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Volunteer

Whether you have just a few hours or a few dollars, we need you! Don’t wait on the sidelines – the time is now. We’ll help you every step of the way.

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Make Change With Sister District

The Sister District Project is the most effective way to drive long-term Democratic change through focusing on flipping state legislatures.

How We Help Get Democrats Elected

Essentially, Sister District volunteers act as an extension of a campaign’s field and fundraising operations. That means raising money (mostly in small-dollar donations), and making direct contact with voters through phone calls, knocking on doors, text messages, and postcards. Depending on the size of your team, there may also be opportunities in team leadership, event management, email marketing, social media, and other aspects of organizing.

But most importantly, we have fun! Our volunteers build meaningful relationships with each other, and that’s what keeps all of us going even when the news cycle feels exhausting.

Existing Groups:
Do you already have an organized group of activists that is looking for more action items to support Democratic candidates? You can become a Sister District affiliate! Please fill out our affiliate interest form for more information.

What will I do as a Sister District volunteer?

Glad you asked! You’ll be helping Democrats get elected to state legislatures all across the country. When you sign up for Sister District we connect you with your local team, which is organized and run by volunteers who live in your area. Each team is paired (“sistered”) with 2-3 Democratic candidates in a state that we’re trying to flip, hold, or make inroads because it’s badly gerrymandered. You’ll have opportunities to meet up with them and write postcards to voters, make phone calls to persuade people to vote for your candidates, attend small-dollar fundraisers and other parties, and more!

Phonebanking

Making Phone Calls to Voters

Postcarding

Writing Postcards to Voters

Canvassing

Knocking Doors for Candidates

Textbanking

Sending Text Messages to Voters

Volunteer Events

Small-dollar fundraisers go a long way!

Phonebanking

Making Phone Calls to Voters

Person-to-person interactions are proven to be the most effective way to increase voter turnout and enthusiasm. Outside of knocking on doors, your phone calls will do the most to ensure the Democrats get back in charge. If you’ve never phonebanked before, don’t worry! We’ll help you ever step of the way. As many of our volunteers have learned, phonebanking isn’t hard – and makes a huge difference.

When phonebanking is live, the correct links can be accessed from each candidate’s page.

Woman phonebanking for EMILY's List and Sister District Pennsylvania candidates
A female Washington DC volunteer holds a stack of postcard to voters

Postcarding

Writing Postcards to Voters

Sending postcards to voters in swing districts has become a popular way to support campaigns from afar. It’s fun, easy, and you can do it right at home.

We work directly with each campaign to develop postcard drives, including a script or talking points, voter addresses, postcard design, goals and timeline for the drive, and so forth. Then, we deliver a package with specific directions and materials to our volunteer leaders, who coordinate postcarding efforts for their teams.

Are postcards effective?

We’ve been wondering the same thing! So, we’ve conducted extensive research on postcards, including a randomized control trial to determine if postcards increased voter turnout. The results weren’t conclusive, but one thing is for sure – postcards are a fantastic way to get new volunteers involved!

Check out more of our research around sending postcards to voters:

A board that reads Voting Day next to I voted stickers
Research and Experiments
Gaby Goldstein and Mallory Roman

SDAN+VPC VR Voting Pipeline Postcard Study

We ran a randomized controlled trial to determine: 1) if people who received a handwritten postcard encouraging voter registration, along with an official voter registration form from Voter Participation Center (VPC), in our March and Sept 2018 studies had higher odds of turning out to vote in the November 2018 general election; and 2) if the effect of those postcards differed based on whether or not those targets had returned the registration form sent to them by VPC earlier in the year.

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Canvassing

Knocking Doors for Candidates

Canvassing (knocking on doors) is the most effective way to identify supporters, persuade those on the fence, and make sure voters get to the polls. Unfortunately, in person canvassing has been largely suspended during the coronavirus pandemic. But the good news is that more people are home, and more people are answering their phones! That makes virtual canvassing (aka “phonebanking”) even more effective!

Sister District volunteers canvassing in cold Colorado

Textbanking

Sending Text Messages to Voters

It’s no surprise that most of us spend a lot of time on our cell phones. That’s why text messaging voters is an increasingly popular way to start conversations, persuade voters, and get out the vote. It’s not hard, and you don’t have to use your personal phone – special textbanking platforms help us send and receive hundreds of texts per session.

Read stories, tips, tricks, and lessons learned from our volunteers:

Amy Stern

What to Expect When You’re Canvassing

Canvassing is not always so rewarding. Sometimes, you may knock on three or four doors in a row and get no answer. Each time there’s no answer, you leave a flyer at a house to remind the occupants to vote for your candidate, and you hope they will read it. Then it’s on to the next house, which you reach just as the person you want to talk to is driving away. Maybe she will roll down her car window to ask what you’re doing. You’ll tell her you’re there to ask for her support for your candidate. And maybe she’ll tell you, “No, we don’t vote.” (Even though her name is on your list of registered voters.)

Read More »
Juliet Eastland

Why Are States So Important?

State Elections Matter. It’s times like this when this mantra goes from aspirational to undeniable. Because depending on where you live in the US, the past two weeks have been either a disaster or a victory for women’s health.

Read More »
A group of volunteers at an event hold signs

Volunteer Events

Small-dollar fundraisers go a long way!

Our local teams are creative and fun-loving, and throw all kinds of events, from small-dollar fundraisers to big-ticket events. Pizza party fundraiser? Volunteer education night? Tabling at the Strolling of the Heifers? (Yeah, it’s a thing!) Whatever your event is, we can help with logistics and fundraising technology like text-to-donate.

If the event is big enough, one of the Sister District co-founders or even your candidate might be able to attend! If you’ve had a great event recently and want to write about it for our blog, please contact your District Captain to get in touch with our communications team.

Other ways to get involved

Data and Research

Although we have a small number of paid staff at Sister District, we couldn’t do our work without a wide variety of highly skilled volunteers who are willing to contribute their time in other ways.

Our volunteer researchers are working on a number of exciting projects, including 2020 race targeting and vetting, Sister District alumni legislative accomplishments tracking, and other internal projects. If you’d like to get involved, please sign up here!

Civic Engagement with Sister District Action Network

Sister District Action Network (SDAN) is our affiliated 501(c)(4) organization. SDAN also provides non-partisan opportunities to the Sister District community, including:

  • Educating voters on the importance of state and local elections,
  • Engaging in discussions about state policies, gerrymandering, politics and leadership through the quarterly Book Club,
  • Training new leaders interested in becoming community activists,
  • Conducting research in partnership with nonprofit, academic, and other partners to test new methods to increase civic engagement and voter participation, and
  • Disseminating best practices for voter engagement and civic participation.