March Madness is certainly here, but I’m betting a fair number of you are still on Spring Break. So if you are off where the weather is nice, it’s completely acceptable to leave this email in your inbox until you get back next week. But don’t wait too long, because the end of the school year is just around the corner. It’s time to get ready for that last push of voter engagement before everyone heads home for the summer! Looking for ideas? Check out our New Partner Spotlight and the referral codes section from the Voter Engagement Toolkit to see how you can incorporate campus groups and track progress.
Campus Compact Conference
Will you be at next week's 30th Anniversary Campus Compact Conference in Boston? TurboVote staff will be there with swag to give away. We’ll also be giving two presentations on campus civic engagement strategies, both on Tuesday, 3/22. The first is from 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. in Beacon A and will cover youth turnout in 2016. The second presentation, our interactive Voter Engagement Simulation, follows at 2:50 - 3:50 p.m. in Beacon D. If you’d like to connect in person, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to meet up!
New Partner Spotlight - University of Missouri
As a result of the cancellation of some of their health care by the university, graduate students at the University of Missouri became quite engaged in campus affairs and wanted to be sure they were adequately represented in the state capital. Laura Satkowski, Director of State Affairs for the Graduate Professional Council, was charged with reaching out to TurboVote and beginning Mizzou’s partnership, but it turned out a number of on-campus groups wanted to participate, so a coalition was formed. We’re suckers for a good coalition. Almost immediately after implementing TurboVote, the link for the Mizzou co-branded site was shared through blast emails, on social media (including a retweet from the official Mizzou account), and in residential life surveys. “The first couple of days, it was interesting to check the dashboard on a regular basis and see the number of signups keep going up,” Laura said. Thinking ahead, Laura also worked with the TurboVote Partnerships Team to implement referral codes so the origin of traffic to the site could be tracked on the administrative dashboard. As a result, Mizzou’s implementers were able to assign codes, or customized links, to various campus groups, each residence hall, and campus cohorts (graduate or undergraduate students) to see who was most responsible for driving the greatest number of signups. The next phase of outreach implementers hope to initiate is a series of mass emails from the university office of financial aid, which is the on-campus entity responsible for voter registration. They’ll also be asking a little something more from their coalition members—a pledge to meet their goal of signing up 15% of their individual constituencies. Receiving this sort of buy-in and cooperation from campus groups can really help to increase interest and excitement in the outreach process (not to mention help in shouldering some of the work). This year to date, Mizzou has signed up almost 800 new voters, well on their way to meeting their benchmark of 1,000! It just goes to show you what can be accomplished with a little planning and an enthusiastic group of implementers. Way to go, Tigers and keep it up! To help give you an idea of who you might reach out to on your own campus, the University of Missouri coalition consists of:
- Katie Steen, Associated Students of the University of Missouri (ASUM) Executive Director, responsible for reaching out to the entire student body,
- Kate Hargis, ASUM Campus President, responsible for reaching out to the entire student body with a focus on undergraduates,
- Billy Donley, Resident Hall Association President, responsible for students in residence halls, and,
- Chris Dade, Tigers Advancing Political Participation member, responsible for outreach.
Voter Engagement Toolkit: Referral Codes
Have you thought about creating a campus voter registration challenge similar to Mizzou? You could reach out to various student groups and ask them to participate in voter outreach with the most signups receiving a prize or recognition. But how would you keep track of which signed up the most voters? Referral codes, my friends! It’s easy to create customized links to your co-branded TurboVote site, so you end up with your own campus leaderboard that would look something like this:
Our Voter Engagement Toolkit has all kinds of ideas to reach students all across campus using your referral codes. It’s really as sending an email to campus groups, setting some ground rules and timelines, and asking them to get as many students registered as possible. Residence halls, club sports, Greek life, and campus political groups are all good bottlenecks to try and receive as much by-in as possible. And as always, if you would like some help planning campus outreach, have new ideas you’d like to bat around, or have no idea how to even start, give us a shout at email@example.com.
A few colleges and universities have bumped up in position since the last time we spoke, but it seems, on the whole, the Top 25 has plateaued a little bit. What I see is an opportunity for an endeavoring implementer out there to make a solid, coordinated push on campus to get an extra 200 - 300 signups before the next Implementer Update! This is your chance—while everyone else is napping, waiting for Spring Break, you can pounce and leapfrog a couple of other schools at once! So, who will it be? Who will put the extra work in while the rest of us are watching college basketball, eating cheesy poofs?
Leaderboards, since Jan. 1, 2016, TurboVote signups only:
- Kennesaw State University - 1108
- The University of Virginia - 1031
- UNC Charlotte - 797
- University of Notre Dame - 791
- Boston College - 789
- University of Missouri-Columbia - 762
- Brigham Young University - 722
- Macomb Community College - 684
- West Chester University - 392
- Northeastern State University - 391
- Washington University in St. Louis - 370
- Northeastern Illinois University - 360
- James Madison University - 332
- Boston University - 323
- The University of Chicago - 322
- DePaul University - 309
- Miami Dade College - 271
- Broward College - 261
- Seminole State College - 256
- University of North Carolina at Greensboro - 251
- University of Central Florida - 240
- Palm Beach State College - 215
- Northwest Missouri State University - 200
- St. Petersburg College - 199
- Tufts University - 199
I really hope you had a good, relaxing break, but it’s time to get back to it! I want the next Top 25 Leaderboard to blow me away. Are you in the Top 25? Challenge yourself to improve your position by one place! Not in the Top 25? Let’s see if you can make a showing in the next two weeks! I look forward to seeing what you all have in store.
Director of Communications
Democracy Works, makers of TurboVote