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Defending Democracy with a Grassroots Approach: DMAW MAXI 2023 Big Idea Award Winner

During the election cycle, we knew League of Women Voters supporters needed an opportunity to feel empowered, especially when many Americans felt our democracy was under attack. We needed an idea that would resonate with them, encourage others to vote, and remain bipartisan.

Our inspiration came from a traditional election year marketing tactic for politicians: The yard sign. To ensure that this sign would be something supporters would want to display, we invited them to have input on the content and design.

The campaign launched when state primaries were taking place, and the January 6th Committee hearings were making the news. And the campaign would end just when the Supreme Court decisions were being released in June.

With this in mind, we launched an email campaign asking supporters to 'pick your favorite slogan' to encourage voting during the election cycle. We provided four options to choose from. Our secondary motive was to let the constituents pick where they wanted this slogan displayed — a yard sign, tote bag, t-shirt or decal/sticker?

We deployed two emails, an initial opportunity to vote with a reminder follow-up, offering four design concepts to choose from. Clicking on a favorite would take recipients to a landing page where they could confirm their vote — and answer a follow-up poll about where they’d most like to display the selected design.

The campaign gathered more than 11,000 votes from donors, League affiliate members, and advocates. The highest percentage of votes (41%) went to the Vote: Our Democracy Depends on It, a mantra that carried many Americans through Election Day. We were also thrilled that 32% voted for the yard sign to display the slogan.

We started to promote the yard sign through three emails, Meta ads to both League constituents and lookalikes, and a lightbox on Regular donors, League members, and Leaders for Democracy ($1,000+ donors) were asked for a minimum gift of $25, while prospects (who had never donated) were asked for a minimum of $15. With that gift, the yard sign would arrive in homes by mid-September — just in time for early voting.

We were overwhelmed with the response! The simple straightforward voting emails, digital yard sign promotion, and the fulfillment package generated over $150,000 proving that when you engage your constituents and listen to their responses, you can create a successful campaign.

The full-sized yard sign was mailed in a large tube along with a letter, reply device and reply envelope to encourage a second gift to complete this highly successful campaign.


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I have been in fundraising for over 30 years, helping nonprofits exceed their goals through multichannel approaches.

Barbara Johnson
Sr. Vice President, Client Services