With an emphasis on small-donor fundraising, we helped change how the average person interacted with a political party. With over 2,000 staff members, we were able to sign on thousands of new supporters and raising millions of dollars. More importantly, our work allowed everyday people to see they could impact the political process.
In October of 2004, Grassroots Campaigns joined forces with MoveOn.org in order to identify and activate Democratic voters. During this campaign, we recruited a volunteer force of almost 50,000 people and worked in 17 of the most highly contested swing states. Following the election, we helped launch a nation-wide project called Operation Democracy through which we organized grassroots activists to end Republican control of Congress. Operation Democracy laid the groundwork for the 2006 Call for Change Campaign in which we ran massive volunteer phone banks that turned out infrequent Democratic voters in over 50 congressional districts. Our hard work paid off that November when we successfully took back Congress.
After the 2006 mid-term election, we focused on working with issue-based organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, Environmental Action, Save the Children, and the Democratic National Committee. We wanted to grow the influence, membership and capacity of the leading organizations of the progressive movement, as well as hold elected officials accountable to campaign promises and keep people engaged in politics year-round. For example, since working with the ACLU in 2007, we have seen their membership nearly double and a significant increase in their ability to protect our constitutional rights.
In 2008, Grassroots Campaigns advocated for pro-environment candidates who were running for office on behalf of the League of Conservation Voters. Closer to the election, Grassroots Campaigns on behalf of MoveOn recruited volunteers to help elect Barack Obama and other Democrats in battleground states. We helped organize 7,480 house parties where volunteers made 2.14 million calls and recruited over 90,000 volunteers for Obama in swing states. Additionally, we registered over 230,000 new voters in 13 battleground states, which helped to win many states and turned North Carolina blue for the first time since Jimmy Carter’s election in 1976.
After the election, we continued our issue-based advocacy, while expanding into new states. For example, we targeted people in conservative states about renewable energy with Repower America. In places like Indiana, Maine, and Missouri, we mobilized people to sign letters and give videotape testimonials to push Congress to take action on global warming.
By 2010, Grassroots Campaigns was advocating year-round on behalf of 10 different organizations. During the midterm election, we partnered with groups like the League of Conservation Voters in Missouri and VoteVets in Pennsylvania. Our VoteVets campaign was the nation’s largest veteran-only campaign in history. By knocking on doors in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Scranton, we were able to talk with thousands of voters about the importance of voting for candidates who supported veteran rights and pro-environmental legislation.
Grassroots Campaigns ran nationwide voter mobilization effort in 2012 to re-elect President Obama and help other Democratic candidates get into office. Most work was done in Colorado and Nevada, with additional projects in Montana, Oregon and Minnesota. We also sent teams of our staff to 10 states to run GOTV efforts for progressive candidates throughout the country.
In 2014, Grassroots Campaigns staff worked on key Senate races in Iowa, Colorado, and Kansas, along with statewide race in Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Nevada –we knocked on more than 200,000 doors in the lead-up to the Election
Through our team of talented directors and staff, we have connected hundreds of thousands of people to political action. Whether it is through registering voters, organizing volunteers, getting out the vote for great candidates, or raising money and increasing membership for the leading progressive organizations, we’re committed to mobilizing the grassroots base of the progressive movement.
Grassroots collectively knocked on over 1.3 million doors to get out the vote in 2016. Our work was concentrated in a few key swing states and important Senate battlegrounds.
We worked closely with our partner groups on the ground. The largest was For Our Future, a group committed to economic and environmental justice. We also ran a 3-state campaign for VoteVets (staffed entirely by Veterans and their family members), as well as smaller projects for Working America and Planned Parenthood.
We started launching offices after the field training in mid-September, and by Election Day we had 840 canvassers in the field. In every office, directors worked hard, tenaciously, and creatively to overcome obstacles ranging from glitchy technology, to a complete public transit shut down in Philly, to a full blown hurricane in Florida. We ended up beating our goals across the board.
This election did not go the way we wanted, but every person who worked to make these offices succeed can safely say that they did everything they possibly could to help our candidates win. And the work of organizing people and engaging them in the political process is never wasted; even when the country takes a step back, our work creates an undercurrent of forward motion.
In fact, we saw a good example of this in Nevada this year: in 2014 we collected signatures to qualify a ballot initiative that would require universal background checks for gun sales in NV, closing the loophole that allowed people who shouldn’t have guns to purchase them freely online or at gun shows. In 2015 we helped organize volunteers to start the GOTV effort to pass this initiative. On Election Day, Nevada voters passed it: 50% – 49%. This is a huge win in the fight for commonsense gun laws.
We also won some very important races by margins as small as 600 votes and unseated some of the most conservative legislators in the country.
And for a crowning achievement: the ballot initiative that we qualified over the Summer by collecting nearly 150,000 signatures in Colorado passed by a huge margin. This measure will give terminally ill people the right to request a prescription that will let them choose where and how they spend their final minutes. Colorado is the 5th state to have this law on the books and the first middle-of-the-country purple state.