Community Service Spotlights
The Brighton Jones philanthropy team shares community service spotlights involving colleagues and clients, both in the United States and abroad.
Feel Good Voting
Feel Good Voting is a values-based, user-generated content and distribution initiative to increase turnout in the 2020 election. We spoke with Andy Forrest, executive director and co-founder, about how Feel Good Voting is working to motivate and activate eligible, young, low-propensity voters in swing states.
In a nutshell, what is Feel Good Voting?
Feel Good Voting is a 501(c)3 media initiative aimed at motivating young people to vote. We harness the incredible power of social media to turn viewers into voters. Our mission beyond this election is to create the lowest cost, most scalable means of positive social behavior change.
What challenge are you addressing?
In 2016, the leading presidential candidates each received between 62 and 66 million votes. The largest block of the U.S. electorate, however, voted for nobody. 100 million people did not cast a ballot. Most were young, 18-to-30 years old. When young people do vote—particularly young women and young people of color—they vote overwhelmingly for social justice and environmental sustainability.
How do you convince non-voters to fill out a ballot?
Our methodology follows the core principles of behavioral change science, specifically that messages are more likely to affect behavior change if they are:
- Delivered by role models or influencers
- Shared among peers
- Emotional or associative in nature rather than instructive or explanatory
We recruit micro-influencers (defined as having 10K-250K followers) with a loyal following on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. Data shows that micro-influencers are more effective than mega-celebrities when it comes to motivating new behaviors. These micro-influencers post content that resonates with their following, with our voting tools imbedded. Viewers can simply click on a link to be directed to voter registration.
Who creates Feel Good Voting media content?
Sometimes our influencers make content, sometimes our diverse team of young people make it, and sometimes it is a collaborative effort. For example, we are very excited to have recently signed Grammy-award-winning artist Gen Rubin with his beautiful and powerful 3-minute video titled “Get Up!”
How do you know if Feel Good Voting’s efforts are effective?
On-screen links take viewers directly to our voting tools (register to vote, get a mail-in ballot, check registered address, etc.) We attach unique URL codes to each message and each influencer. Within 48 hours, we know which combinations are working. We then optimize based on the data, amplify, and iterate.
How can Brighton Jones clients learn more about and engage with Feel Good Voting?
Every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. (PT), Feel Good Voting hosts a Zoom call in which we present our methodology, strategy, and an update on our findings. We invite all members of the Brighton Jones community to attend one of these sessions. You can register for a Zoom call by contacting Dawn Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also encourage you to spread the word to friends and family.
Schools for Salone
I met Cindy Nofziger, executive director of Schools for Salone, many years ago when our sons attended the Bertschi School. At that time, I marveled at how this former Peace Corps volunteer started a non-profit to build schools in Sierra Leone while also working as a physical therapist for Seattle public schools. I went to annual fundraising events and watched the organization grow.
Schools for Salone has now built 35 school buildings in 30 rural communities across Sierra Leone. And it doesn’t stop there.
Schools for Salone commits to an ongoing relationship with each community, making sure students have the tools and resources they need to succeed. So far, this has meant producing and distributing over 7,000 menstruation kits, educating 9,000 students about reproductive health, constructing latrines and handwashing stations at each school, and training over 250 teachers—all through local partnerships. Every aspect of Schools for Salone’s programs are driven by locally identified needs and solutions, and implemented through Sierra Leonean partner organizations.
This year I decided to increase my involvement by investing some of my family’s foundation funds in a secondary school building project in the northern part of Sierra Leone. Working with Schools for Salone has been such a personal experience. Clinton, one of Schools for Salone’s in-country Sierra Leonean partners, supervised the building process. My family and I get updates almost daily from Clinton via What’s App. It has been an honor to witness the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Sierra Leonean people—especially when the 50-foot, hand-dug well failed to produce water.
Many of us are thinking about how to increase equity in this world right now. Providing building blocks—quite literally— for children to have a chance at a decent education feels important in the worldwide movement for social justice. With our relatively small investment, we helped Schools for Salone build a school in just under three months.
Cindy often takes donors on trips to visit newly funded schools. As soon as this pandemic is over and travel is safe again, I’ll be first in line.
– Nellie, Brighton Jones community
If you would like to learn more and join Nellie in raising support and awareness, please register for Schools for Salone’s 10th Annual Auction Gala, which will be held virtually on Thursday, September 24 at 5:30 p.m.
Recoverable grants allow DAF holders to release funds to non-profits, have the funds repaid to the DAF, and reuse them for future grants.