Come to the Thursday, Aug. 8th,  7-8 pm ET
Open Mic for Men New to Activism

RSVP HERE: https://bit.ly/ManUp24

Come talk about your questions, concerns, and successes as you begin your journey to activism.

Why we need to get more men involved!

Congressman Jamie Raskin
(8th Dist., MD) endorses Man Up!

Since Donald Trump’s election in 2016, Democratic election victories have become synonymous with saving democracy itself. Women have been disproportionately represented in the ranks of the volunteers actively and publicly fighting year-round for Democratic wins. The stakes are so high in 2024 and the need for volunteers so great, it’s time for men to step up to the plate and join women.

Already donating to Democratic candidates and causes? Already supporting the women in your life who are devoting many hours to activism? Read here about why volunteering is still important!

The goal of the Man Up initiative of the Grassroots Collaboration Project (GCP) is to motivate more men to participate in any one of myriad forms of engagement with potential voters.

Check out the resources below for interested individuals and groups!

Use the Contact page to send us videos or descriptions of your experiences that can be posted to inform others!

Watch for announcements of monthly Zoom “open mics” at which you can be part of facilitated discussions of how things are going for you!

Let’s win this!

What Men Can Do to Increase the Number of Democratic Votes

Election Activities. The eight types of election activities shown to the right are listed in descending order of relative impact.  In other words, voter registration, voter protection and canvassing yield more Democratic votes per hour of volunteer time than activities at the bottom of the list. Volunteer for activities as close to the top of the list as you can!

What do volunteers do in each of the activities listed? Click on the type of activity for a description. For all activities, training is provided by activity organizers. Grassroots groups mobilizing their members for the activities often provide additional training and support.

Volunteers should know that they can’t expect dramatic results from any election activity, but with thousands of volunteers motivating a few voters to vote for Democrats, elections can be won! 

About 20% of eligible adults in the U.S. are not registered to vote either because they did not register when they became eligible, their registration has lapsed because they have moved and not reregistered, or they have been purged from voter rolls because they did not vote in several successive elections.  Especially in a presidential election year, most newly registered or reregistered individuals do vote, so offering them the opportunity to register is productive if chances are good that they will support Democrats.  Locating unregistered voters is a hit-and-miss process however, and involves both in-person initiatives (e;g., setting up a table in a high-traffic area or event) and remote initiatives (e.g., mailing links to online registration websites to individuals identified as unregistered). 

Voter protection can involve a variety of very different activities:

Poll protection. Voter protection has historically involved volunteers performing a variety of tasks inside and outside early voting and election day polls. The state Democratic Party posts sign-ups for individuals (or a team of individuals) interested in poll protection.

Voter hotlines.

  • Voter hotlines are another form of voter protection. The types of calls from voters have a vast range from very simple to problems requiring escalation:
    How do I apply for a mail ballot?
  • I applied for a mail ballot, but it hasn’t arrived; what can I do?
  • Only one machine is working in our polling place and the line is getting long.

Volunteering for hotline work requires considerable training. This activity is best suited to an individual volunteering on his own. State Democratic Parties organize state-specific hotlines and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law leads a non-partisan, multi-state Election Protection Hotline that is staffed by current or former attorneys. Hundreds of attorney volunteers participate remotely.

Ballot curing. When a voter does not correctly complete a mail-in ballot, it must be “cured” or it will not be counted as a valid vote. Thousands of ballots need curing statewide after midterm and presidential elections and curing can determine the outcome of elections. (For example, Biden’s 2020 Georgia win depended on cured ballots.) While some ballots are cured by on-the-ground contacts with voters, most are cured on Zooms on which volunteers contact voters by phone.

Special voter protection projects in battleground states. Large-scale ballot curing in 2020 motivated creation of a volunteer grassroots group called VoPro Pros that specializes in ballot curing as well as eliminating other barriers that keep eligible citizens from maintaining their registration, accessing a ballot, and having their votes counted as valid. VoPro Pro projects are exacting in terms of protocols and data management, but can be done at home for only a few hours a week at the volunteer’s convenience. Individuals can sign up to learn more here.

Canvassing, also known as door knocking or blockwalking, is the systematic initiation of door-to-door direct contact with individuals commonly used during political campaigns. Canvassing is used to identify the strength of support for Democratic candidates by prospective voters (“ID voters”), persuade the undecided, and add voters to the voters list through voter registration. It is central to “get out the vote” (GOTV) operations. It is the core element of what political campaigns call the “ground game” or “field.” MiniVAN – a specialized app – allows you to use your phone to record relevant information from your conversations with voters. Contrary to fears, people with whom you will talk are very rarely hostile and effective conversations depend less on detailed knowledge and more on getting prospective voters to talk about what they value in a candidate and connecting the candidate’s character and history to what is valued.

Relational organizing is a technique that uses personal networks to promote change. It’s a framework for word-of-mouth activism in which family and friends engage potential voters in discussions of what’s at stake in elections, who’s running for office, and so on. The Democrats are promoting relational organizing through an app called Reach.

An organized process of calling potential voters to identify their political beliefs, advocate for a candidate or party, recruit volunteers, or turn out the vote. Campaign headquarters or local Democratic Party committees may set up small, office-based call centers, but most phonebanks now are conducted through Zooms in which volunteers can participate from anywhere.

For a multitude of races and also to support voter registration, volunteers can find postcard and letter writing materials (including voter lists) on a variety of sites. To the extent postcards have an impact, it probably comes in use in down ballot races  and/or from being a “touch” of a voter who was probably also touched by other campaign outreach. The effects of letters have been studied more than postcards and they can have a positive impact, especially Working America letters (which are one “touch” in a series of touches of non-union blue collar workers).

In texting (or “text banking”) volunteers log into an automated text delivery system typically accessed while on a Zoom They send out hundreds of texts through the automated system and are provided with suggestions of appropriate responses to recipients who reply to the text. Text banking is popular and usually mobilizes ample volunteers.

When social media posts are posted by many people at around the same time, the internal algorithms of the social media platform promote the post much more widely.  The most prominent coordinated online messaging is done by DemCast, a platform that alerts those who have signed up when a “social storm” is occurring; volunteers are then able to directly post a DemCast message on the social media platforms on which they have an account. 

Previous slide
Next slide

The World of Volunteer Grassroots Groups. Before 2017, Democrats wanting to volunteer sought out offices of local Democratic Party committees or contacted a candidate’s headquarters in the weeks before an election.  After the Jan. 2017 Women’s March, thousands of grassroots groups emerged, some affiliated with national offices (Indivisible, Swing Left, Sister District) and some not. Many such groups continue to exist and they have provided considerable support to their members over long years of activism. 

The Grassroots Collaboration Project recommends that novice volunteers seek out a group with which it will volunteer because the novice will have more support for what can be a challenging learning curve in mastering new activities. In addition, in this time of political high anxiety, groups offer camaraderie and a sense of community.  

GET SUPPORT: Locate a Grassroots Group that Volunteers for the Activity You've Chosen

For each activity listed below, the FIND A GROUP link takes you to a zip code-organized listing of grassroots groups that plan to be engaged in that activity in 2024.

Except for canvassing (for which there is no alternative to volunteering within a few hours drive of your location), many of the other activities can be engaged in remotely by phone or zoom. Some local groups (like Civic Sundays in Los Angeles) post weekly about both local and remote activities, and some national groups (like voter registration-focused Field Team 6) post about state chapters that are organizing on-the-ground events in your area. So cast a wider net if your zip doesn’t offer any group in your immediate area.

If you can’t locate a group that offers remote activities of the type you want to explore, consult with Volunteer Blue’s volunteer coaches, indicating that you want advice on connecting with an activity as well as one of its partner organizations.

VOTER REGISTRATION

VOTER PROTECTION

CANVASSING

RELATIONAL ORGANIZING 

PHONE BANKING

POSTCARD & LETTER WRITING

COORDINATED
ONLINE MESSAGING

DIY: Doing It Yourself

You may already been part of a team or group of men that decides to add a volunteer activity to its calendar.  Or you might want to organize a team or group of men simply to volunteer together on a regular basis.  In either case, volunteer activities of several types can be located on any one of a number of sites such as Volunteer Blue or Mobilize. (We note that Volunteer Blue is unique in offering individual coaching by a volunteer to answer general questions and help you access organizations and actions.) When selecting an activity, try to stay near the top of the list of eight activities.

Here are four general tips that emerged from several facilitated discussions by men organized by the GCP about what might make the DIY volunteer group cohesive and successful: 

  1. Provide participants with a compelling rationale for greater volunteerism by men. (A one-pager is available here.)
  2. Arrange for new volunteers to partner with experienced volunteers.
  3. Include a relaxed post-activity debrief.
  4. Seek a fit between professional skills and what’s required in an election activity.

    Two additional tips for men seeking to build community:

  5. Foster team spirit with use of a name and popular routines.

  6. Graft the activity onto existing gatherings or create opportunities for periodic informal discussion and/or socializing.

    Alternatively, two additional tips for men seeking to make volunteering a more “cut-and-dried” engagement: 

  7. Make the appeal to volunteer transactional, i..e., suggesting volunteering for only a specific number of hours or only until Nov. 5th.
  8. Avoid activities that seem to make the volunteer beholden to the prospective voter to obtain the voter’s attention, activities like voter registration, canvassing and phonebanking. (But understand that some conversations with potential voters are very gratifying and truly hostile respondents are very rare.

What men are saying about their activism.
Use the Contact page to tell us about YOUR experiences!

I’m tired of just writing checks without getting involved. As a grandfather of two… I need to be able to tell them what I did.

Frank, Southampton NY

Working with my men’s group builds enthusiasm to take action steps, like writing letters for Working America and participating with Be the Change BMore . As men, as fathers, and now a few grandfathers, we are profoundly aware that we have an obligation to leave our nation, democracy, and the world in a better place. That’s a big challenge, but we like challenges. Inaction is not a choice at this critical time, and we are doing all we can to make a difference. 

Dan, Baltimore MD