Our rigorous, data-driven approach helps us do more with less and provide the civic engagement community with crucial information.
The Voter Participation Center’s metrics-based approach ensures accountability and a return on investment—both for our donors and the civic-engagement community at large.
As part of our ongoing mission to increase voter participation in all aspects of our democracy, we use science: randomized, controlled experiments to measure, hone, and improve our programs, models, and tactics in real-time. These tests are conducted in-cycle and evaluated after each cycle to determine what did and didn’t work to produce results—whether those results are voter registrations, votes cast, or other activities like contacting one’s legislators.
Rigorous evaluations of our work over the last six election cycles have shown constant and dramatic improvement in the effectiveness and return-on-investment of our efforts. Our research-driven approach enables us to continually bend the cost curve on all of our programs, making us unique in our ability to reach historically-underrepresented members of the Rising American Electorate in a scalable and cost-effective way that complements other outreach efforts.
We’ve got an ambitious research agenda for 2016 and beyond, doing what we do best: conducting control-group tests that result in quantifiable metrics, learning from and building on advances from our national and state partners, sharing all of this new knowledge with the civic engagement community, and mining our treatment data and survey research to develop cutting-edge models that are available to the community at large.
We’ve found a lot of things in that research that buck conventional wisdom — such as the importance of re-registering voters who move, or the effectiveness of simple, black-and-white, “ugly” mailings in getting out the vote. These findings have not only helped us to improve our own methods and become more efficient and effective, but have also proved invaluable to others as we’ve shared the results with partner organizations and allies.
In addition to our ongoing experimentation in our voter registration and turnout work, we’re also pleased to work alongside our sister organization, the Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund, with organizations like Lake Research Partners, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, the Analyst Institute, and Democracy Corps to produce high-quality reports about the Rising American Electorate and the overall American population, based on available government data as well as original polling.
We’re committed to sharing what we’ve learned, as well as the products and tools that evolve from our research—including targeting models, programs, list technology developments, public opinion surveys, messaging guides and mail package designs. We regularly provide the community and lawmakers with the latest and most granular information on the changing nature of America’s demographic makeup as well as the public policy needs of unmarried women and other underrepresented groups.
We’re also continually releasing new information to the community: though reports and memos, conference calls, our annual summit, and a dedicated website for our ongoing research, the Voter Participation Data Center.