“The IVE program has provided us with the necessary support to develop a robust civic engagement program, leading to outreach to over 70,000 Latinas in Florida, Texas and Virginia. We have also been able to liaise with the other organizations in the cohort not only as thought partners, but also as partners on the ground and in movement spaces. The NLIRH Latina Advocacy Networks have been able to exponentially grow their base, build power and lift up the voices and civic engagement of all members of the community – voters and non-voters alike.”
– Diana Lugo-Martinez, Senior Director of Community Engagement Programs, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
Groundswell’s Integrated Voter Engagement (IVE) program supports leading RJ organizations with a significant investment of resources. Launched in 2012, the first of its kind in the U.S. reproductive justice (RJ) movement, it tests the theory that increasing nonpartisan integrated voter engagement sustainably builds capacity to engage historically underrepresented populations in policy, systems change and the democratic process (within and beyond election cycles). The current program cycle runs from January 2016 – December 2017. The objective of the IVE program is to ensure that 20 organizations have robust IVE capacity by 2019 — setting a solid cornerstone of voter engagement capacity for the RJ movement at large. Fifteen organizations are participating in the current program cycle, including ten returning groups and five new organizations. The program builds sustainable infrastructure to increase voter participation among historically underrepresented populations, while helping organizations scale up the core power building components of their work. Organizations expand their grassroots base of leaders and volunteers; forge and deepen organizational alliances that increase their reach and influence; and strengthen relationships with public officials. All of these gains strengthen organizations for future issue-based organizing fights between elections, increasing the ability to achieve policy and systems change. The IVE program sets numeric goals and tracks progress in five primary areas:
- Base building.
- Leadership development/mentoring.
- Ally/partnership development.
- Public official relationship identification and cultivation.
- Voter turn out.
Each organization receives more than $150,000 per year worth of resources per year, including:
- One annual $87,500 grant to enable staffing and infrastructure upgrades (such as new hires and database systems) that are needed to succeed at IVE work.
- Ten coaching hours per month with an IVE expert to help groups develop and implement an IVE work plan.
- Two three-day convenings focused on skills-building with a diverse set of IVE practitioners and via peer learning.
- One three-day paired exchange per year with a seasoned IVE organization or experienced peer organization in Groundswell’s IVE cohort.
- The development and execution of mailers as part of a layered strategy to increase the organization’s community profile and to support the impact of canvassing, phoning, media, etc.
- Phone support: robo-calls (an automated call that delivers a recorded message) to clean lists (fewer bad numbers) so that phone banks yield a higher contact rate, and/or paid phone banks to build relationships and skills on the leadership pipeline trajectory.
- Canvassing support to increase the scale of grantees’ outreach and build relationships and skills on the leadership pipeline path.
- Social media and radio support: social media campaigns that advance IVE and radio ads, or other presence on radio programs to raise the visibility of participating organizations.
- Voter registration support: Access to Turbovote, an online non-partisan, third-party voter registration system.
- Access to legal counsel for all participating organizations to ensure full 501(c)(3) compliance for civic engagement activities. All materials and phone and canvass scripts are vetted by Groundswell’s legal counsel.
- Evaluation support: Organizations develop, with help from their coach, an IVE work plan that tracks impact.
- Mind/body capacity-building: Access to self-care and mind-body self-awareness modalities, such as Somatics, Forward Stance, mindfulness meditation and yoga, which accelerate culture change, build group cohesion and foster sustainability in movement building work.