Working America, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, operates as an organizing body for Americans who do not belong to a labor union. It has 3.5 million members nationwide and a long history of canvassing and other persuasion-based political activities. Based on repeated randomized controlled trials, Working America has identified several proprietary techniques that greatly outperform traditional persuasion tactics with uncommitted and even Republican-leaning voters in key presidential and Senate battleground states. Preliminary estimates suggest investing in these techniques could be up to 8-10x as cost-effective as donating to the Biden campaign while netting hundreds of thousands of votes both at the top of the ticket and downballot. We believe that Working America could productively absorb tens of millions of dollars toward this goal through October.
Confidential opportunities (various)
Because we are a donor network, we often learn about interventions that, whether because of concerns about tipping trade secrets to the other side or the fast pace at which the efforts need to be stood up, are not being shopped around to the general public. Several times already during this cycle, we have vetted such opportunities and made them available to a larger audience (with Working America being one such example). We are aware of a number of efforts that have recently come online or still need funding, covering areas such as persuasion campaigns targeted at very specific target populations in key states, efforts to build public trust in the election results and vote counting process, litigation to protect voting rights, and more. Due to the short time frame in which these efforts have to hit their goals, they are best suited for donors who can make five-figure or larger gifts. If you are considering a donation of at least $10,000 and would like to learn more, feel free to write us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Turn the Texas State House blue
State legislative races are some of the greatest bargains in politics, and that’s particularly the case this year since it’s the last cycle before states draw new district maps to cover the next ten years. Fortunately, thanks to both electoral and court victories over the last two cycles, Democrats have made a lot of progress in eroding the disproportionate power that Republicans had built up in state houses and used to engineer numerous unbreakable gerrymanders after the 2010 Census. As a result, there is really only one state this year that has everything riding on whether Democrats can break up Republican control, and that’s Texas. With by far the most Congressional districts of any state whose legislature is in play, Texas represents a massive -- and eminently winnable -- opportunity. Yet despite its importance, Democratic state legislative candidates in key races across Texas are getting badly outraised by their incumbent opponents. We suggest two ways to help: Data2thePeople has adopted a highly targeted approach for investing in Facebook ads on behalf of candidates behind in the fundraising race through its Lone Star Votes PAC; or you can support individual candidates’ campaigns directly using Princeton Election Consortium’s Moneyball vote visualizer as a guide. (We believe these interventions will be complementary and mutually reinforcing, so don’t worry too much about prioritizing between them.)
For instructions about how to donate to these opportunities and make sure the money is allocated to the right programs, please contact email@example.com. Not all options are tax-deductible.
VoteAmerica, founded earlier this year by veteran political activist Deborah Cleaver, has pulled together a suite of cost-effective and evidence-based programs aimed at increasing voter participation by the so-called Rising American Electorate (young people, unmarried women, and people of color). Its offerings include a multi-channel campus registration and turnout program covering most of the key swing states that projects to be competitive with our top recommendations in its efficiency. Cleaver has a somewhat controversial reputation in the field that may be a turnoff for some, but the thoughtful strategic positioning and attention to detail evident in VoteAmerica's program design could make this a good fit for donors comfortable with a higher level of risk.
David Shor's Impact-Optimized Senate Fund
Money has been pouring into the Senate races over the last couple of months, and nearly every day we hear of another candidate breaking a fundraising record for their state. But political analyst David Shor has identified an arbitrage opportunity resulting from differential rates that TV stations are allowed to charge candidates vs. outside groups supporting them (such as SuperPACs). Supporting these races will help free up independent expenditure funds to be directed to places where the money can be spent more efficiently.
Election Security Coalition
The Election Security Coalition brings together three organizations that have been leading the charge on election security since 2016: the Brennan Center for Justice operates as a think tank in the space and spearheads litigation, Common Cause mobilizes grassroots advocacy, and Verified Voting brings technological expertise. The coalition is collaborating on a raft of initiatives aimed at shoring up holes in election administration and mitigating against threats to security, including foreign hacking, voting machine and electronic pollbook failures, and more. The three organizations currently have a budget gap of about $1.5 million out of a collective project budget of $10 million. The money will primarily go toward national staff working on policy and communications, with about a third being directed to state-level advocates. While it’s hard to estimate the cost-effectiveness of these programs with precision, this is important work that often fails to capture headlines in proportion with its consequences, and with the election looming we certainly wouldn’t want to see these organizations hamstrung by a lack of resources.
Election Protection Coalition via State Infrastructure Fund
The Election Protection Coalition is a constellation of national and state groups fighting voter suppression across the country. Coalition members run several hotlines, including 866-OUR-VOTE, 888-VE-Y-VOTA, and 888-API-VOTE, to enable voters to get help with issues they may encounter at their polling places ranging from long lines to intimidation efforts. These hotlines handled more than 75,000 calls in the 2018 midterms and the volume will no doubt be higher this time around. With major legal challenges this fall expected no matter the outcome of the election and the threat of ransomware attacks and other hacking episodes looming over the vote count, it is essential to have centralized mechanisms for detecting and reporting both localized and widespread voting problems. A funding collaborative coordinating capital to these efforts reports that significant funds are still needed in some of the most important swing states, including Florida and Pennsylvania.