TurboVote Toolkit

Campus Coalitions

A strong network of voter engagement advocates can help you break down barriers on campus and ensure voter engagement will be a long-term priority.

Create a coalition for voter engagement

The success of your voter engagement program doesn’t have to depend only on you! Build a team and empower others to support your efforts. Bring in expertise and connections from all across campus — student groups, administrators, departmental chairs, deans, professors, instructors, residential advisers, librarians, coaches, and more!

Step 1: Start by thinking of 10 people on campus who you think might be able to help with your TurboVote program. Find a time to meet that works for all of you, and send out some email invitations. Follow up with a call. Pro-tip: it always helps to promise cookies!

Step 2: If you have time, you should prepare a short presentation to kick off your first meeting. You can ask someone from the TurboVote Partnerships team to call in and talk to the group, too. Either way, it's important to dive into the benefits TurboVote can bring to students—quick and easy signup, hassle-free voter registration, and election reminders. It can also be very helpful to walk through your campus's TurboVote site with them. Encourage people to sign up themselves!

Step 3: Ask each person how they think they can help. It is always good to have some ideas in mind before you ask, just in case they don’t offer up any suggestions!

Step 4: Assign tasks. Think of small, discrete tasks that each person can perform to help the cause. Is there a student in the room? Ask them to build a student-only coalition. Is there a professor in the room? Ask them to commit to introducing TurboVote in their classroom and then reaching out to other professors. Is there someone from athletics? Ask them to include TurboVote in pre-game announcements.

Step 5: Schedule a follow-up meeting to check back with everyone and assess progress.

Build a team of student leaders

TurboVote gives students a fantastic opportunity to get involved and stay involved in their community through voting, and no one is in a better position to explain that than a fellow student.

Gathering a group of student leaders with a passion for civic engagement through voting can be a very effective tool to get the word out on campus about TurboVote and can also help you by transferring to them some of the initiative for voter engagement programming.

At some institutions, student government is the obvious choice for student involvement in TurboVote implementation on campus. If you are a student government advisor, consider talking with your students about putting together a taskforce for voter engagement.

If your institution has a lot of politically active student organizations already, consider reaching out to them to gather a group of individuals to come together to help with TurboVote outreach on campus. With a little faculty and staff support, student groups can accomplish quite a lot of voter outreach!

Student leaders from William Paterson University participating in the 2015 TurboVote Voter Engagement Symposium.

Work with campus groups

Among students, peer-to-peer conversations are one of the most effective ways to encourage voting. Working with your institution’s student organizations can be a huge boost for your voter engagement program and can also help distribute some of the work.

You can work with student organizations directly to encourage them to get their own members to sign up for TurboVote and get registered to vote. Every student club and organization has a passion, and just about everything is affected by the democratic process. You just have to make the case to them that their voice is valuable and can be heard! For example, you can use club spirit to encourage students to compete to get their members to sign up, such as engaging them in a campus competition. Another great way to involve student groups is to invite leadership to join your campus coalition for voter engagement.

Student groups are also hugely valuable resources in terms of extending the outreach of your voter engagement and registration drives. See if you can get some students to staff a TurboVote drive table. Ask them to do a service project helping their fellow students sign up for TurboVote. Consider giving the organizations who participate in TurboVote activities prizes, civic engagement points, or a boost when they next apply for funding.

Diverse skills, diverse engagement!

Use your student groups’ specialities! Ask the A/V club to make a TurboVote radio PSA. Ask design or fashion club to create a T-shirt or poster for a voter registration event. Ask the juggling club to use their show intermission to talk about TurboVote. The sky’s the limit!

Keep continuity year-to-year

It's always hard to start a program from scratch. When you are building your voter engagement program using TurboVote, consider ways to keep the program going strong from year-to-year without having to start over.

Importantly, if you are working with student leaders, be aware when there will be turnover because of graduations. Make sure that student implementers who are getting ready to graduate identify a new student to take on their responsibilities for the next year. Have the old and new leader get in touch with the TurboVote Partnerships team, and we can help them with their transition. Likewise, if faculty or staff you are working with move to a new position, make sure to talk with them about how they may be able to continue helping out in their new role and find out who your new point of contact should be once they’ve started their new role.

Reaching out

Talk to a range of potential allies. The more diverse your coalition is, the more resources it will have to make sure you get students engaged! Take a look at this list and see if you can find a potential ally you hadn’t thought of:

  • Student affairs 
  • Chief information officer
  • Student government
  • Sports team coaches
  • Departmental chairs
  • College marketing department
  • Freshman dean
  • Campus institute for civic engagement
  • Parking services
  • Multicultural center
  • Admissions office
  • Office of the president
  • Sociology, civics, and political science professors
  • Librarians
  • IT department
  • Residential life
  • Greek organizations
  • College Democrats and Republicans
  • Student groups
  • Women’s & gender centers
  • First year experience team
  • The local chapter of the League of Women Voters
  • Local election clerk
  • Local voter engagement groups