2. National organizations that focus on 2022 battleground states
3. State-level organizations (Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin)
These recommendations were last updated Jan 19, 2022
Before deciding which organizations to list below, we talked with savvy, experienced Democratic activists/organizers/consultants/donors who are rigorous in assessing the options for donating. We asked which they would recommend, given our single-minded aim of maximizing the effectiveness of donations to help Democrats win the closest Senate & House races in 2022. The organizations below stand out because each has a clearly-defined, focused, practical mission – and a proven track record. Each has some special quality, and their work will have the effect of helping the prospects of Democratic candidates in swing states & districts. Each needs donations and is able to deploy contributions effectively. There are other outstanding organizations not on our list; some omitted because they are already generously funded, others because we don’t want the list to get too long. As noted, some of these are 501c4 organizations (not tax deductible), some are 501c3 (tax deductible public charity). If an organization has both a c4 and c3 arm, and if you don’t need the tax deduction, usually donating to the c4 arm is best, as it allows the organization more flexibility -- a c4 can engage in more direct political advocacy than a c3.
2. National organizations that focus on 2022 battleground states
- America Votes: In its own words, America Votes is “the coordination hub of the progressive community, working with over 400 state and national partner organizations to advance progressive policies, win elections, and protect every American’s right to vote”. It is the umbrella network for many national, state & local organizations -- particularly in their designated core states for 2021-22. America Votes provides funds to those other organizations, and its in-state campaign professionals assist its partners and local coalitions. Their work includes co-running the voter protection pool nationally (with Fair Fight) and creating the national vote-by-mail tracking system. They have a compelling plan to mobilize traditional midterm “dropoff” voters. One of our advisors said: “While it’s a large, national organization, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more effective group”. You can earmark donations to specific states, as indicated below. In a video from a number of years ago that is no longer available, many individuals spoke of the organization's invaluable work, including Cecile Richards (America Votes co-founder; former President of Planned Parenthood), Stephanie Shriock (EMILY’s List President), Ed Rendell (former Governor of PA), Gene Karpinski (President, League of Conservation Voters), Mary Kay Henry (SEIU International President).
- Working America and its c3 arm Working America Education Fund: Working America is connected with AFL-CIO, but focuses on persuading, registering & mobilizing non-union working-class people in battleground states – including white working-class people. See what MoveOn.org and Tim Kaine have to say about Working America in the video on this page. AFL-CIO covers Working America’s overhead, so donations go directly to funding their special programs. From its website: “Working America starts every campaign and every conversation by listening to voters and speaking to their concerns. Our canvass organizers hold authentic, two-way conversations rather than deliver scripts. It's what sets us apart. We combine the union tradition of relationship-based door-to-door organizing with rigorous clinical analytics to change minds and win elections.”
- RuralOrganizing.org and its c3 arm RuralOrganizing.org Education Fund: “RuralOrganizing.org is a progressive power house mobilizing over 700,000 activists for positive change across rural America. We are boldly progressive and proudly rural...Our mission is to rebuild a rural America that is empowered, thriving, and equitable and our grassroots network of rural organizers, activists, elected officials and candidates for office are the heart and soul of our work.” They use micro-influencers and organizers rooted in the community for authentic conversations focused on rural issues with voters of all races. They were particularly active in IA, NC, PA & WI last cycle and will carry on work in those states plus GA & OH with additional resources. Led by individuals who know rural America and know how to communicate and organize, e.g.:
See Rolling Stone article referring to Director Matt Hildreth and to RuralOrganizing.org: “Can Joe Biden and the Democrats Win Back Rural Voters in 2020?” Worth watching at least the first few minutes of this video when panel members introduce themselves: “RuralOrganizing.org 2018 Netroots Nation Panel”.
- Alliance for Youth Action and its c3 arm Alliance for Youth Organizing: “We are a nationwide network of organizations building political power of young people, and the premier youth vote vehicle in the United States.” The Alliance works nationally and with partners in 17 states to engage young people in politics & advocacy, including voter registration & mobilization. They also helped invent major democracy reforms like Automatic Voter Registration and National Voter Registration Day. Key 2022 states: AZ, FL, NC, NH, NV, OH, WI. See this cool Dec 2019 video: “Alliance for Youth Action - Building For 2020”. In May 2021 they did a webpage introducing 9 young Asian organizers in the Alliance Network.
3. State-level organizations: Organizations in states expected to have close Senate races (probably also close House races). Other states may be added later if the Senate race is forecast to be close – e.g. Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio.
- LUCHA (Living United for Change in Arizona) and its c3 arm ACE (Arizona Center for Empowerment) were founded to engage Latinx voters and other underrepresented communities in Arizona. A grassroots, membership-based organization that works on issue advocacy and civic engagement, including voter registration & mobilization, LUCHA is the gold standard for organizing in AZ. Here is a Guardian article about the Nov 2020 election outcome in Arizona, quoting LUCHA’s co-directors: “'Truly remarkable': Arizona activists celebrate as conservative stalwart shifts blue”. See video about the 2020 LUCHA BLUE Campaign.
- New Georgia Project registers and turns out New American Majority voters in Georgia: people of color, young people, and unmarried women. They also focus on key issues and advocating for voting rights. Note that they operate separately from Fair Fight, although both were founded by Stacey Abrams. They are the largest and most impactful organization in GA; they work closely with and also re-grant to smaller organizations. See their poignant video on this page.
- Asian American Advocacy Fund – “dedicated to building a politically-conscious, engaged, and progressive Asian American base in Georgia…Through a combination of policy advocacy at local, state, and federal levels, and by supporting candidates that believe in our values, we fight to create a better Georgia for us all.” In addition to English, its website has resources available in Bengali, Hindi, Korean & Urdu. See their uber-cool video: “South Asians Turnout the Vote for Georgia Runoffs”.
- Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN) and its c4 arm PLAN ACTION: These are large, well-known and well-respected, multi-racial, multi-issue organizations with a strong track record of organizing electorally in the state. PLAN was founded in 1994 to bring together diverse and potentially competing organizations into one cohesive force for social and environmental justice in Nevada. Today its membership includes nearly 30 organizations. See 50-second video of one of PLAN’s get-out-the-vote events. See 12-minute video discussing Election Day work by PLAN.
- 50-second video giving example of one of PLAN’s get-out-the-vote events
- One APIA Nevada: A c4 grassroots organization founded in 2018, and dedicated to uniting and supporting Asian Pacific Islander Americans in Nevada -- the fastest growing ethnicity group in the state, representing 10% of the population and 11% of the electorate. The goal is to increase representation for their community and get individuals to participate in the electoral process. "We need [people] to understand that we are made up of 48 ethnicities, languages and cultures in Nevada alone," said Duy Nguyen, Executive Director. “We emphasize the importance of representing every single ethnicity in our community, and we strive to invigorate our presence in Nevada politics.” See an example of One APIA Nevada get-out-the-vote work.
- Native Voters Alliance Nevada (NVAN): The only c4 in Nevada led by Natives and working exclusively for Natives. With a platform rooted in Indigenous values, NVAN strives to bring Native issues to the forefront of politics in Nevada. NVAN’s goals are:
- New North Carolina Project and its c3 arm New North Carolina Project Foundation: Brand new sister organizations for voter engagement, registration & mobilization in 29 key counties of North Carolina, focused on people of color voters including in rural areas. "We see a real opportunity to mobilize more than 100,000 voters and increase early voter turnout for the 2022 election cycle and to bring that 'Stacey like' energy to NC." The Foundation is modeled after New Georgia Project to engage in field and digital integrated voter engagement and voter registration. A good article about New North Carolina Project appeared when the organization was formally launched in early October 2021: "New group aims to flip NC, through 1 million people of color who didn’t vote in 2020".
- Poder NC Action: In their words: “Poder is a 501(c)(4) organization that does civic and leadership development with Latinxs who share our values. We also educate the public about Latinx issues and independently support candidates who share our values. We are pro-Black, pro-Latinx, pro-LGBTQ, and pro-Choice.” See video clip of founder-director Irene Godinez explaining the organization. They are creative, e.g. see 2020 Elections Lotería cards. See Poder mentioned in Newsweek: “North Carolina Groups Work Together to Mobilize Black and Latino Voters as Early Voting Begins”.
- North Carolina A. Philip Randolph Institute: A highly-regarded organization working to engage, register, and turn out black voters in NC. They also work on voting rights and voter suppression through policy & advocacy. In their words: “At our training center and at other locations throughout the state we teach canvassing, letter writing, and the use of new information technology such as the Voter Activation Network (VAN) to reach out and educate other voters in their communities, register voters, and increase voter participation. We locate and work with people from the communities that we serve to participate in our get-out-the-vote work.”
- Down Home North Carolina and its c3 arm We Are Down Home are “building multiracial power in the small towns and rural places in North Carolina. The narrative that progressive policy has no place in the rural South is wrong -- that's why we work to dismantle the narrative and the power structure that doesn't work for poor and working-class people.” They are “organizing in small towns and rural places that are in a battle with the far-right and are often controlled by racially coded politics. But we live here, and we know what our communities need… and what we are about. We know that we must break apart dog-whistle narratives that are used to divide us and instead gather around shared issues that bring us together.” See their compelling video on this page.
- PA Alliance Action and its c3 arm PA Alliance Foundation (no websites): These are the pooled funds for the Pennsylvania “donor table” (group of donors aligning their political giving and activities to invest in organizations that will help Democrats in the state get elected). They run their own programs and also re-grant strategically to key organizations in the state. One of our expert contacts says: “This is the Pennsylvania easy button”.
- New Pennsylvania Project: “The New Pennsylvania Project [NPP] is modeled in homage to the New Georgia Project and Fair Fight Georgia, both organizations founded by Stacey Abrams… NPP was founded in May 2021 to expand Pennsylvania’s electorate so it reflects the Commonwealth’s demographically changing population. In the next four years, NPP will engage and empower young residents and those living in underrepresented and often neglected communities of color and immigrant communities. We will register them to vote, provide education about the issues that matter in their neighborhoods, and mobilize people to vote in every election - twice a year.” See Philadelphia Inquirer July 2021 profile of this new organization and its director: “Is the Stacey Abrams method the only hope for saving democracy in Pa.? Kadida Kenner and the New Pennsylvania Project are hoping to copy how Stacey Abrams saved democracy in Georgia by finding lots of new voters”. Their board includes 3 members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives: Joanna McClinton (Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives; African-American), Patty Kim (Korean-American) and Summer Lee (African-American) – 2 who ran for U.S. House seats and were on our priority list in 2020 & 2018 respectively: Eugene DePasquale and Scott Wallace – and Abe Amorós, a Latino who previously served as director of communications for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and for Gov. Ed Rendell. The Advisory Board includes Latina social justice advocate Erika Almirón, and Mohan Seshadri (Co-Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance). See the Project’s videos: “What is Voter Suppression?” and “What is Election Integrity”.
- Make the Road Action in PA and its c3 arm Make the Road Pennsylvania are focused on the Latinx & immigrant communities. “Make the Road Action in PA builds power for justice in Latinx communities, communities of color and working class communities. Our organizing centers are located in Allentown, Reading and Philadelphia...We are deeply committed to building electoral power in our community…and have extensive experience doing large-scale voter contact and education work.” One of our expert contacts says: “They are part of a national network and the PA affiliate is considered one of the best.” Video with English subtitles explaining their work: “Bienvenido a Make the Road PA – Philadelphia”
- Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance’s “mission is to build long-term power for APIs in Pennsylvania, by coordinating political, electoral, and legislative work to hold our elected officials accountable, engaging in culturally competent and linguistically accessible direct voter contact with our communities, and building solidarity with other aligned communities of color across the state.” For the 2020 election this organization reportedly built the largest electoral field program for Asian Americans in the country, and Asian & Pacific Islander voters were likely responsible for the Biden-Harris margin of victory in Pennsylvania. Asian & Pacific Islanders are the fastest-growing part of the PA electorate; current populations in the state are Indian 155,887; Chinese 136,206; Vietnamese 49,306; Korean 47,480; Filipino 42,544. To get a sense of the organization, watch this creative short Get-Out-The-Vote video, and at least the first few minutes of this video (Nikhil Srinivasan, 2020 Program Manager, explaining the organization) and this video (“Kitchen Table Talk” with Nancy Dung Nguyen, Co-Founder & Co-Director, and 3 others)
- Wisconsin Democratic Party: The state party in Wisconsin is considered one of the very best and most effective in the country. They can accept up to $10,000 per person per cycle. See this 2021 profile of the state party’s chair: “Ben Wikler's Permanent Campaign in Wisconsin: The state Democratic Party's dynamic young chair has both feet on the gas”.
- BLOC (Black Leaders Organizing in Communities) builds long-term political power in Wisconsin’s black communities. They focus on economic opportunity and engage voters through advocacy work at the state & local levels. See their video on this page, featuring Executive Director Angela Lang.
- LIT (Leaders Igniting Transformation): LIT is focused on young Black & Brown political power. They work throughout Wisconsin on campuses and in communities to engage young people in advocacy, policy & elections. “LIT organizes young people to build independent political power for social, racial, and economic justice. We engage in values-based issues and electoral organizing, direct action, public policy advocacy, and leadership development.” November 2018: “Thanks to our organizing efforts for the midterm election, we saw a 6% increase in voter turnout in our target areas, an increase in youth voter turnout 4% above the national average, and wins in Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, U.S. Senate, and U.S. Congress races.” See their videos, including election-related, on this page.
- Voces de la Frontera organizes immigrant & Latinx communities in Wisconsin to enact pro-immigrant policies and elect pro-immigrant candidates. “Our campaigns on civil rights and social justice issues have mobilized thousands to take collective action – and our members have become leaders in community organizing, [including] GOTV (Get Out The Vote).” See 2016 video and 2018 video – more recent videos are in Spanish.