On Wednesday, March 25, 2020, Impactive partnered with When We All Vote for an epic #CouchParty to encourage Americans to register to vote. With many of us stuck at home and eager to make a difference, When We All Vote designed the #CouchParty to bring volunteers together virtually for an evening of music and organizing. As host DJ D-Nice said, this was a “party with a purpose.”
When We All Vote is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization focused on increasing voter participation by changing the culture around voting. The organization is led by former First Lady Michelle Obama and co-chaired by Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monae, Chris Paul, Faith Hill, and Tim McGraw. Ahead of the 2018 midterms, When We All Vote held 2,500 local voter registration events across the country, educated 200 million Americans about the significance of voting, and texted almost four million voters to register and get to the ballot box.
The When We All Vote #CouchParty was designed to combine large-scale grassroots organizing and voter outreach with civic engagement inspiration and world-class entertainment. DJ D-Nice hosted the virtual #CouchParty and mixed for over three hours, providing an energizing soundtrack for organizing. Volunteers were invited to download Impactive and use our peer-to-peer texting feature to send a pre-written script linking to When We All Vote’s registration tool to a list of unregistered voters. Attendees also had the opportunity to text friends from their own contact list about registering to vote.
The #CouchParty was attended by thousands of passionate volunteers and a few celebrities, including Tracee Ellis Ross and Lin-Manuel Miranda. All participants teamed up to reach When We All Vote’s ambitious goal: texting 50,000 unregistered voters and encouraging them to get registered. The #CouchParty volunteer team blew that goal out of the water: in fact, they reached 50,000 voters in less than an hour.
The only thing left to do was aim higher, and our volunteers stepped up to the plate. In just three and a half hours, When We All Vote volunteers used Impactive to reach over 400,000 unregistered voters. More than 60,000 participants joined the #CouchParty, and 7,500 volunteers used Impactive to text voters.
We were blown away by the response to the #CouchParty, and loved jamming with thousands of volunteers nationwide. We are all in need of community through difficult moments, and sharing a virtual room with so many engaged organizers was one of the highlights of our year so far at Impactive.
The tremendous success of the #CouchParty inspired our team to develop a few key takeaways for any organization eager to replicate a high-impact, at-home event.
1. Make volunteering and voting a celebration.
When We All Vote is focused on making civic participation fun and exciting, and the #CouchParty was a prime example of that philosophy. Building a passionate and engaged community and providing energizing music go a long way toward boosting volunteer morale and supercharging voter outreach. Of course, you don’t need a celebrity DJ to create a celebration: volunteers and voters appreciate any steps to make organizing or civic participation fun, whether through virtual dance sessions, team-building exercises, or simple incentives like pizza parties.
2. Don’t underestimate the power of friend-to-friend outreach.
At Impactive, we are well-versed in the power of recruiting your friends to get involved. We listen to and trust the people closest to us, so the prospect of including them in work we already are passionate about leads to exponential growth… and quickly! Our tools make reaching out to friends and loved ones about civic engagement easy, and now more than ever, there is always a good window to check in. With disruptions to voting and advocacy during this pandemic (and beyond), Impactive can help you make sure your friends know when and how to make their voices heard.
3. There are many ways to host your own #CouchParty.
The ingredients of When We All Vote’s #CouchParty were simple: collect RSVPs (in this case, using tools from our friends at Mobilize); set up videoconferencing to keep everyone connected (Zoom, Facebook Live, etc.); and tap into organizing software to facilitate, track and scale voter outreach (Impactive).
"This is a party with a purpose!"
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