The Power of One More: Expanding Capacity on the Nation’s Most Important Races

About Us: Progressive Turnout Project is the largest voter contact organization in the country, specifically dedicated to mobilizing the Democratic Party and defending democracy. Our mission: rally Democrats to vote.

At Progressive Turnout Project, we are committed to Democratic victories up and down the ballot. Direct voter contact has been proven time and time again to be the most effective way to increase voter turnout and deliver the Democratic wins we want to see. 

The Campaign Fellows Program is our way of building capacity in these campaigns so Democrats are able to compete, and win, in the places it matters most.

It also takes a sizable commitment of time and money, two resources often in short supply on Democratic campaigns nationwide — especially at the state level, where increasingly important decisions are being made — on abortion rights, gun violence, public health, and more. 

In our latest call with supporters, members of our Fellows Advisory Board – a group of state legislators with firsthand experience who advise us on best practices and help finetune the program – spoke on the difference direct voter contact can make.

“I talked to practically every single person in my district,” said New Hampshire State Senator Becky Whitley, a member of our Fellows Advisory Board. 

During the call, she told the story of her first campaign in 2020, when she was up against a former Congressman in her primary. 

“I still have people that come up to me that say ‘I have never voted for a Democrat, but I voted for you, because you were the only one who called me.’”

The Campaign Fellows program allows us to directly support campaigns – including folks running for state-level races – by embedding fellows who are trained and supported by the PTP team, and dedicated to best-in-class field and campaign tactics.

Here’s how we do it:

First, we work with Democratic campaigns to identify individuals with talent and passion — but who could do even more with a paid opportunity. Then, we fully invest in the success of those Fellows. Our goal is to better equip down-ballot campaigns for the important work of direct voter contact, especially in key districts that might not always have the resources to staff up.

Fellows take on a broad range of campaign roles and skills, with a heavy emphasis on direct voter contact. This is proven to be the most effective way to engage and motivate voters to be active participants in our democracy. 

Progressive Turnout Project provides two months of coaching, mentoring, and support to equip Fellows with the most effective resources, strategies and expertise to support their candidates. Adding just one team member can make all the difference, especially in the out-of-the-spotlight races Democrats need to win.

Our first Fellows program in 2018 funded 104 Fellows on 52 Democratic Congressional campaigns at the federal level. In 2021, we expanded the program into state legislative races for the first time, embedding 167 Fellows in New Jersey and Virginia races, a $570,000 total investment.

The investment proved worthwhile. Last cycle, our Fellows made over 200,000 voter contact attempts—an average of over 1,000 attempts per Fellow. And the campaigns certainly felt the difference.

“The program really allowed a campaign that didn’t have the ability to raise the necessary funds to be more competitive. The Fellows Program allowed the campaign the staffing needed to function and be competitive.”

-Frank DelVecchio, Campaign Manager, NJ Leg District 40

“The best thing about this program was the ability to bring in those who may not have had the opportunity to attain a paying job on a campaign while expanding the labor force of a campaign at no added cost.”

-Sean Gregory, Campaign Manager, NJ Leg District 16

In 2022, the program is expanding even further.  We plan to fund up to 1,000 Fellows across the country, including state legislative campaigns in 13 states: Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin — a total investment of over $5 million. That’s the kind of support that will strengthen the Democratic party for years to come.

To help us in our efforts to strengthen the Democratic Party, you can contribute here, volunteer, or work with us to rally Democrats to vote.