SaintA exerted significant effort to educate and mobilize their staff around voting. Acknowledging they did not have the capacity to extend these efforts to the wider community, they proudly doubled down on internal efforts, despite being faced with budget and time constraints. Under the leadership of a few staff organizing these efforts in their “spare time” at work, the organization leveraged the resources and insight they already had – an understanding that voting is an extension of their mission.
SaintA promoted content to motivate. They developed a short video with pictures of their students and families and a message of “this is why we vote”. This was an effort to connect policies and voting with lives they serve every day. In digital flyers and staff meetings, they emphasized how voting keeps their organization relevant both during and after elections and helps them participate in critical public policy discussions and weigh in on issues that matter for their families and communities. They also highlighted to staff that voting is associated with better health outcomes, cohesive communities and more effective advocacy- all values important to their community and organization.
SaintA promoted content to educate. They disseminated information on election dates and voter-registration processes. They also helped staff create plans for when and where to vote. SaintA administration strongly encouraged staff to utilize the three hours of paid time off allotted to each employee if they were unable to get to the polls outside of the workday hours. They printed educational handouts and flyers from Nonprofit VOTE for the breakroom and passed out stickers that read “I work at a nonprofit and I vote!” to boost enthusiasm.
SaintA promoted content to engage. They launched a “5-3-1 Campaign”, which challenged staff ambassadors to ask 5 colleagues 3 questions:
- Are you planning to vote?
- Do you know where and when you will vote?
- Are you registered, and if not, do you know how to get registered?
Based on these answers, the ambassadors provided additional voter information to their colleagues. This was an inexpensive yet impactful one-on-one opportunity for staff to connect with their colleagues about voting and share a sense of camaraderie.
SaintA promoted nonpartisan efforts. They diligently remained nonpartisan throughout their mobilization efforts and spelled out in their outreach material the parameters for nonprofits and voter engagement. It was important to SaintA that staff feel informed not only about their voting rights and opportunities but also about the nonpartisan role for nonprofits in this space.
SaintA followed up their voter education efforts with a staff survey the day after the 2018 midterm election. Five questions were emailed to all staff to collect feedback on the impact of SaintA’s voter engagement efforts in the workplace and to learn what staff thought about expanding engagement efforts to include the families they serve.
With a total staff of about 340, there were 109 survey responses. The report was run 16 business days after it was released and provided the following insight:
- 96% of participants responded “very likely” to vote in the next election.
For the question about whether SaintA should engage families and youth they serve:
- 57% of responders said it was extremely important.
- 33% of responders said it was very important, and
- 7% of responders said it was somewhat important.
SaintA is taking this feedback into consideration as they continue to weave voter engagement into their mission. They plan to continue their voter education efforts and would like to expand them to include voter registration and broader engagement efforts to reach families and youth- but they started with staff.
SaintA’s mission is to facilitate equity, learning, healing and wellness by restoring the connections that help children and families thrive. Always evolving, SaintA now advances foster care, education and mental health services for thousands of children, families and adults daily. SaintA is a national leader in trauma informed care in child welfare.