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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 stack of postcards with hands reaching towards the word VOTE
Research and Experiments
Gaby Goldstein

2018 GOTV Postcarding Results

We ran two randomized controlled trials in the Fall of 2018 to determine if receiving a handwritten postcard encouraging the target to vote increased the odds of voters turning out to vote for in the 2018 general election in Pennsylvania and Michigan, and further sought to determine if those odds differed based on the postcard message.

Read More »
A pile of handwritten postcards
Research and Experiments
Gaby Goldstein and Mallory Roman

Voter Registration Postcarding 2: A Replication with VPC + SDAN

We ran a randomized controlled trial to determine if the receipt of a handwritten postcard a week after the receipt of an official voter registration form increased the odds of people completing & returning the voter registration form, as compared to the odds of return among people who did not receive a postcard.

Read More »
A table covered in handwritten postcards
Research and Experiments
Gaby Goldstein

VPC+SDAN Postcarding Experiment Results

Sister District Action Network (SDAN) partnered with the Voter Participation Center (VPC) to send handwritten postcards encouraging registration to eligible, unregistered individuals living in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Arizona in March 2018. These postcards were sent in conjunction with VPC’s Voting Age Population Program, which sent official voter registration forms to these same people.

Read More »

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:

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.