How DoSomething.org engages young voters and drives civic engagement

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way voters access information about candidates and learn about the voting process itself. On both local and national levels, we’ve seen that things like town halls, canvassing, and public forums have moved online, and voters must rely on digital communication more than ever before to stay informed. This has come into sharp focus as the United States has an important election coming up — but as a global company, we know firsthand how important information access is to electoral processes worldwide. Our mission is to build a more trustworthy internet, and we’re proud to support and protect the organizations driving voter literacy and empowerment. 

Today, we’d like to share a story from DoSomething.org, one of our Open Source and Nonprofit Program members, as they exemplify the kind of innovation that makes a real impact — and deeply inspires us and humbles us. 

How DoSomething.org is engaging young voters

DoSomething.org’s mission is all about activating and empowering teens and young adults to create social change. Their mantra is “fight for the user,” which includes meeting their audience members where they are — on devices and in-person in every U.S. area code and 131 countries around the world. Over the past few decades, that has increasingly meant shifting toward online experiences and activations. Engaging people in social change helps to create lifelong civically engaged citizens, and allows young people to see the real-world impact their participation is having in their communities. DoSomething.org's research shows that members who have participated in 3-6 of their campaigns are 2.8x more likely to report they “feel part of a larger social movement." 

And DoSomething.org has a deep history of success when it comes to elections. In 2018, the organization registered over 118,000 young people to vote, and 57% of their registrants turned at the polls, compared with 38% of 18-24 year olds in the general population. 

This year, those online experiences became even more of a focal point. Due to the pandemic, their plans for voter enablement in the U.S. election needed to move completely online — particularly if they were to meet their goal of getting 250,000 young voter registrations. To educate people on the electoral process, they provided easily accessible and engaging information on everything from voting options, to increasing poll turnout, to registering to vote. They built digital experiences around personalized ladders of engagement to inspire young voters to take action, and to create a habit of community staying involved. Through their online activities alone, they just surpassed 200,000 registrations.

Despite a global health crisis, economic uncertainty, and social turmoil, they’ve already surpassed the number of young people they registered in 2018. They are on track to hit their 250K goal before the election, and build lifelong civically engaged citizens in the process. By putting user experience first and providing accessible information online, they’re well-poised to continue innovating, and making lasting impact — from online engagement to real-world change.

Tying it all together

Fastly is proud to support stories like these and so many others. Our mission and values champion the good online and support access to information for everyone, and we’re always welcoming new members to our Open Source and Nonprofit Program

In addition to supporting organizations like DoSomething.org that are driving voter enablement, we’re also extending new initiatives to our own internal employees and expanding our commitments: we’re giving all Fastly employees their respective national election days as a holiday, and donating to Fair Fight and the Black Voters Matter Fund to further support voting and uplift marginalized communities. 

As always, it’s our customers who motivate us, inspire us, and provide innovative examples of how developers are doing real good in the world. We’re committed to supporting you every step of the way.

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