"EVERY CITIZEN IS A VOTER" - Diary of a Fundraiser

Day 23 - From the Desk of US Vote Board Member Mark Ritchie, Minnesota Secretary of State (2007-2015)

Dear Readers,  

Many years ago there was a small group of very dedicated U.S. citizens scattered around the globe that wanted to make it easier for other Americans living abroad to vote from anywhere on the planet. Voting is both a right and, as I would argue endlessly as Minnesota’s Secretary of State, a responsibility of citizens everywhere. And so, these passionate souls working to make overseas voting a more routine matter made me very happy.

When I retired from my Secretary of State position it became possible for me to give back to the folks at Overseas Vote by getting involved as a Board Member and being part of the branding transition to U.S. Vote Foundation. I am proud to serve in this capacity and to be part of the transformation that is taking place right now within our organization and more broadly in the civic engagement community.

But we need your help to keep this train moving forward. We need your social media skills to get the word out farther and faster about all of our great tools and services. And we need your financial support - small and large - to keep the organization strong and cutting edge.

Click Here to learn more and to help. Support this very important organization and our Every Citizen is a Voter campaign.

Mark Ritchie, Minnesota Secretary of State (2007-2015)
Board Member, U.S. Vote Foundation and Overseas Vote Initiative

Day 22 - Courage and Unwavering Perseverance

I keep a small book of "Quotations of John F. Kennedy" on my desk, and for days like today, it is the first thing I pick up. This is when I need the big vision and oratory of a great leader combined with the courage of conviction and unwavering perseverance that JFK inspires.

Today, I would like to share this particular quote with you, "This is a great country and requires a good deal of all of us, so I can imagine nothing more important than for all of you to continue to work in public affairs and be interested in them, not only to bring up a family, but also give part of your time to your community, your state, and your country."

He's right, of course. Our country requires a tremendous commitment from each of us. I believe you are reading this because, like me, you are committing to it each day. We must work for it, not turn away from the complications or disappointments. We must all give to strengthen the fabric of our country - starting with the family, then community, state and nation. We are each part of it.

Take this beautiful reminder forward with you today. Put it in your invisible pocket and keep it there for when it is needed.

Just remember: Every Citizen is a Voter. That is our commitment.

- Susan

Day 21 - Lunch Money

Years ago, in Congresswoman Maloney's office, her aide, Ben Chevat, whom I was working with at the time, commented on the level of an appropriation that we were hoping to garner as "Lunch Money" to the agency from which the budget would be sourced. Lunch money. Really?

Somehow comparing what I considered to be an enormous request to something as simple as lunch money put it in perspective. But it did not make it easier to get. No budgeting allocation, appropriation or donation is easy to get, regardless of the entity asked, and even if it were, it should not be treated as such. Money is a big deal. Even if it is Lunch Money.

Perhaps this week, you might consider a second donation equivelant to lunch money for a day, or for a week combined, or twice a week till the New Year, or whatever sounds right to you. Maybe you will invite someone to lunch and donate the equivelant to Every Citizen is a Voter. Maybe you will ask your colleague or friends at your table to do the same.

Tomorrow is a big election in Alabama. All eyes are on it. We will have another reason to underscore why it is important that Every Citizen is a Voter. Please think about this over lunch today.

- Susan

Day 20 - Game, Set, Match

Growing up in Ann Arbor with the University at my doorstep meant that even during my high school years I could tap into both tremendous academic resources (a library for every field of study) and the best in sports facilities. It was the tennis court that attracted me like a magnet and I wanted desparately to be good at the game and to make the Pioneer team. I decided that the best way to learn would be to face off with the better players at the UofM Palmer Field courts. There, I would slam at the backboard with a fierceness unknown to most 15 year olds. Eventually, some nice young athlete would ask me to "hit."

When I made it to the team, I basically found out that it was out of sheer strength and determination versus what the other players had, technique. I could win a game, or even a set, but rarely ever a match. And it wasn't easy to improve; indeed, this was far more complex than I had realized. Most of this mysterious game of tennis was invisible. Worse, I had literally pounded myself into patterns of movement that could not be remade with "technique."

Although I am off the tennis court and working with the Foundation, some of these same lessons apply. One, strength without sublety and strategy is not the real power and endurance you need to win a complex match; and two, don't wear cement shoes on the court. You simply have to remain dynamic and light enough to develop new skills and "technique" along the way.

Back in 2004, we started as Overseas Vote Foundation, which was ideal for the time - we were focused on one audience of voters and we made tremendous progress contributing to overseas and military voter reform. In 2011, we developed a plan to grow beyond the one audience and it required us to "re-invent". We went forward with a plan to bring our technology and data to a broader voter constituency and to the US election development community. The transition was careful and deliberate - we took time to learn the technique. By 2016, we had successfully transitioned our brand to U.S. Vote Foundation with the Overseas Vote Initiative under that banner, fully intact and carrying forward the important overseas voter constituency.

Getting in a Game is one thing and winning it is great. But the strategy is proven when win a Set. And if you can truly win a Match based on strength combined with strategy, endurance and technique, well, you earned it.

Help us to move forward. Make your Match today.

- Susan

Day 19 - Unmatched (in greatness)

The combined Vision and Mission of U.S. Vote Foundation and our Overseas Vote Initiative is "Every Citizen is a Voter." This statement has proven to be unmatched in greatness. It works to guide the actions of our growing volunteer and governance team and to keep us motivated in the face of daunting obstacles. Every Citizen is a Voter is even flexible enough to be the call to action of our first-ever crowd-funding campaign.

Do not misinterpret all forms of unmatched to be great. Unmatched donations - largely all of those that we have so far - are decidedly not great. The good news - with our combined good will and action, we can fix that.

You know why you gave to Every Citizen is a Voter. It is exactly why your friend, family member, colleague, smart acquaintance, school-friend, party-pal, clubmate, buddy, or neighbor will also give. You are so good at explaining what is in your heart and why you support Every Citizen is a Voter; you will be able to match your donation many times over.

You just have to set aside those few minutes to do it. Today. Be unmatched in greatness because you have matched your donation. Thank you.

- Susan

Day 18 - A Match Made in Heaven

So lovely, it is not of this earth. A "match made in heaven"... It is the match we all seek. The one.

Your personal match could be right in front of you right now, and maybe you don't even see it. No different for the Every Citizen is a Voter match. You have to seek a little further, a little farther, to bring in a slice of heaven. Find it today. Find your donation match.

Please: send your carefully chosen friends and colleagues a request to match your donation and direct them to Every Citizen is a Voter. For U.S. Vote Foundation, yours will be a Match Made in Heaven.

Thank you, Susan

Day 17 - Matchbox

There were 75 to collect. These were small, delightfully crafted, die-cast automobiles that were packaged in tiny cartons similar to "matchboxes", hence the brand. That's what a Matchbox was to most of us, at one point in time.

Later it became a box of flammable sticks. Today, your Matchbox holds the names of the people you could ask to match your Every Citizen is a Voter donation. The key to unlock your Matchbox: Just Ask.

Please: think of three names of people most likely to respond to your request to match you and send them a note. Every donation counts and your efforts to light the matches are so deeply appreciated. Your matches will be showered with thanks, I promise you that. Maybe this sounds so good, that you will decide to match yourself.

Here is where to send them: Every Citizen is a Voter. Thank you.

- Susan

P.S. Many corporations will match their employees gifts to a legal charity.

Day 16 - Have you Met Your Match?

Did anyone ever say to you, in that certain way, that finally "you have met your match"? If so, it was probably someone who knew you well enough to know what you are good at, plus whatever tricks or trades you use to maneuver through life or work or relationships.

Intrinsic to "you met your match", the phrase implies that you would be challenged to personally grow from this interaction. Ominous and exciting all at once.

Asking for a donation match can feel like meeting your match. It forces you to think hard about who finding donors who can match or exceed your level of giving, the fact that they won't give to just any cause, and you need to step out a little further to make it happen. To say why it matters and why it makes a difference.

Working to make Every Citizen a Voter does matter, because the fabric of our democracy is built on participation and held to account by our own votes. Supporting US Vote and Overseas Vote to reach out to more voters with a state-of-the-art Voter Alerts system is what the donations will support. Specifically, getting more ballots into the box. Our Every Citizen is a Voter campaign page has more of our story - and it is one that every donor who cares about voter participation will relate to, and get behind.

Today - please to go out to Meet Your Match. We need your help to broaden our donor base and double, even triple the value of the donations we have received so far. Please send donors to this link. Thank you.

- Susan

Day 15 - How to Light a Match

As kids, many of us were fascinated by matches. It was thrilling to strike the end of the match against that little red strip that comes with the match box or booklet and suddenly get fire*. Remember how sad it was to waste a match when learning how to light one? Too hard and it breaks, too softly and the tip of the match rubs off and doesn't work anymore. Eventually, we learned how to do it just right.

Today there is another match to light. A match to your donation. Some people have the knack for that; for others, it takes a few tries to get it just right. YOU CAN DO IT.

No time like the present: start by making a list of 3-5 people who you think have the mind and means to match (or better) your donation. It's best to send each person a personalized email - and include the link to the Every Citizen is a Voter campaign page (https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/us-vote-foundation1). There they can read our story and learn more about how their donation will support an import purpose.

Now to you: show us how you Light a Match.

- Susan

* According to the curiosity.com website, "When the match head is dragged along the striking surface, the sand and powdered glass cause friction and heat, which is enough to convert some of the red phosphorous to white phosphorus-a chemical so volatile that it ignites in the air.

Day 14 - The Perfect Match

Are you thinking of dating or tennis? Haha. They do qualify, but there is another kind of Perfect Match for you.

Last week, I received an email from an organization for which we have great respect, and it said that every single donation received to them on Giving Tuesday would be matched - twice. In the world of Every Citizen is a Voter, that rings of The Perfect Match.

And so, dear readers, friends, supporters - this week of December 4th is dedicated to the concept of The Perfect Match. I am asking you to find at least one, and better two (!) people to match your donation. You know why you gave to Every Citizen is a Voter. Because there is a cause you believe in, profoundly, one you can defend. And you know from past experience that U.S. Vote Foundation will follow through and deliver.

Take a few minutes to think of the two people who will match your donation. Write to them, call them, inform them, connect them and send them to the Every Citizen is a Voter Campaign Page (https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/us-vote-foundation1)

Together we will create The Perfect Match.

Thank you - Susan

Day 13 - Inreach (as opposed to out)

When I first heard the word "outreach" and learned of it as a communications concept, as a program for nurturing a constituency, it all made such good sense and I couldn't get enough of it. Still can't. Outreach is all about helping - putting out a hand and lifting others up to a better place. For US Vote, it's about helping every citizen be a voter.

Now I see how all of this reaching out really begins with reaching in.

It simply isn't possible to run a charitable organization fueled by long-term, dedicated volunteers without the internal compasses turned toward a powerful cause, which all recognize and feel within themselves. It's the internal compass that guided each member of our team, the volunteers, staffers, Advisors, Board Members, friends and supporters toward the organization and gave them each the courage to make a commitment to our cause and to themselves to be part of it.

Today, I want to thank you all for reaching in - for knowing what you want to do, and for choosing to express a part of your complex self through US Vote and our Overseas Vote initiative. Thank you for your inreach. It makes the outreach possible.

- Susan

Day 12 - Do the Right Thing

We know when we do the right thing. There is a "right-thing barometer" inside us and it has a direct line to the gut. And we know when it gets punched.

We have to face the fact that what exactly the "right thing to do" is - can be subject to interpretation and manipulation. When others don't do what we believe and feel in our gut is the right thing, not only do we feel punched, but we may have to deal with the difficult feeling of outrage.

These moments of outrage are when you thank the powers of the Constitution for giving you the franchise. Take a few moments today and treasure that precious baby we hold as U.S. citizens: our right to vote. Plenty of outrage can fit into a ballot. And a whole lot more when there are more ballots. We've seen it, and we will see it again.

And this is what Every Citizen is a Voter is all about. Stay focused, don't be distracted, we all have to take things in order.

For now, Do the Right Thing: Give. And remind everyone to do the same.

- Susan

Day 11 - Thank You for Asking

There was something so different about my next door neighbor on Olivia Street. It wasn't the completely different arrangement (at that time) of a late marriage and the curious adoption of one white and one black child. Although all that certainly made her even more special.

There was something about her I couldn't quite pin down. For some reason I liked to hang out and chat with her after school and if invited to join her in the most mundane errands, they suddenly felt exciting. Over time, I started to realize, that it wasn't just me, but everyone wanted to be with Marcia. She did some thing to us all. She asked.

One day, in our tiny corner grocery, I saw her magic in action. We reached the checkout clerk and Marcia slowed down, looked right at her with real interest, and asked her, "How are you today, Sarah?" Marcia knew her name. This was more than a one time gesture. Sarah lit up and responded. What was mundane was suddenly transformed. It felt good, really good.

When we drove home, some stepped in the road and instead of honking, Marcia slowed the car, rolled down the window, smiled her very special smile and looked in that stranger's eyes - saying, "We both are so lucky today, aren't we?" And the stranger was no longer strange. He smiled back and delighted in that small interaction.

This was Marcia's Magic. She stopped, she looked, she took hold of the moment and she asked. Everyone she encountered melted. They simply felt special again. They immediately fell in love. She had seen them, stopped, asked and listened in a way that they knew she heard them. 

Today is Friday and we are rushing to the end of the work week, through meetings, travel, work and errands. Our heads are down looking at our smartphones. But the wonderful thing is, we can look up at any time, find the present moment, ask and hear the answer. There is magic in that.

All week, we have practiced another kind of asking. We've asked people to stop, consider our lives and future, and to give to our Every Citizen is a Voter Campaign. Many of you have also come back to say, Thank You for Asking. Let's make it a trend.

- Susan

Day 10 - The Four P's (not marketing)

Marketing 101 starts with building an understanding of the "Marketing Mix" comprising four essential elements starting with the word P: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. Some smarties added Positioning, Packaging and People as key to a successful marketing strategy.

What are the Four P's of Voter Participation?

First, it is Powerful. The act of casting your ballot empowers you as a citizen. It must also be Practical. Accessible, streamlined processes for voting will often determine whether or not you participate. Then the People, for they do matter. Not just who is running for office, but in the biggest picture, people inspire each other to participate; our civic and community culture affects our participation in the franchise.

Lastly, and I would say, possibly the crowning P on these three, is Personal. For all that do at US and Overseas Vote, making voting personal is the overall guiding principle.

It is the core concept of the Voter Account (your Personal Democracy Dashboard), the Voter Help Desk with real people to answer your questions with genuine caring and personal attention, the curated Election Data and our election staff that work directly with election officials across the country to verify it, and our Social Media team that is one of the most engaged group of people I've ever met.

Your gift to our Foundation enables us to bring the Four P's of Voter Participation to the people of our nation as we work to make Every Citizen a Voter.

Have a beautiful day,

- Susan

Day 9 - Staying Power

Why is that we hunger for stories that depict people who reach their goals against all odds. We thrive on tales about people who continue to pursue something they believe in and never lose hope, even in the face of untold challenge and adversity. Perhaps because these stories remind us that we are all faced with soldiering on with our daily battles, pursuing our personal, work and family goals, day after day. How do we all do it?

The secret is Staying Power. The reserves within us that we call upon to keep going in the face of any challenge.

Yesterday was Giving Tuesday and our entire US Vote team - volunteers, elections data staffers, advisors, board members, friends of the foundation - they all came together to work even harder for our cause: Every Citizen is a Voter. We had never tried this sort of fundraising campaign before and we probably set the goal a bit high ($75,000). No one here is practiced at this. In the end, the Giving Tuesday outcome was spectacular: in total, 52 donors have come forward and we have raised $13,435, around 18%. 

Now today is Wednesday. The day after Giving Tuesday. It feels like we just hiked up a mountain and must now cross an ocean in a rowboat. No matter. Take a deep breath, call on the Goddess of Staying Power, pick up your oar and start rowing. This is what we do every day.

There is always another election around the corner. At US and Overseas Vote, we are rowing everyday and we will never stop. We must be here for you. Thank you for Giving (Tuesday) and please remember us on Wednesday. We are practicing our Staying Power from one election to the next. It seems to be working. Thank you for your support. 

 - Susan

Day 8 - Seven seconds in New York City

It turns out that 7 seconds of lead time for crossing the street in Manhattan might determine whether or not you make it to the other side. Ever.

Winne Hu wrote about this in her November 27, 2017, New York Times article entitled, “New York gives pedestrians a head start.” In a campaign dubbed, Vision Zero, that Ms. Hu describes as “ambitious,” the city has turned on the pedestrian green lights 7 to 11 seconds before the cars.

This simple policy change is literally a life and death affair. And it’s working; fatality and injury rates are plummeting. It’s pretty obvious: whoever gets the 7 seconds has the advantage.

It’s Giving Tuesday today, and I’m going to ask you for 7 seconds.

U.S. Vote Foundation and our Overseas Vote initiative is on the corner waiting for the light to change. For us, getting to the other side means that we receive enough financial support to be able to develop a new system for Voter Alerts that will essentially give US citizen voters their 7 seconds to make it to the ballot box.

Please take 7 seconds to donate to our Every Citizen is a Voter campaign. And make it a real Giving Tuesday.

Day 7 - More Tea, Please.

Last night was my first holiday party; hot mulled wine and the works. Sparing the details, I found myself auditioning as a wall flower. 

Amongst my four new friends (the walls), I came upon a framed document that told the story of a teacher who brought his students a glass vessel filled with stones. He then asked, “Is this vessel full?” Not all agreed that it was. He proceeded to pour in pebbles and shake till they found their way into the cracks and crevices left between the stones. “Now, is this vessel full?”, he asked, but they were unsure.

Next, he poured in fine sand that went into every remaining space until the vessel appeared solidly packed. “Is this vessel now full?”, he asked again, and they confirmed that it was. He then surprised them with a pot of hot tea that he poured into the vessel until the tea rose to the rim. And at last, all could see that the vessel was actually full.

He then explained the parable. The stones represent the most fundamental aspects of your life that you most value, nourish and worship – your family, health, friends, education, faith -- all elements that are the foundation of your life. The stones are the things you work hard for and care about such as your career, home, car and other external elements. The sand is that extra space you take to enjoy a special time, the possibility to travel, a unique event here or there, etc.

But the tea? What is the tea? It is that space you did not even know you had. That unique gift that you did not realize you can give. It is the miracle of doing more than you ever thought you were capable of doing, but you do it; being more than you knew you were destined to be, but you are.

This parable explains what I see and experience every day working with our volunteer team at US Vote. If I told you the circumstances in each of their lives, you might not believe me. But you can certainly believe that each of them understand how to pour the tea into their lives - and they do it through volunteering. No one told them to volunteer, to donate their sought-after skills, energy, talents. But they do and it is AMAZING. For this reason, and none other so great, our organization continues to thrive.

Please help us pour more tea. Give to US Vote. Thank you.

Day 6 - The "Power of Unrealized Possibilities" and the drive to avoid regret

In Michael Lewis’ recent best seller, The Undoing Project, he dismantles any preconceived ideas one might have about what drives judgements and ultimately, decision-making.

One theory that is discussed in the book has to do with the “power of unrealized possibilities” to drive decisions and judgements we might make. When faced with even the simplest quandaries, our minds are ablaze with imagination – in seconds we project forward any number of scenarios. If I do this, then that might happen; and if I do that, this might happen….

We weigh these scenarios and make decisions based on what? It turns out that we are mainly driven by an instinct to avoid possibly ever feeling bad about what we did. In a word, regret. We do not want to regret our decisions. When faced with options, our decisions become tangled in our drive to avoid the discomfort of regret, and we give far less consideration to actual facts.

This realization is hard to contemplate not just when you think about all the decisions you are making, but when you think about the decisions being made for you. For example, decisions made by those we elect to govern our communities, state, and nation.

What do you want to bet, that after every single election – regardless of which election – there are people the day after that regret that they did not cast a ballot? Or that they didn’t do more to get involved with the election at hand.

You can avoid that particular scenario and “day after” feeling right now. By giving and getting others to give to US Vote's Every Citizen is a Voter fundraising campaign and avoid that sense of regret. Because, with your support, we will develop a new Voter Alerts system that will reach Americans who need that extra reminder here and there to register, request a ballot, vote and feel great afterwards.

Don't regret - Give!

- Susan

Day 5 - Will Giving Get the Tax-Axe (or a delicate carveout)?

Politico ran a story yesterday featuring "Newman's Own Foundation" and how its $26 to $30 million annual charitable donations hang in the balance (literally, the balance sheet) of the proposed House and Senate tax bills. In full disclosure, yours truly would never have tried this crowd-funding campaign had it not been that Newman's Own Foundation is sponsoring this 2017 Holiday Challenge and making it possible for our Foundation to participate.

In his article, "Newman's Own tax break," Danny Vinik writes, that the Newman's Own Foundation's unconventional business model, "...a nonprofit charity that wholly owns a for-profit food company, leaves it vulnerable to a punitive 200 percent tax that would break up the arrangement...". Meaning of course, that if the company gets taxed for the giving, the charitable spigot will shut off.

Fortunately, it appears that the sizeable chunk of change spent on lobbying Congress has saved them (for now) from the axe of the tax bill. Vinik elaborates, "Both the House and Senate tax bills contain a small provision with an almost impenetrable title - 'an exception to the private foundation excess business holding rules for philanthropic business holdings'...the carveout... could spare another 20 to 30 foundatons that would face a similar fate in the future."

It seems that all of the laws came about when the proliferation of nonprofits in the 50's felt like it was burgeoning out of control and could become untenable, biting into legitimate tax revenue. In the end, it appears that this law was like taking a rocket to shoot down a fly.

What is clear - tax laws impact giving. They can either offer incentives for giving, or crush the desire to support the causes we care about the most.

Do I have an offer for you, dear friends. Absolutely, I do: your donation to U.S. Vote Foundation right now - is fully eligible as a tax-deductible donation.

Please give.

- Susan

Day 4 - Some Perspective on our Journey

Today's diary entry has been kindly donated by one of our most committed and dedicated board members whose enthusiasm seems to increase with every election cycle. Thanks for keeping us going, Chip.  

I am deeply proud to have served as Chair of U.S. Vote Foundation (and Overseas Vote Foundation beforehand) for nearly ten years - almost since our founding. Working with this Foundation is both humbling and exhausting, as we accomplish so much with such limited resources. Your contributions to our campaign will help us to move forward on our mission of eliminating obstacles to voting wherever we can.

Over the past 13 years, we have taken a very practical approach to enhance each voter's experience with smart technology applications that make it simple to register to vote and stay informed. Our research has helped shape federal and state election legislation; our tools and apps have enabled countless voters able to cast their ballots; and our data has enhanced election administration, the voter experience and civic engagement.     

We have accomplished these noteworthy wins for democracy on an amazingly sparse budget. But there is so much more to do, and for this we need your help. If you believe that democracy in America must be preserved and enhanced. please join us by contributing whatever you are able to give. And, if you want to join us in the effort, please share this appeal with your friends and family over this Thanksgiving holiday break. Thanksgiving is that most American of holidays, and we hope that you and your families enjoyed a wonderful time together.

Thanks for supporting U.S. Vote Foundation in whatever ways you are able. We promise to use your support wisely and diligently. Please give to Every Citizen is a Voter today.

Best Wishes, and thank you,

Chip Levengood, Board Member, U.S. Vote Foundation

Day 3 - About Thanks and Giving (and Birds)

Living as an American Overseas gives a unique vantage point to this favorite US holiday, Thanksgiving. Some of us are fortunate to be able to gather with other US citizens to celebrate and we can really call it Thanksgiving Day; while others of us just call it Thursday and try to remember the taste of homemade pumpkin pie.

Seeing as I live in Germany, where nothing is not recycled (our tiny trash cans are picked up once every 14 days), I decided to clean out my food cupboards in honor of the holiday. It was painful to look at the grains and cereals, the nuts and muesli that was half eaten and well out of the suggested date range for consumption. I could not bring myself to put it in the garbage. My crumbs could be someone else's meal, I thought.

So, I went to the garden store in our central market place, "Viktualienmarkt" and found the section for bird feeders. Did I mention this is Germany? Row upon row of handmade wooden bird houses in every shape and size - a wonder to behold. I chose a small one that had just the right proportions to please my eye. It made me feel 10 years old again, my happiness was so geniune.

At home, I took a large bowl and created a generous mixture of nuts and seeds, cereals and flakes and once again, that feeling of childlike happiness came over me. It felt like I was being reminded of something I loved. Taking the time to make my crumbs into someone else's meal was bringing me back the joy of giving.

In the garden, I easily looped a low branch in the mirabel tree and hung the bird feeder, then spooned in the bird feed mixture. As I walked back to my house I turned to look at it from a distance and saw the first bird arrive. I am looking out the window now and the tree is alive with birds swooping in for what were once my crumbs, but are now their Thanksgiving meal.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, dear readers. And think about the joy of giving to "Every Citizen is a Voter". You will be showered with thanks coming from us, but also from your own heart.

Day 2 - #EveryCitizenIsAVoter Diary Entry

Today's diary entry has been kindly donated by a star volunteer who knows how to make me laugh my head off and blush at the same time.

Hi American Voters! I’m Genya, aka @ElectionBabe on Twitter. I serve as Twitter Goddess for @US_Vote and @overseasvote. Since our founder and CEO, Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, is writing her own fundraising diary, I’ll contribute an entry or two. (I was long overdue for content creation anyway.)

When Susan and the team let me know about our fundraiser and the Newman’s Own Foundation challenge, I was inspired. At least until I had to size the graphics for my Crowdrise page. For a social media manager at a 501c3 that has revolutionized civic tech and overseas voting, I’m terrifyingly low-tech. After a few very patient e-mail exchanges with our founder, the graphics gremlins calmed down. Then it occurred to me…the hashtag I had lovingly created on Twitter was the name of our fundraiser! (If that isn’t flattering, I don’t know what is.)

Stop and think about this: How many non-profit founders communicate directly with their volunteers? Susan is one of the most actively involved leaders that I’ve encountered in my election career. When she isn’t innovating voting methods for voters around the world,  sponsoring civic tech summits, advocating for overseas voters, or galvanizing our small but mighty team of advisors and volunteers, she’s patiently editing the twelve page novellas that I refer to as blogs, and refining what little writing style I have. My most read blog on here, “Identity Crisis” wouldn’t have existed had she not personally found an interdepartmental email I had written to be side-splittingly funny.

There are a lot of organizations asking for donations these days. Why donate to US Vote?

  • We are a 4-star ranked nonprofit on Guidestar and Charity Navigator.
  • Every dollar we receive will go straight into research and development of methods to remind voters of their local elections.
  • We are a true 501c3 nonprofit, nonpartisan public charity and your donations are tax deductible.
  • You will be ensuring our military and overseas voters will have the tools they need to cast their ballot.
  • Our civic data site will remain open for developers, coders, and voter outreach organizations, assisting them in new and innovative ways to connect with voters.
  • It gives us the chance to compete in the Newman’s Own Foundation challenge on Crowdrise, potentially doubling our $75,000 fundraising goal.
  • My voting and election blogs will have a forever home on a nonpartisan, not-for-profit website – and besides, if you’re going to donate your hard earned money, why not donate to a foundation that considers “Twitter Goddess” a perfectly valid job title?

My personal US Vote fundraising goal is $1,000 USD. Even $10 makes a great contribution to our fundraiser, and we’ll do our best to show our appreciation! Go here to donate through my channel (it feeds up to the top goal) and help me meet mine too: Donate to Every Citizen is a Voter though ElectionBabe

Happy Thanksgiving to our amazing global voter family - we would not exist if we didn’t have your support and feedback. You keep us going, and thank you for that!

- signed Twitter Goddess, Genya aka ElectionBabe

Day 1 - November 21, 2017 - coming up to 12 noon Eastern Time (when the campaign will officially launch)

It's the first day of the first campaign - and I am asking you to give. I need to get used to that phrase. To get used to asking without feeling small. Asking has to make me feel BIG. And getting YOU to ask - that will definitely make us feel BIG.

My guess is you came here because you want to influence change. We are here to create and enact it. We all hear of the problems around voting in the U.S. They are very real problems. Of course, every U.S. citizen should be a voter! But unfortunately, right now they are not. 

People think that voting should be free and easy in the U.S., but the truth is, it's not. How it could be more complex, I don't know. We want you to join us and help us to take complexity out and put simplicity in. 

EVERY CITIZEN IS A VOTER - this fundraising campaign happened because of an earlier commitment to keep our foundation profile up to date on ghe Guidestar platform. That's where people who want to know even more about our foundation can go. If you are wondering what we are about, who we are and what we are up to - there is a lot of info on the footer of our site, but there is even more in our Guidestar profile. The Guidestar folks steered us to the Newman's Own 2017 Holiday Challenge and that is how this fundaiser came about.

This is the first time for us to try this sort of outreach. In the current environment, you might think that money would pour into Civic Tech development for voting from grant organizations and corporations. It doesn't. We need this fundraiser to give us a boost. Your donation will make a big difference. We want to make it possible for us to tap every voter on the shoulder and remind them to vote - at the right time, in the right way, better than it has ever been done before.

I hope this messages reaches you and inspires you to donate to EVERY CITIZEN IS A VOTER. This first day will mean so much. There is another Story to read there too.

Enjoy giving and thank you.

- Susan

Introduction: As a commitment to the voters, to the volunteer team that runs this foundation, to the people who advise, govern and support us - I will commit myself to write the Diary of a Fundraiser. You can come here daily for an installment and see how this effort develops. Do we meet our goal? What does it take? What is it like to put ourselves out there in the way that this campaign will require. It will all be here. The ups, the downs, the struggles and the accomplishments. Keep your eye on this daily journal. It is going to be a very open and personal journey. Here we go.