What is Organize for Democracy?
Created in 2021 by Blue Future and Grassroots Democrats HQ to help maintain the massive youth voter turnout that carried Democrats to victory in 2020, Organize for Democracy is a paid training program that teaches young activists the basic tenets of organizing while helping to turn out young voters in key races across the country.
Over the course of 7-8 weeks for each cohort, Organize for Democracy Fellows are paid to attend weekly trainings on a key facet of political organizing (e.g. phone banking, fundraising, digital organizing, etc.). During these trainings, fellows have the opportunity to meet and hear directly from campaign professionals, and often from the candidates they are supporting too! Then, organizers commit to spending 5 hours a week volunteering for one of our target campaigns, during which they apply the skills they’ve learned to help turn out young voters on behalf of Democratic candidates.
For a typical 8-week cohort, OFD Fellows are paid $75 per week, for a total stipend of $600. Moreover, the program was designed with accessibility front of mind; it is entirely virtual and all trainings and phone banks take place after normal school hours.
Thank You to Our 2023 Cohorts!
Building off the successes of our four 2022 cohorts, the Grassroots Democrats HQ and Blue Future facilitated two Organize for Democracy cohorts in 2023 to help elect Judge Janet Protasiewicz to the Wisconsin Supreme Court and turn the Virginia General Assembly blue.
Over the course of seven weeks in the spring and seven weeks in the fall, 78 young organizers attended weekly organizing trainings and then made more than 118,000 GOTV calls to Wisconsin college students and 18-29 year-old voters in key Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate districts.
Organize for Democracy in 2021-2022
Led by Youth, for Youth
One unique and important aspect of Organize for Democracy is that it is led by youth, for youth. The key leaders behind Organize for Democracy are mostly in their late teens to mid twenties– or roughly the same age as the cohort participants.
By making this a youth led project, GDHQ and Blue Future are setting an example of youth leadership to each cohort member. Representation matters, especially when it comes to youth seeing leaders their own age in politics. By prioritizing youth visibility during each training, GDHQ and Blue Future are actively illustrating the tremendous impact that young people can have in politics.
The numbers don’t lie… Democrats win when turnout among young voters is high. In the 2021-2022 midterms, voters 18-29 were the only age range that backed Democrats by a substantial majority. In fact, for every swing House and Senate seat Democrats won, young voters delivered the margin of victory. This trend also holds true in 2020 and 2018, two elections that saw record turnout among young voters.
Young people can help us restore our Democratic Trifecta in 2024. But for that to happen, we need to make sure they are engaged and know that there are Democratic candidates who want to represent them and defend their rights. Peer-to-peer contact is the best way to do so. That’s where we come in.