Making the Case: Upgrading Our Online Infrastructure

Over the last few weeks, NDN has kicked off an informational campaign, which will continue through mid-July. Each week, Simon will be letting you know about the work your support has funded and making the case for why, in these tough economic times, you should invest in NDN. You can view the whole "Making the Case" series.

In the past weeks, I’ve begun highlighting some of NDN’s important accomplishments and laying out a vision for where we can take our organization with your continued support. I’d like to give you another concrete example of how far your contributions go.

Over the past several years, we have made a series of strategic and targeted investments to improve NDN’s internal infrastructure, upgrades that will help ensure our message is seen and heard by as many people as possible. In the summer of 2007, we invested in a new office, just a block from the White House, allowing us to host an impressive array of public events while also saving us money. We invested in new back-end database software, allowing us to build more personal and customized relationships with our members and friends. Earlier this year, we invested in high-tech upgrades to our event space, allowing us to Web cast our events live anywhere in the world and further opening up NDN to those outside of the beltway: viewers from Uruguay to London have watched our events in real-time, and a reporter in Mexico recently wrote about an immigration forum we streamed live on our site.

Now, we have begun to invest in another crucial area: our Web presence. At NDN, we pride ourselves on staying ahead of the curve -- our New Tools series has helped countless progressives master the fast-changing media technologies that are profoundly altering the way we communicate, advocate, and organize -- yet our own Web presence has lagged behind our path-breaking work in this area, until now.

You may have noticed that we have already begun the upgrade process. In the last month, we have already integrated our main Web site and blog and migrated them to Drupal, a dynamic, open-source platform used by sites such as The Onion, Mother Jones, and even We've also completely revamped the visual design of the site to better highlight the important work we do here at NDN.

The Investment Opportunity- We’re proud of what we have been able to accomplish, but it is only the beginning, and we still have a long way to go. Here are some of the improvements we hope to make over the coming weeks and months, with your support:

  1. Create a friendlier, more customized and more interactive experience for our members. Our switch to Drupal allows for much better integration with our database, and also allows us to systematically tag and organize all of our content. What this means for you is that you’ll be able to opt in for updates about the work that interests you the most, and that the site itself can be organized around your unique interests. Want to see everything we’re doing related to the Millennial generation? Blog posts, papers, essays, and videos will all be there, in the same place. Want to see everything Rob Shapiro is saying about the economy? One click and you’re there.
  2. Create a dynamic platform for many more voices. Our new site will allow us to greatly extend our online network of contributors and thinkers. Our physical events and forums have always been a place where important thought leaders come to share ideas; now, our Web site will be as well. The expansion of our online network will mean we can produce more, and more varied, content, authored by some of the preeminent thinkers in American and international politics and policy.
  3. Integrate with our new 501(c)3 affiliate, The New Policy Institute: As part of our effort to offer a new governing agenda that addresses the unique challenges of this new age, we recently founded a new 501(c)3 organization that is already beginning to do some amazing work. But we still need to upgrade and integrate the New Policy Institute’s Web site, so that we can better share all of our exciting efforts with you.

There are a number of other improvements we want to make; better incorporation of our events and live Web casts, more dynamic front and internal page designs, and much more.

But we can only make these critical improvements with your help. I know that these are uncertain times, and that you have many choices for where to invest this year. I hope that you will continue to support NDN, and help us continue to bring fresh and cogent insight and analysis into the marketplace of ideas.

To support NDN today, you can just go to or click here. To support our 501(c)3, The New Policy Institute, you can just go to or click here. Or, give me a call at 202-842-7217. Look for more from us in the weeks ahead that will make our case - a compelling case I believe. I am very proud of what we have done, what we are doing today, and what we have planned for the future.

Thank you again for your support of NDN in the past, and I look forward to your continued membership in this wonderful network of thinkers, leaders and advocates at this important time for our nation.

Thank you,