It’s crunch time! In the final weeks before Election Day, Sunrise Movement is ramping up a finely tuned Relational Organizing strategy in this year’s most contested swing states in order to Get Out The Vote.
Sunrise’s Swing State program is taking aim at mobilizing the youth vote by galvanizing voters around their central mission of passing a Green New Deal. Regardless of the specifics of your cause, there is much to be learned from their approach to voter turnout.
Sunrise hosts cornerstone Victory Parties multiple times per week. These movement-wide events gather hundreds of volunteers (along with a few special guests) over Zoom to make calls and do the work of mobilizing friends to vote and join the movement.
Following a warm welcome from their hosts, newcomers are onboarded masterfully, with breakout sessions and training calls. Of course, volunteers are welcome to reach out to anyone within their networks (this is Relational Organizing after all!), but this effort is defined by its regional emphasis. State-specific meetings help direct efforts where they count the most — and in the process they are helping to build Sunrise’s regional organizing capacity beyond election day.
Former candidate for US Senate in Kentucky and Green New Deal champion Charles Booker joined a Sunset Movement Swing State Victory Party last week to share a galvanizing message. He authentically thanked members of the movement and shared motivation with them for these final few critical days.
“Hold onto your why,” Booker implored. “Hold onto what drives you. I’m voting for my ancestors… I’m voting for my daughters… I’m voting for my cousins.”
He also stressed the importance of storytelling — not just in politics but specifically in organizing. People won’t remember statistics and facts, they’ll remember the person who talks to them about how they are impacted by some policy or other.
Never discount your own personal experience as an organizing tool. In fact, it might be the most powerful one in your toolkit.
For the back half of the victory party, the host played DJ (taking requests, of course) while volunteers made those calls.
These parties don’t just get volunteers to pick up the phone. They create a space where new and returning leaders can feel grounded in the community and share stories and experiences. They instill confidence in newfound Relational Organizing skills. And they reassure those involved that together, we can actually make a change.
Once a new volunteer has attended their first victory party, they’re looped into the Empower ecosystem. Sunrise Movement then provides some conversation roadmaps as well as ways to successfully brainstorm contact lists.
From there, it’s a familiar script. The core goals of each mobilizer are to:
Develop a set amount of relationships in their community
Get them to pledge to vote.
Bring them into the movement as mobilizers
What Sunrise Movement does so well is offer volunteers a way to level-up their efforts every step along the way. It’s that resourcefulness that has made way for the Swing State Program to be the amazing success it is for Sunrise and will continue to be for so many in the movement.
In the words of Rep. Booker:
“Sunrise, you have helped to show the world what power really looks like. I believe in us. I believe in our ability to come together.”
Let us know if we can help you set up a GOTV RO program today. Our organizers and trainers and standing by.