Who We Are
The VPC: Uniquely Successful in Reaching, Registering and Mobilizing the Rising American Electorate (RAE)
The VPC (then operating as WVWV) was the first major organization to identify unmarried women as a crucial, yet unrecognized constituency, to single-out marital status as a major determinant of political participation and popularize a fundamental dynamic in the American electorate: the “marriage gap” – the fact that married women were much more likely than unmarried women to register and vote.
Since then, the organization has expanded its mission to encompass mobilizing and educating the RAE (Rising American Electorate). RAE members are hard–to-find, low-information, highly mobile voters (more than 42 percent of RAE citizens moved between 2006 and 2010, according to the Census Bureau) and traditional programs fail to reach and register or turn them out in large quantities. The VPC achieves near universal reach using direct marketing techniques featuring science-based approaches that have proven successful across all demographic groups.
VPC models, list-technology enhancements, research-driven messaging and materials, and cost-effective, complementary collaborations with other organizations provide the organization with a unique ability to motivate and mobilize the RAE through a variety of scalable programs that are not redundant to other outreach efforts.
The VPC’s registration, turnout and mobilization programs have been recognized and lauded for their effectiveness and unique contribution to building an infrastructure of individuals who would otherwise be left on the sidelines of American democracy:
- In 2008, Catalist –a data service organization that tracks voter contact efforts -confirmed that the VPC (then WVWV) was highly and singularly effective in identifying, contacting, registering, and mobilizing individuals in key demographic groups who were otherwise highly unlikely to vote. Most of the contacts the VPC made did not overlap with any other independent organizations that Catalist tracked—81 percent would not have been reached out to at all if not for the VPC’s efforts. In addition, VPC applicants turned out at higher rates than other organizations’ registrants. The New Organizing Institute (NOI), in its “Voter Registration Analysis 2008” found that 87.8 percent of the 946,822 VPC applicants were successful registrants and 77 percent of them voted.
- The NOI’s 2010 report on midterm registration efforts stated, “Mail Programs registered a disproportionately high number of African Americans and Hispanics. It’s worth noting that large portions of mail programs specifically targeted African Americans and Hispanics.” These mail applications were overwhelmingly generated by the VPC. According to the NOI data, the VPC had more successful registrations than anyone else in many states, including: Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Texas and Washington. In addition, NOI preliminary data indicates that the VPC had the highest ratio of applications turning into successful registrations of any group included in their analysis, with 93.9% of the VPC’s registration applications turned into successful applications.
Rigorous evaluations of the VPC’s efforts over the last four cycles have shown constant, exceptional and dramatic increases in effectiveness and return-on-investment. The VPC’s commitment to research and development has enabled the VPC to continually bend the cost curve, lower the cost per net additional vote and increase efficiencies in advocacy efforts.
The VPC also occupies a unique place within the progressive civic engagement community. Not only does the organization share all of the tools and information that the VPC develops including lists, models, controlled studies, and survey research, the VPC also partners with state tables, other civic engagement organizations, and all who seek to help underrepresented constituencies achieve their proper place in America’s democracy.
What We Do
Register and Turn Out Voters
To increase RAE participation in 2011 and 2012 the VPC is conducting research-driven year-round civic engagement, information-raising and voter registration, Vote by Mail (VBM), turnout and other mobilization programs in states were large populations of the RAE are unregistered or under-perform on Election Day. The plan is to mobilize the largest number of voters in states high in RAE and unregistered RAE members by doing what the VPC does best: conducting pilot programs and control group studies of its programs to learn how to do it smarter, better, faster and cheaper both in-cycle and cycle to cycle; learning from and building on the advances made by the state tables, the Analyst Institute, VPC programs and others while ensuring all new knowledge is shared quickly and broadly; and, mining data and survey research the VPC conducts to develop cutting edge models to bring to the community to ensure rapid advances in effectiveness and cost-efficiency. After the VPC conducts this research, we roll out the learnings to civic engagement groups.
Research and development
The VPC is unique among civic engagement groups because of its reliance on Research & Development (R&D). From controlled experiments to mail package tests, from modeling to list enhancement technologies and survey research, the VPC has produced sustained increases in response rates and return on investment. The VPC’s commitment to research and development has enabled the organization to continually bend the cost curve, lower the cost per net additional vote and increase efficiencies in advocacy efforts.
To increase voter participation, the VPC uses randomized, controlled clinical trials similar to those used in medical research. The VPC conducts in-cycle experiments to hone and improve programs, models and tactics in real-time. These tests are also evaluated after each cycle to determine what worked and didn’t in producing a net effect– additional votes that would not have been cast or action that would not have been taken were it not for the VPC’s registration and/or turnout programs. The VPC has built well over 100 randomized trials into its work over the last seven years.
Because of its strategic R & D approach, the VPC is unique in its ability to cost-effectively reach and mobilize historically under-represented voters in the RAE through a variety of scalable programs that are not redundant but complementary to other outreach efforts. [Includes hyperlink to Research]
Programmatic, Demographic, Policy and Public Opinion Research
The VPC’s civic engagement work is complemented by its work on public policy and its efforts to educate elected officials and others on the changing nature of America’s demographic makeup as well as the public policy needs of unmarried women and other underrepresented constituencies.
This research is conducted in partnership with academics, including Yale University’s Dr. Alan Gerber, a thought leader in metrics-based testing; think tanks such as the Center for American Progress and the National Women’s Law Center; other civic engagement and voter education organizations including the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund; and public opinion experts such as Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner Research (GQRR) and Lake Research Partners (LRP).