datasets in your project to be able to see and query them.
  • Contributors can query and create datasets but won’t necessarily be able to see everything in a project unless explicitly granted.

For more information about PAD user levels, check out our NotePAD article here.

In addition, you can further refine permissions for Viewers and Contributors by granting row-level security policies to certain tables or datasets in your project. This allows you to hide or display only certain rows of data depending on whether a user is in an allowed list. Row-level security policies offer a good combination of flexibility and security when it comes to controlling access to your data.

For more information on setting up row-level permissions, check out our NotePAD article here.

What We’re Reading:

  • Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano: A beautifully told story of four sisters in Chicago. Some (us) call it modern-day Little Women. You won’t want to put it down.
  • The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson: Captivating novel follows four different Dakota women across generations.
  • Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros: Set in a brutal war college for dragon riders, this book is like if Harry Potter met Game of Thrones and added in a dash of the Hunger Games.

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Community Tech Alliance

Empowering the progressive community through smart data management.